Somerville (surname)

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Somerville is a Scottish surname of Norman origin.


Sir Gaultier de Somerville was one of William the Conqueror's knights, who came to England in 1066. The name most likely comes from "Saint-Omer," a town about 20 miles south of Dunkirk at the North of France. 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 more accurately from the commune of Semerville, that is 170 miles from Caen, whilst Caen is 222 miles from Saint-Omer.


The name itself comes from a French village of the same name in Normandy, France. In 1066 the Lord of Somerville, Sir Gaultier 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.