Also as a noun in Middle English and after, "charge, responsibility; anxiety, worry; burden on the mind or spirit," (c. 1300), from Anglo-French karke, from Old North French form of Old French carche, variant of charge "load, burden, imposition" (source of charge (n.)).
c. 1300, "bondsman; common man, man of low birth," from Old Norse karl "man" (as opposed to "woman"), "male, freeman," from Proto-Germanic *karlon- (source also of Dutch karel "a fellow," Old High German karl "a man, husband"). The same Proto-Germanic source produced Old English ceorl "man of low degree" (see churl) and the masc. proper name Carl and, via French and Latin, Charles.
The Mellere was a stout carle for the nones [Chaucer]