In deference to FumbleFingers's authority as a British citizen, I won't outright disagree (and I've given +1 for a great response). However, my Google-fu paints a somewhat different picture.
It was precisely due to the existence of various British dialects and rising literacy in the English Renaissance that language needed to be standardized. Up until Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language in 1755 there had been no "front-runner". However, despite its flaws and critics, this work did become "The Dictionary" and it appears that most educated households would've had access to it. Over 100 years passed until it was succeeded by the Oxford English Dictionary. Like Webster's dictionary, there appears to be at least a "passive" prescriptivism in the OED (it is certainly often cited with reverence in ELU hehe).
I found the "double 'l' rule" in Richard Mulcaster's Elementarie published in 1582.
L, is still of one force in it self, as laudable, willing. Howbeit in respect of a, and o, going before it, and sounding like diphthongs it is dubled in the end of such words, as small, call, brall, boll, roll, troll. But when anie other consonant followeth l, the a and o sound still like diphthongs, and yet the l, is but single, as in falst, falt, malt, halt, cold, old, colt, dolt, rolf, bold, bolt. Hereupon, all, in composition before a naturall consonant, hath but a single l, as albeit, also, almost, otherwise a duble, as president of these two, all, and oll, maie not induce the dubling of all other terminations in l, as well, bell, shrill, still, full, scull, which dubling of the last ll, semeth most agreable both to reason and vse, where the vowells sound hard vpon the l, as it doth in these. But if the vowell sit not so hard, as in diphthongs, where the length of the vowells sound breaketh the force, that should light vpon the l, as in mail, fail, hail, recoil, foil, and such as, diuel, euil, riuel, why should the l, be dubled? It is the swiftnesse of the pen sure, which can hardlie staie vpon the single ending l, that causeth this dubling.
A Dictionary of the English Language favors spelling with a single 'l', for instance:
FI'NAL. adj. [final, French; finalis, Lat.] 1. Ultimate; last.
When exactly the spelling with two 'l's fell out of favor is still unclear to me, but I'll chalk it up to the evolution of language.