Govill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Govill family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They 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 Govill family

The surname Govill 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 Govill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Govill 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 Govill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Govill Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Covell, Covel and others.

Early Notables of the Govill 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 Govill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Govill family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Govill or a variant listed above were: 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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