Recorded in several forms including Gatchel, Gatchell, Gaitshell, Gateswell and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is believed to originate from a now 'lost' medieval village in the county of Somerset called Gatchel but now known as Gatchel House. However this is conjecture. Assuming however that the name is locational this would indicate that it was a 'from' name. That is to say a name that was given in earlier times to former inhabitants of Gatchel would had left the village. The easiest way to identify strangers was to them by the name of their former home. Spelling being at best indifferent and local accents very thick, soon lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the name is reasonably well recorded in the surviving church registers of the city of London since at least the time of King Charles 11nd (1660 - 1685). The first of these recordings is that of William Gateswell at St Botolphs Bishopgate on January 19th 1666, whilst on March 31st 1746 we have the 'modern' recording of Anne Gatchel who was a witness at Christ Church, Stepney. The name would appear to translate 'The spring by the road' from the pre 7th century Olde English 'geat' meaning a road, and 'waella', a spring.
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