This interesting and unusual name is of Medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Cheal, from a place so called in Lincolnshire. The first recording of this place is in the Saxon Charters of 852 as 'Cegle', in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Ceila', and as 'Cheila' in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1167. Cheal is on a stream, referred to as 'Cheylebecke' in the Feet of Fines, and derives from the Old English pre 7th Century 'cegel', which corresponds to the Old High German 'Kegil', meaning a peg or a pole, thus the meaning is likely to be a plank or pole bridge. Amongst the early recordings in Lincolnshire is the christening of one Allss Chells, on September 10th 1563 at Somersby, and the marriage of Daniel Chell and Elizabeth Barlow on June 12th 1721 at Belleau and Aby. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Chell, marriage to Mary Lugges, which was dated November 16th 1544, at St. Peter at Gowts, Lincoln during the reign of King Henry V111, 'Good King Hal', 1509-1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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