Recorded as Ettel, Ettle, Ettels, Ettles, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is either locational or topographical and originally described a person who lived at an 'ecels', or a piece of land which was specifically added to an existing estate. If locational the name could originate from any of the places such as Echills Wood, Nechells and Neachill all in the county of Staffordshire, or Hitchells and Etchels in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The development of the surname was from the medieval prefix 'atte' giving 'Atte cheles' in the pipe rolls of 1299 and later foreshortened to Ettcheles and then Ettle(s) by dialectual transposition. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names that were given to people after they left their original home to move somewhere else. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard atte Echeles. This was dated 1332, in the Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England and known as 'The Father of the Royal Navy', 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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