This ancient surname derives from the Old French "somier" meaning a "sumpter", a term describing one who drove pack horses or mules. The name is first recorded in Scotland towards the end of the 12th Century (see below), but in fact is equally at home in England, being an introduction by the Norman Invaders after 1066. The name in its many forms is widespread throughout the United Kingdom and these spellings include Symmers, Symers, Simmers, and Somers as well as Sumer, Sumers, Sunter, Sumpter and Summers. Amongst the early recordings of the name William Le Sumeter in the Assize Rolls of Worcester for 1221, whilst in 1327 William Somyr was granted an annual rent for life by King David 11 of Scotland. Other examples include Adam Sumer of Essex, in 1223, with William Somer appearing in the Worcestershire Pipe Rolls of 1275, and John Somerys in the 1377 Subsidy Rolls of Somerset. The Bermuda Islands were originally called 'The Somer Islands' after Sir George Somer. Sir George also held a special license from King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland (1867 - 1625) to (quote) 'make habitation anbd plantation of people in that part of America called Virginea'. John Sumers of St Johns parish, Barbados, was an early land owner on that island. His servant was John Vinicott, a 'Monmouth' rebel, sentenced to ten years exile by the dreaded Judge Jefferies in 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sumer (witnessed a grant to Soltre Hospital), which was dated circa 1180, in "Charters of the Hospital of Soltre", Edinburgh, Scotland, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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