Welcome to Clan Somerville
|Clan Somerville Team|
- Clan Chief: None, armigerous clan
- Crest: A dragon, Vert, spouting fire, Proper, standing on a wheel, Argent
- Motto: Fear God In Life
- Slogan/War Cry:
- Historic Seat:
- Plant badge:
- Pipe music:
- Gaelic name:
The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Lairds and Chiefs of Clan Somerville together with members bearing the name Somerville, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan Somerville.
Team To Do List
This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:
- promoting the entries of those bearing the name Somerville on Wikitree.
- ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
- encouraging interest in and study of Clan Somerville.
Derivation of the name
Sir Gualtier 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.
History of the name
The name itself comes from a French village of the same name in Normandy, France. In 1066 the Lord of Somerville, Sir Gualtier 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 12th 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 or Irish clan surname.
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.
Clan Somerville History
This name Somerville derives from a town in Normandy, near Caen. During the Norman invasion of England in 1066, Sir Gaulter de Somerville accompanied the Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror.
William de Somerville, the second son of Sir Gaulter, came to Scotland with David I and was created Lord of Carnwath, receiving the lands near Carnwath in Clydesdale. He died around 1142 and was buried at Melrose Abbey. Another William de Somerville was said to have killed the last serpent in Scotland, and went on to obtain the lands of Linton from Malcolm IV, around 1174. He later became Chief Falconer to the king and Sheriff of Roxburgh. At the Battle of Largs in 1263, a Sir William de Somerville, fifth of that name, fought for Alexander II, driving back the Norse invasion.
The William de Somerville who fought at Largs, his son, Sir Thomas, was among the many Scottish nobles who were pressured into signing the Ragman Roll, pledging allegiance to England’s Edward I in 1296. However, in 1297, he joined Sir William Wallace in Scotland’s fight for independence. The peerage of Lord Somerville was created for Sir Thomas, and probably in 1435, though this is uncertain.
The 3rd Lord Somerville, John, successfully fought the English at the Battle of Sark in October, 1448, where he was wounded. He was also present at the siege of Roxburgh in 1460, where James II was killed. John, the 4th Lord, died in 1523 without issue and his brother, Hugh, succeeded him. He was taken prisoner after the rout at Solway Moss in 1542. He was later released.
His son James – later the 6th Lord Somerville – opposed the Reformation and voted against the Scots Confession (a Confession of Faith) proposed in Parliament, which was drawn up by John Knox in 1560. James fought on the side of Mary I at the Battle of Langside, on May 13,1568, where he was severely wounded. Hugh Somerville, who became 7th Lord in 1569, also supported Queen Mary, but his allegiance changed and went to her son, James VI. Somerville was then appointed a Privy Councillor by the King.
Being in the King’s favor, the Somervilles started living beyond their means, accumulating a big debt and causing them to sell their Carnwath estates. After the 1606 Union of the Crowns, the Scots nobility was ranked, however, the name Somerville did not appear.
By 1723, the Somerville peerage was eventually acknowledged by the House of Lords and John, the 13th Lord Somerville, stood for election as a representative peer of Scotland. He built the elegant House of Drum which still stands on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Other noted Somervilles include Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872), from Jedburgh, who was a science writer and mathematician as well as a great pioneer of women’s education. Oxford University’s Somerville College, which was established in 1879, is named after her.
Other Names Associated with the Clan
Clan Research and Free Space Pages
Image Credits and Acknowledgements
- Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
- Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Scotland Project WikiTree and Michael Thomas. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
- Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
- Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)