This is an English locational surname. It originates from any of the several places called Overton in the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Shropshire, Lancashire, and the North Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded variously as Overtune, Uferantun and Ofaertune in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, it is believed that the name translates as 'The upper farm' although other explanations are possible. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'ufera' meaning upper, or 'ofer', a riverbank, and 'tun', a farm or settlement; hence the upper farm or perhaps the settlement on a river bank. The surname not surprisingly is amongst the first to be recorded with early examples including John de Overton in the Writs of Parliament for the county of Huntingdonshire, dated 1324, and Sarra de Overtone in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Lancashire, dated 1327. William Overton (1525 - 1609), the canon of Chichester, in Sussex, took a prominent part in the reception of Queen Elizabeth at Oxford in 1564, and was bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, 1579 - 1609. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Overton. This was dated 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of Shropshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of England and known to history as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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