Somerville (surname)

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Somerville is a Scottish surname of Norman origin.


Also for years the origin of the name was quoted from the book of surnames of Scotland, a copy did exist in the library of the University of Abertay in Dundee, stating the name originating from Caen or possibly from the commune of Sémerville (Semervilla 1209), near Évreux, that is 141 miles from Caen. However, there are other possibilities, first of all a disappeared place name of Cotentin Sumelleville (Summerleevilla ab 1210) closer to Caen. Other hypothesis like Sommervieu (Sommerveium 1241), 18,5 miles from Caen, were proposed.


In 1066 the Lord of Somerville, Sir Gaultier / Walter de Somerville joined William the conqueror on his invasion of England, for his support Sir Gaultier de Somerville was given land in the North of England. By the twelfth century, the Somervilles were granted land and title of lord in Scotland and were at one time among the noble families of Scotland. Alternatively, Somerville can also be a Scottish[citation needed]clan surname.[1]

The Irish House of Somerville began when William Somerville came to Ireland in 1690. William was an Episcopalian minister forced to flee from his manse when it was attacked by Covenanters. William brought his sons William and Thomas with him to Ireland. While the younger William returned to Scotland, his brother Thomas stayed in Ireland. Thomas would be educated at Trinity College in Dublin eventually earning a BA in 1711. He entered the church of his father and was ordained a minister at Cloyne Cathedral in 1715. It was in 1732 that Thomas was made the rector of Myross and Castlehaven. It was his son Thomas who by becoming a very successful merchant with Newfoundland and the West Indies was able to build up the Irish house of Somerville to the ranks of landed gentry a class out of which the Somerville clan had dropped for five generations.[2]


The following people have the surname Somerville (or the variant Somervile):

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Archived January 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Somerville and Ross, The world of the Irish RM by Gifford Lewis Penguin Books LTD. London, 1985.