Over Seal (now Overseal) is a village situated 3 miles south of Swadlincote, in the South Derbyshire District and is the second southernmost settlement (after Nether Seal or Netherseal) in Derbyshire, on the border with Leicestershire. Historically both Over Seal and Nether Seal were part of Leicestershire: they were transferred from Leicestershire to Derbyshire in 1897, in return for Leicestershire absorbing several of Derbyshire's enclaves.
While they were in Leicestershire, Over Seal and Nether Seal were settlements in the civil parish of Over Seal and Nether Seal from 1866. Prior to that they were located in the ancient, ecclesiastical, parish of Seal.
Seal included quite a few settlements, many of which have come to form Nether Seal and Over Seal (now Netherseal and Overseal). Seal suggests the area was once heavily forested and Nether means "lower" and Over means "upper". The busy A444 which links to the M42 motorway to Burton-upon-Trent passes straight through it.
Over Seal is in the heart of the National Forest. To the southeast is Donisthorpe (in Leicestershire). The village was part of West Goscote Hundred in Leicestershire for most of its history. In 1889 it was transferred, along with Nether Seal, to Derbyshire in exchange for Donisthorpe, Chilcote, Measham, Oakthorpe, Stretton en le Field and Willesley plus the Derbyshire parts of Appleby Magna, Packington and Ravenstone.
Overseal's history is inseparable from the nearby village of Nether Seal (approximately 1.5 miles southwest). Historically forming a single parish and township, the two settlements have been known by various names, with Overseal having been known as, amongst others, Little Seale and Spital Seile and with variations on Seal including Seile, Sela, Sheile, Seeyle.
During the reign of Henry III, the manors of Overseal and Netherseal were given by William de Meisham (along with a park, a wood and a mill), as a dowry for his daughter, Godehouda, on the occasion of her marriage to William de Appleby of Appleby Magna. The manor house itself was located in what is now Nether Seal. Around 1250, William de Meisaham also gave care of the church to Merevale Abbey in Warwickshire.
Around the turn of the 16th century, the Manor (Nether Seal Hall) had passed to the Gresley Family of Drakelow, having been purchased by Sir William Gresley (father of Sir George Gresley, 1st Baronet). The Gresley family sold the manor to the Morewood family in 1627. However, the manor passed back to the Gresley family through the marriage of Sir Thomas Gresley, 2nd Baronet, to Francis Morewood. In 1569 Sir Thomas Gresley, 2nd Baronet, is listed as Lord of the Manor, with the Manor itself being tenanted to E.W. Robertson, Esq.
In 1863 the manoral rights are recorded as belonging to Thomas Mowbray Esq. of Grange Wood House (later Grangewood Hall), which was situated around a mile southwest of Over Seal. He did not, however, own all the land in the village. John Curzon Esq. was listed as a major land holder, and the rest was shared between smaller owners.
Over Seal's church is dedicated to St Matthew. There appears to have been an earlier church in Overseal. However, in 1622 this was reported as being "quite decayed and gone".
The present church (which was first described as a Chapel of Ease) was built in 1840-1841. The church was built in the early English style: the tower has a single bell and the church boasts stained glass windows, a carved stone altar and a font made of Caen stone. The surrounding church/chapel-yard is three quarters of an acre.
In 1863 the church is described as a 'chapelry' annexed to the rectory at Nether Seal. The curate was Rev. John Morewood Gresley, M.A. The Lord of the Manor built a school adjacent to the church in 1841.
A Baptist chapel was built in the village in 1840 and a Methodist chapel in 1860.
Most of the detail from Wikipedia refers to William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. of 1863, available through the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society.