Govell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Govell came to England with the ancestors of the Govell family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Govell family lived in Yorkshire. The family was originally from Chauvel in Manche, Normandy, and it is to their residence in this area that the name refers. [1]

Another source claims the name could have been a nickname from the Old English word "cufle" for "cloak." [2]

Early Origins of the Govell family

The surname Govell was first found in Yorkshire where Robert Covell was listed there in 1476 in the York Freeman's Register. [3] Today, the Covel variant is popular in Lincolnshire.

Early History of the Govell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Govell research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1638, 1722, 1688, 1722, 1638, 1654, 1658, 1661, 1614, 1589, 1584, 1588, 1601, 1595 and 1596 are included under the topic Early Govell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Govell Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Covell, Covel and others.

Early Notables of the Govell family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Covel, Covell, Colvill (1638-1722), English clergyman and scientist who became Master of Christ's College, Cambridge (1688-1722) and vice-chancellor of the University. He was the son of William Covel, and was born at Horningsheath, Suffolk, on 2 April 1638. "After receiving his early education at the grammar school, Bury St. Edmunds, he was admitted a member of Christ's College, Cambridge, on 31 March 1654, being then in his sixteenth year. He...
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Govell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Govell family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Govell or a variant listed above: Ezra Covell who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635 with his brother Joseph; Nicholas Covell settled in Virginia in 1648; Cesara Covell settled in New England in 1635.



  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)


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