Offa - what does Offa surname mean?

Recorded as Ofer, Offa, Offer, Over, Ower, Owers, Nower, Overall, Overend, and Overland, this is an English surname. It can be either topographical or locational, and may have Olde English or Scandanavian Viking pre 7th century overtones. It can either be locational from such places as the famous Offa`s Dyke in the Welsh Border country, or from any of the various places called Over in the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Cambridge or Overend in Shropshire or Overland, in Kent or topographical from residence on an `ofer` which could have been a sea shore, a river bank, or a distinctive ridge. The various villages are named according to their situation, Over in Cambridgeshire is on a riverbank, whilst the villages in Cheshire and Derbyshire are on slopes and ridges. Early examples of the surname recordings include the marriage of William Over and Jone Higgens at St. Dunstan`s in the East, Stepney, city of London, on August 24th 1574 whilst the very first of all known recordings is probably that of Thomas atte Overe. This was dated 1275, in the `Worcestershire Subsidy Tax 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 sometimes known as the 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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