Recorded in the spellings of Somerton and Sommerton, this is an English surname. It is locational and may originate from either or both places called Somerton in the counties of Somerset and Lincoln. In fact this surname is often confused with the surname Somerset, since the county name itself may have originated from the village name of Sumurstaeun. This recording dates from the year 845 a.d., at the very begining of written records. The name means the place (tun) of the Sumar people, the later being aDanish Viking clan who having sailed right round the coast of Britain, settled in the region in the 7th century, although there is also a possible secondary meaning of the place used for summer grazing. We believe that the name is tribal, since there were many places in Britain used for summer grazing, and as a temporary site, is hardly likely to have become the name around which the administration of the region was created. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given as easy identification to people after they left their original homes, and moved somewhere else. This might be the next village, but spelling over the centuries being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. Examples taken from the surviving early church registers of Somerset include John Somerton who married Alis Pitcher at the exotically named village of Kingsbury Episcopi, on October 28th 1578, and William Sommerton, who marrried Hellen Braid at North Petherton, on May 1st 1611.
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