This most interesting and intriguing surname, recorded today in many spellings including Sommerled, Summerlad, Summerlin, and Summerling, is an anglicized form of the Old Norse pre7th century personal name "Sumarliethi". This was composed of the elements "sumar", summer and "liethr", warrior, hence a summer warrior, in effect a viking who used to come to Britain in the summer for a bit of 'sport'. The Pictish Chronicle, along with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 'The Times" newspaper of its day spoke of "the fleets of the Somerleds" approaching the coast of Scotland in the year 927 a.d.. The Viking "Somerleds" after a century or so of rape and pillage, decided to stay, and during the tenth century they conquered much of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and later Northern England. Here their capital city was York, which even today is the centre of Viking studies. The name as Sumerled, a baptismal name, was first recorded in Scotland, where in 1169 one "Sumerled" witnessed a charter passing the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunkeld, to the abbey of Dunfermline. In England the surname is recorded in Yorkshire in 1198 when Richard Sumerled appears in the Pipe Rolls for the county, whilst back in Scotland Sumerleith de Fetherhesan was juror in a dispute regarding the Kirketun of Aberbuthenoth in 1206. The name may also be found with the prefix "Mac", and was first recorded in 1355, when Alexander M'Sommarrli gave evidence in Argyllshire.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Sumerlede, which was dated 1188, in the register of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England,during the reign of King Henry 11 of England, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189.
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