This interesting surname is English but ultimately of pre 7th century Old Norse origins. One of the very first or possibly even the first surname ever to be recorded, it derives from the Scandinavian personal name "Ketill", often used as a short form of various compound names such as Asketill and Arnkell. These names were composed of apparently disparate elements, although "ketill" itself has the unusual meaning of a sacrificial cauldron, whilst Asketill means "god-cauldron", from "oss", god, and Arnkell translates literally as "eagle cauldron", from "arn", eagle. Both are found in the modified surnames of today as Ashkettle, Haskell, Arkle and Arkley. The personal name Ketill is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and appears several times as Chetel, Chitel, Ketel and Kitel, whilst the early development of the surname includes: Roger Chetel of Northamptonshire in 1180; Edricus Keteles of Suffolk in 1188; and Hulf Ketel in Norfolk in 1190. The modern surname can be found as Kettle, Kettel, Kettell, Kittel, Kittle and the patronymic forms Kettles, Kettless, Kells and Kettelson. Amongst the early examples of the surname recording in Elizabethan times is that of Edmund Kettle, listed in the Register of the University of Oxford for 1582 - 1583. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Grym Kytel. This was dated 972 a.d., in the famous "Anglo-Saxon Chronicles", during the reign of King Edgar of England, 959 - 975. 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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