This is a famous Anglo-Scottish surname, although one of early French origins. Recorded as de Somerville, Somerville, Somervile, Sommerville and possibly others, and having some eleven entries in the Dictionary of National Biography, and no less than twelve coats of arms, it is locational from the place called Semerville near Caen, in Normandy. The surname is first recorded in England in surviving registers in the 12th century; however it is believed that earlier name bearers came with the army of William, Duke of Normandy, on his successful conquest in 1066. In his work "Patronymica Britannica", the Victorian etymologist M.A. Lower records that Walter de Somerville was created lord of Wicknor in Staffordshire, and later of Aston Somerville in Gloucestershire. The first recorded namebearer in Scotland was William de Somerville. He was a knight retainer of David, Earl of Huntingdon, who also held extensive estates in Scotland, and and appears in charters in that country during the reign of King David 1st of Scotland (1124 - 1153). This king granted him lands in Lanarkshire. Notable bearers of the name include: Hugh Somerville, fifth Baron Somerville (1483 - 1549), who joined James V at Stirling and was granted a pension by Henry V111; and Sir William Meredyth Somerville (1803 - 1873) . He was also Baron Athlumney in the peerage of Ireland, and Baron Meredyth in the peerage of the United Kingdom. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Somervila. This was dated 1153, in the "Knight Templars register of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Stephen of England, 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as 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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