Of Welsh origin and meaning 'The Son of Ithell', the derivation is Ap Ithell which by dialectual transposition became Ab Ithell and then in the 16th Century to the present spelling. Similar exaples include Pritchard (ap Richard) Bevan (ap Evan) Bowen (ap Owen). In the plural where appropriate the name means 'the Son of the Son of Ithele'. In the modern idiom there are at least four spellings Bethell, Bettle, Bithell, Bethel etc. with their plurals, all have the same origins. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen Bethell. which was dated 1273, The Pipe Rolls of Somerset. during the reign of King Edward 1 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.