This rare surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Chessell, from Chessell Down on the Isle of Wight. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'ciest', a chest, which may refer to the coffins found at old burial grounds, and it is interesting to note that at Chessell, there is reported to be a heathen Anglo-Saxon cemetery. During the Middle Ages, when it became more normal for people to migrate from their birthplace, generally to seek work, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The first recording of Chessell Down appears as 'Chesthull' in 1317, and as 'Chusthull' in 1346. In Brading, Isle of Wight, on October 6th 1590, one Thomas Chestle married Marion Helliar. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Chestle (marriage to Elizabeth Atwell), which was dated January 29th 1550, Brading, Isle of Wight, during the reign of King Edward V1, 'The Boy King', 1547-1553. 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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