This interesting and uncommon name is of Old Welsh origin, and is a variant form of the more familiar surname Cecil. The derivation is from the Old Welsh personal name "Seisill, Seisyllt", believed to be a "mutilated" form of the Latin name "Sextilius", a derivative of "Sextus", meaning "sixth" (-born). However, the spelling of the name has been gradually modified as a result of folk etymological association with the Latin name "C(a)ecilius", a derivative of "caecus", blind. There was a 3rd Century saint called Caecilius, and the given name was not uncommon in England in the Middle Ages; it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Saissil" in Herefordshire, and as "Seisil" in the Shropshire Pipe Rolls of 1188. The popularity of the personal name is borne out by the number of surnames it has generated; these range from Cecil(l), Cessell, Cessill and Cissell, to Saycell, Seisill and Sissell. Early examples include: Cycell (1540, Wiltshire); Cissill (1579, London); Cyssell (1582, Gloucestershire); and Syssill (1586, London). Among the recordings of the name in Church Registers are the marriage of Edmund Cissell and Margaret Taylor at St. Thomas', Salisbury, in Wiltshire, on August 15th 1586, and the christening of Raphe, son of Urias Cissell, on January 6th 1634, at St. Mary Woolchurch Haw, in London. The family Coat of Arms depicts three silver chevrons on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Seisil, which was dated 1205, in the "Pipe Rolls of Herefordshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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