Introduction: Chettle Historical Research From 1981 to 2018

This History of the Chettle Family is in two parts. The proven recorded history which starts 326 years ago in April 1674, and then continues with details of other Chettle Family groups. Some of whom are related to our Family.

The second part also shows that we have descended from the Danes (A.D.877) and show that the Family has been in Leicester for more than 640 years.

Meanwhile the search continues for more evidence of the link between 1600 - 1674. An excellent book to read in conjunction with this Family History is "History in Leicester" by Colin Ellis.

The name Chettle originates from the name Ketil, which in its self derives from the Mythology of Scandinavia meaning: "A Sacrificial Cauldron of the Gods" Also in our case, our Ancestors were probably original Danish settlers from the Village of Ab Kettleby, Leicestershire, (Chetel Bi in 1086).

In the Domesday Book Chettle is listed as Chettil, but there are various forms of spelling through the ages until the name finally settled for us in the early 17th Century.

The names below found in early Leicester records and is our probable line:
1345 - Will Ketyl
1364 - Will de Ketilby (meaning "of Kettleby")
1460 - Will Kettleby
1513 - Robert Ketell
1557 - Richard Chetelle
1563 - Raphe Chetell
1591 - Ralph Chetell (Lord Mayor of Leicester)
1604 - Thomas Chettle (Lord Mayor of Leicester)
1674 - Robert Chettle

In the Family Records that follow, where there is no record of a baptism etc.

A space is left in the event of the information being found The name Chettle is derived originally from a Scandinavian personal name.
A name which takes the Family back to the settlers of Mercia in the late Ninth Century (877 onward); The original name Ketel or Ketil finally Crystallised in Chettle-Cheatle-Kettle and the records show that the Chettle Family is a very old on in the City of Leicester and the County.

Although there is still more research to be done there are early 16th Century Families Recorded at Thornton to the West of Leicester, at Gaddesby to the East and at Braunstone in the South. With regard to the Chettle Family in Leicester, although there are few early records available we can point back to the year 1345 to Will Ketyl as our earliest recorded ancestor, and to the Families following him because they held public office and/or became Freeman of the City of Leicester.

However after Thomas Chettell, Lord mayor of Leicester in 1604 the Family Records are scarce, but it seems that Robert Chettle (born around 1648) inherited Ralph Chettell’s (Brother of Thomas) house and probably an amount of money which enabled him to make a living in Melton Mowbray (Welby), and to Marry. This shows a link between Robert Chettle and Ralph Chettell and leads us back to 1345; so the Family line as the present evidence shows is as follows: 1344/45 Will Ketyl in the Reign of Edwards III was on the equivalent of the Freeman's List :- Roll 40, Will Ketyl- Serviens, this office was the Mayors Sergeant and he would have been present when King Edward III came to Leicester for the funeral of Earl Henry in the Newarke Church.

Then follows in 1365/66 still in the Reign of Edward III on: Roll 46, Will de Kettilby,he was probably the son of Will Ketyl and it was the fashion to adopt the French "de" and also the "place of your ancestors" and so Will Ketyl became Will de Kettilby, taking the name from Ab Kettleby or Ketels By, listed in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Chetel Bi (the Chettle's returned to Ab Kettleby in 1748).
The records for the next (15th) Century are very scarce and we are fortunate to have a record for Will Kettleby in 1460, the name is still running through and this "Will" is most likely to the Great-Grandson of Will de Kettleby, however this Will Kettleby held the Office of Keeper of the Shambles (Meat Market) in the Saturday Market in the Reign of Henry VI just prior to the Civil War and the Reign of Edward IV.

Next it then follows that his Grandson dropped the "By" from his name and returned to the original in different spelling:- to Robert Ketell. He would have been born before Richard III fought at Bosworth and may well have seen Richard III (alive or dead !) . Robert Ketell held the Office of Meat Tester (Inspector) in 1513 to 1516, this was a Public Office in the Reign of Henry VIII.

Robert was followed by: Richard Chetelle, it is interesting to note here on the change from Ketell to Chettelle. There are no Ketell's recorded after Robert and it follows that it was a natural change to Chettelle. Richard Chettelle is recorded as Constable of VII Ward of Leicester in 1557 in the Reign of Queen Mary (of Scots). This Ward extended "from the Hyghe Street (Highcross Street) beyounde Chettelles Howse and so all of the Chyrche Gate downe to Mr Nicholas Herryke and Parchment Lane (Bond Lane) Mr Blakwyn, Alderman and Richard Chettelle, Constable" It can be seen here that the spelling of names and words was down to the individual concerned who recorded the events .
This fact alone accounts for a lot of the Chettle Surname variations. Incidentally, the Office of Constable was responsible for Law and Order in the Ward, well before the Police Force was established, also Richard was a Constable one year after Thomas Moore was burnt as a Heretic in Leicester in 1556.

After Richard Chettle we come to Ralph Chettell (Baker & Brewer).He became a Freeman of Leicester in 1561/62 and lived through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He was born about 1539/40 and he held various public offices including:- Fish Tester (Inspector), Steward of the Fair, Coroner, Bailiff, Commissioner, Chamberlain, Alderman and in 1591 he became the Lord Mayor of Leicester. After his death in 1598 he was survived by 3 Sons These were:- Thomas, Ralph and John. His Son Thomas (Woolendraper by trade) was born about 1559 and was made a Freeman of Leicester in 1581/2. His younger Brother Ralph born in 1568 and also a Woolendraper was made a Freeman of Leicester in 1591/2, Thomas Chettell also held public office including Bailiff, Coroner, Chamberlain, Commissioner, Alderman and he too became Lord Mayor of Leicester in 1604.

In the Leicester Guildhall, Leicester's original Old Town Hall there is the "Mace Stand", it was made during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I in 1586 and bears the initials of George Oldham and Thomas Chettell, Chamberlains for that year.

  2018 Chris Chettle