This very interesting surname is English but of pre 7th century Scandinavian-Viking origins. Recorded as Kell, Kelle, Kells, and Chell, it derives from the Norse word "kel", a shorten form of the male name Ketill. This has the very unusual meaning of the sacrificial cauldron! That said Viking personal names often had ketil or kell as an element, including Asketill, meaning Gods kettlet, and Thorkell, containing the divine Gods name of Thor, the god of thunder and destruction in Scandinavian mythology.Early examples of British recordings include Reginaldus filius Chelle in the Lancashire Assize Rolls of 1219, and Chel filius Mabillae in the Chartulary of Ramsey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, dated 1250.Surnames derived from given names are amongst the oldest hereditary surnames, and this is a good example, having survived through so many centuries. Early examples of the surname include Isabella Kelle of Huntingdonshire, in 1311, and Rogerus Kelle, in the Poll Tax registers of Yorkshire in 1379. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a gold shield, on a green chevron between a lion passant in chief and two red mullets in base, three golden garbs. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ansfredus Kelle. This was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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