Gabriel Jacques Surenne

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Gabriel Jacques Surenne FSA FASE (1777-1858) was a 19th-century French-born military historian living in Scotland who authored numerous publications in the fields of warfare and battle analysis and also in French grammar.


The grave of Gabriel Surenne, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh

He was born on Compeigne in France on 25 October 1777.

His early life is unclear other than various references made by himself as to having been trained in Paris. He appears in Edinburgh around 1830, both as a teacher and prodigious author of educational French text books.

He was a master at the Scottish Military and Naval Academy, an Edinburgh institution 'for training young men, chiefly for the service of the royal and East India Company's services; Surenne also contributed to the various branches of military education such as fortification, military drawing, gun-drill, and military exercises.[1] The Academy was closed in the late 19th century.

In later life he is listed as living with his wife and daughter, Elizabeth Surenne, at 8 Great King Street in Edinburgh's Second New Town, reflecting a fairly noble life-style.[2]

He lived at 8 Great King Street[3] with his family including his son Daniel F Surenne (1804-1861) who was an art teacher. A second son, Prof John Surenne, taught piano at 66 Great King Street.

He died in Edinburgh on 12 September 1858. He is buried in a north-west section of Dean Cemetery with his wife, Sophia Lecointe.

Theory of Mons Graupius[edit]

Surenne analysed the noted historic battle of Mons Graupius and concluded in a letter to Sir Walter Scott[4] that the most likely location of this first recorded battle in Scottish history was in the vicinity of Kempstone Hill and the Raedykes Roman Camp.[5]


  • The Pocket French Grammatical and Critical Dictionary (1830)
  • Petit Cours de Francais (1831) published by Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh
  • Standard Pronouncing Dictionary of the French and English Languages (1845)
  • A Practical Grammar of French Rhetoric (1846)
  • New French Dialogues (1851)
  • A Genealogical Account of the Royal House of Bruce (1854)
  • A New French Manual and Traveller’s Companion
  • Dictionary of the French and English Languages

It is unclear if Surenne is also the same as Voltaire Gabriel Surenne who also published books on French military subjects.


  1. ^ James Grant, Old and New Edinburgh, vol. 3, p. 138
  2. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1857-8
  3. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1857-8
  4. ^ Gabriel Jacques Surenne, Letter to Sir Walter Scott, (1827)
  5. ^ C.Michael Hogan, Elsick Mounth, 2007, The Megalithic Portal, Ed. Andy Burnham