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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2017
Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Somerset family lived in the county of Somerset, to which their name is a reference.
Somerset Early Origins
Somerset was first found in Somerset where "this is one of the few instances of a surname having been borrowed from a title. Henry Beaufort, third Duke of Somerset (great-grandson of John of Gaunt), who was beheaded in 1463, for his adherence to the cause of King Henry Vi., left issue a natural son, Sir Charles Somerset, Knight of the Garter. He was elevated to the peerage, and his lineal descendant, Henry Marquis of Worcester, was created Duke of Beaufort in 1682. Thus in the same blood, the surname and the title have changed places, and instead of Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, we have Somerset, Duke of Beaufort." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print. Apart from this ironic twist of fate, we found the following in early rolls: Walter de Sumerset in Lincolnshire in 1206; John de Somersete in 1331 in Wiltshire; and Edmund Somerset in the Subsidy Rolls of Wiltshire in 1545. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) William de Somersete was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 in Shropshire. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Somerset, Somersett, Sommerset and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Somerset research. Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1463, 1476, 1507, 1601, 1667, 1629, 1700, 1654, 1667, 1660, 1698, 1677, 1679, 1677, 1679, 1629, 1700, 1630 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Somerset History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Elizabeth Somerset, 3rd Baroness Herbert (c.1476-1507), the sole heir and daughter of William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke; Viscount Somerset; Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester (1601-1667), an English nobleman involved in royalist politics, and an inventor; Henry Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Somerset Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Some of the Somerset family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
The Great Migration
The Great Migration
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Somerset name or one of its variants:
Somerset Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Somerset Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Mutare Vel Timere Sperno
Motto Translation: I scorn to change or fear.
Somerset Family Crest Products
Somerset Family Crest Products
The Somerset Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Somerset Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 5 February 2016 at 18:13.