This uncommon surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places thus called including Oakhill in Hertfordshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Staffordshire and Cumberland which has as their component elements the Olde English pre 7th Century "ac", oak, and "hyll", hill; hence, "oak covered hill". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal influences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling of the name which, in the modern idiom, is found as: Ockell, Ockill, Oakell, Oakill, Okle and Oakhill. The surname is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Cheshire and Lancashire from the mid 16th Century: entries include the marriage of Robert Okell to Ann Mylner at Frodsham, Cheshire, on May 2nd 1563; the marriage of Richard Okle to Anne Stanley at Crosthwaite, Cumberland, on August 18th 1631; and the christening of Joseph, son of John Oakhill, at St. Nicholas', Liverpool, Lancashire, on February 13th 1711. On October 3rd 1712, the marriage of Diana Oakhill to Francis Brookes took place at Chester, Cheshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellen Okell, which was dated July 28th 1560, marriage to Hugh Hatton, at Frodsham, Cheshire, during the reign of Queen 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.
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