Sommerset is one of the many new names that came to England
following the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Sommerset family lived in the county of Somerset,
to which their name is a reference.
Early Origins of the Sommerset family
The surname Sommerset 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
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
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
Early History of the Sommerset family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sommerset 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 Sommerset History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Sommerset Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. When the Normans
became the ruling people of England
in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Somerset, Somersett, Sommerset and others.
Early Notables of the Sommerset family (pre 1700)
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 Sommerset Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Sommerset family to Ireland
Some of the Sommerset 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.
Migration of the Sommerset family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England
. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Sommerset or a variant listed above were: Richard Somersett who settled in Jamaica in 1663; William Somerset
settled in Virginia in 1684; Robert Somerset
arrived in Philadelphia in 1834.
The Sommerset Motto
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.