This is a Middle English surname anglicised from the Old German 'Stoffel. It is arguable how long it takes for a name to be identified as national, and Stovel or Stovell, is a good example. The name is originally 'Frankish' (Franco-German) but it is considered to have come to England either with William the Conqueror in 1066 or shortly afterwards. The place of origin on the continent is given as Alsace-Lorraine, which in the middle ages was a German principality, so the name origin could be said to be German. In fact it does not finish there, because whatever its place of origination, the surname is a nickname or by-name which developed from the popular Ancient Greek 'Christopher', or in this case the diminutive 'Christophell'. The 'short' form of this name was 'Toffel' or 'Stoffel'. The name in these spellings is well recorded on the continent, Konrad Stoffel Zu Schesklingen, being recorded in the German charters for the year 1363. This is later than the first English recordings (see below), but this is because so many continental registers have been destroyed in the endless wars of the past five hundred years or so. Early examples of the name recordings in Enfgland include Humfrey de Sovil of Buckinghamshire in the 1273 Hundred Rolls, whilst a church register example is that of Robert Fortescue who married Mary Stovell at St George's chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1765. The coat of arms granted in Hamburg, Germany, has the blazon of a gold field, charged with a harts head, fully attired, proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes de Stovile, which was dated 1273, the Hundred rolls of the county of Cambridge, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 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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