This interesting surname has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be of locational origin for someone who lived "at the shamble or stall". The derivation is from the Middle English "schamel" a bench or the Anglo-saxon "scamel" a stool, and refers to one who kept a stall or bench for meat, fruit, vegetables etc., in the street or market. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the middle-Ages. It may also derive from the middle English given name "Skammel", a diminutive of an Old Norse byname from "skammr" meaning short. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Scamell, Scamel, Scamal, Skamell, Skamal, Scamwell, etc.. The marriage of Martha Scammell and Francis Blanche took place at Heston, London on December 25th 1654, and on September 23rd 1677, John, son of Thomas and Christian Scammell, was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de la Scamele, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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