This interesting surname is of English locational origin from a number of minor places eg.. Echills Wood and Nechells in Warwickshire, Nechells and Neachill in Staffordshire, Hitchells in Yorkshire, etc.. The placenames derive from the Old English pre 7th Century element "ecels" meaning addition (a derivative of "ecan" to increase) and was given to a piece of land added to an estate; hence it was frequently found as the name of small farms and hamlets. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). One, William Attecheles, appears in the Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire (1299), and Richard Atte Echeles, is noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire (1332). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Etchels, Etchells, Etchel, Etchill, etc.. Recordings of the surname from the Yorkshire church registers include; George, son of John and Lucy Etchell, who was christened on May 19th 1823 at Almondbury; and the marriage of David Etchell and Hannah Hay, which took place on February 19th 1826 at Halifax. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Echeles, which was dated 1269, in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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