This unusual and interesting name is a dialectual variant of the locational name Chessel from a place called Chessel Down on the Isle of Wigt. This place was recorded in the form "Chesthull" in 1317, Chusthull in 1346. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Ciest", for a Chest. There is at Chessel a heathan Anglo-Saxon Cemetery and all Chest referred to is therefore probably a coffin. Two early recordings of marriages in Hants, are of one Frances Chessell and Barbra Collier on 18th October 1595, at Ramsey and Nathanael Chessele and Amnis Shodden on 25th September 1597 at Niton. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elinor Chessel (married Thomas Balch), which was dated Ist October 1593,in Calbourne, Hants, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, known as Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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