This interesting surname is of medieval Flemish origin, and has two possible sources. The first is from a topographical name for someone who lived close to a chapel, derived from the Middle English (1200-1500), Old French 'chapel(l)e', chapel, from the Latin 'capella', a hood, cloak, but later transferred to the sense of a chapel or sanctuary. The second source is from an occupational name for someone employed in a chapel, derived from the same elements as the first source. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names. There are a number of equivalent European surnames: in England, Chappell, Chapple, Chapell and Capewell; in France, C(h)apelle, Capell; and in Spain, Capilla and Capella. The marriage of Jacqueline Van de Capelle, whose baptism is recorded below, to Wolfert van Borsselen, is also recorded in Axel, on February 10th 1479. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jacqueline Van de Capelle (baptism), which was dated 1458, Axel, Zeeland, during the reign of Duke Philip of Burgundy, Ruler of the Netherlands, 1436-1477. 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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