This interesting surname, with variant spellings Axcell, Axcel, Axel, Axell and Aksell, is of Scandinavian origin, and derives from the Old Norse "Asketill", composed of the elements "oss, ass" meaning "god", and "ketill", kettle, sacrificial cauldron. Pre 7th Century Olde English, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with various Gods. The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century (see below). Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of William, son of Bryan and Alce Axell, on November 22nd 1652, at St. Bride's, Fleet Street; the christening of Sarah, daughter of Robert and Mary Axcell, on January 18th 1729, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; and the christening of Lucy, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Axcell, on December 27th 1772, in St. Paul's, Deptford. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three silver axes on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Askill which was dated circa 1248 in the "Select Documents of the English lands of the Abbey of Bec", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.