Recorded as Kiggel, Kidgell, Kigelman and at various times Kedgell, Kigel and Kegghel, this is an English medieval surname. It is occupational and describes a maker of cudgells. The cudgell has not had a good press amongst military weapons of the Middle Ages, but as an effective means of overawing the opposition, it had few peers. The officers preffered their men to have cudgells to swords or halberds. This was because unlike sharp bladed weapons, it could not be used for cutting down trees and bushes for firewood, and hence ruining the blade. Even as late as the English Civil War of 1640 - 1648, the cudgell was used as the main strike weapon by the 'Clubmen'. They were a large group of volunteers who in 1643 created a third army. Their intention was to force both the Cavaliers of King Charles and the Roundheads of Lord Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell to make terms with each other, and to bring an end to the war, which was ruining the whole economy. They failed in that they were eventually defeated by Cromwell, but for a time they frightened both participating armies who until then had regarded it all much as a private war. The cudgell was made for many centuries, and it is not surprising that it gave rise to several surname spellings. Examples of the name recording include Godwin Kiggel in the rolls of Ely Abbey, for the year 1221, Matilda Kiggel, in the Hundred Rolls of Somerset in 1273, and Margery Kedgell who appears in the Hearth tax rolls of Suffolk, in 1524.
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