This very interesting surname is of pre 8th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It is locational, and describes a person who lived at the "upper hall". This was probably the local manor house, or perhaps the house occupied by the headman of the village. Whether the surname describes the owner of the hall or a servant or follower is unclear. The surname is composed of the elements "ufer" meaning upper and "heall", a hall or manor. This type of surname which also includes such examples as Townsend and Attlee or Atley for instance, was amongst the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing surnames. The modern surname can be found as Overall, Overell, Overill, Ovell, and Ovill, whilst it is said that in the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey, Oveall and Ovell are very popular spellings. Early examples of the recordings taken from authentic church registers include the christening of Daniel Ovell on November 15th 1581 at the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Dover, and later the marriage of Nathaniell Overell and Jane Kye on January 13th 1629 at St. George the Martyr, Canterbury. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Overal, which was dated 1217, in the charters known as the "Calendar of the Patent Rolls", in the county of Yorkshire. This was during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, but known by the nickname of "The Frenchman". This was seemingly because he was born there, although he spent all his life in England. He reigned from 1216 to 1272, one of the longest of all reigns.