This interesting surname with variant spellings Gatheral, Gatherall, Gaterell, Gatterel, Gatrall, and Gatrell, has several possible origins. Firstly, it may be taken literally as a medieval nickname of occupation for one who "gathers-all", a term used for a general merchant or dealer. Secondly the name may be of English locational origin, from a voiced form of Catterall, a village in Lancashire, or possibly some now 'lost' medieval site of similar form. The Lancashire placename is recorded as "Catrehala" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and derives from the Old Scandinavian "kattar-hali" meaning "cat's tail", here used of a farm on account of the lengthened shape of its land. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). One, John de Caterhale, appears in the Subsidy Roll of Lancashire for 1332, and Lawrence Cattrall of Calverly, Yorkshire in 1462. Other recordings of the surname include Robert Caterall in the 1500 Friary Rolls of Yorkshire, whilst Steapen Gatterell and Grace Richardson were married on October 20th 1616 at St. Giles Cripplegate, London. Curiously the surname is also well recorded in Cornwall from the early 17th century, although not a name of Cornish origins and these recordings include Agnes Gartrell who married Hugh Jeffrye at Phillack on April 24th 1628. Perhaps the earliest recording in the United States is that of Charles Gartrell, who married Sarah Barnes at Montgomery, Maryland, on December 7th 1777. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Caterell, which was dated 1222, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Hampshire", 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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