Recorded as Ofer, Over, Ower, Owers, Nower, Overall, Overend, and Overland, this is an English surname. It can be either topographical or a locational surname. As the former, it denotes residence on the bank of a river or on a slope, the derivation being from the Old English pre 7th Century term "ofer", with a long "o", which could mean seashore or riverbank, but which had an earlier distinct meaning of a slope, bank or ridge. The two meanings had combined into the one term in Middle English, "over(e)". As a locational surname it can derive from any of places called Over in the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire, or Overend near Stourbridge in Shropshire, or Overland, a small hamlet in the county of Kent, near to the town of Sandwich. The places are named according to their situation. For instance Over in Cambridgeshire is on a riverbank, whilst the villages in Cheshire and Derbyshire are on slopes. The marriage of William Over and Jone Higgens was recorded at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, on August 24th 1574. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas atte Overe, which was dated 1275, in the "Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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