- This interesting surname is of Old Norse origin, and derives from the Scandinavian (male) personal name "Ketill", often used as a short form of various Old Norse compound names such as Asketill and Arnkell. These names were composed of apparently disparate elements, "ketill" meaning "(sacrificial) cauldron"; Asketill means "god-cauldron", from "oss, ass", god, and Arnkell, "eagle-cauldron", from "arn", eagle, and 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 as "Chetel, Chitel, Ketel" and "Kitel", and the development of the surname includes: Roger Chetel (1180, Northamptonshire); Edricus Keteles (1188, Suffolk); and Hulf Ketel (circa 1190, Norfolk). The modern surname can be found as Kettle, Kettel, Kettell, Kittel, Kittle and the patronymic forms Kettles, Kettless, Kells and Kettelson. One Edmund Kettle is 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, which was dated 972, in the "Saxon Chronicles", during the reign of King Edgar, King 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.