There are quite a number of English surnames, with the prefix 'Summer'. These are usually locational and include spellings such as Summerfield, Summerhayes, Summerscale, Somerlie, Summerley, Summerlee, and others. All originate from the pre 7th century Viking word 'somar,' literally meaning summer. To this was attached a suffix of either field, or 'hes,' meaning brush, 'skali,' open grazing lands, or 'leah', a fenced area of ground cleared for grazing. The important thing being that all these places were uplands wherever they were, only used in summer, and therefore any villages must have been both small and temporary. In all cases these places seem to have totally disappeared, and must be counted amongst the five thousand or so 'lost' medieval villages of which the only public reminder is the surviving surname in its varied spellings. Examples of recordings of this surname in the surviving church registers of Greater London include: John Somerly, christened at Harrow on the Hill, Middlese, on September 14th 1589, and Sone Sumerlie christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 8th 1669. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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