Recorded in a number of spellings including Camel, Cammell, Camell, Kamel, Kamell, Kamall, Kemwal, and no doubt others, this interesting English surname has at least two possible origins. Firstly, it may be locational from the villages called Queen Camel and West Camel in the county of Somerset. These places are recorded as "Camella" in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, and are believed to derive from the Welsh elements "cant" meaning rim (of a hill), and "model" meaning bare; hence "bare hill top". An early example of the surname recording is that of Richard de Cammel in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" for Cambridgeshire in 1319. The surname may also have originated as a nickname from the animal, and derive from the Roman "camelus" meaning a camel. As such it was a nickname for a person with considerable powers of endurance, with John le Camule, being noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1332. Other early examples include those of George Camell, who married Kirchian Fargison on May 6th 1603, at Colne in Lancashire; whilst the christening of George Kamell, which took place on April 29th 1627, at Ribchester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Camel. This was dated 1200, in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King John known, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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