This is an English locational name from Cartmel in Cumbria, the site of a famous priory. The place name derives from the Olde Norse elements 'kartr' meaning rocky ground and 'melr' - a sandbank. Such locational names were given to inhabitants who moved either voluntarily, or otherwise, from their village or place of origin. The farther away one moved the more the spelling was transposed. Thus in the modern idiom the name appears as Cartmel(l), Cartmail, Cartmale, Cartmael, Cartmill and Carpmile. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Cartmell of Claughton which was dated 1578, in the "Lancashire Wills Records" during the reign of Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess" 1558 - 1603 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.