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Somerville


This surname is French in origin and comes from the town near Caen in Normandy; the name means Sumer's estate. The first of this name in Scotland was one William de Somerville, who came in the train of David I and received lands in Lanarkshire. There were five Williams in succession, the last dying in 1282. They appeared as witnesses to the charters to the religious houses of Melrose, Kelso, Coldingham, Glasgow, Newbattle and Paisley during the reigns of David I, Malcolm IV and William the Lion. During the reign of William the Lion, William de Somerville slew a monstrous animal or serpent which was terrorising the district of Linton, Roxburghshire. In 1174 he was rewarded with the lands of Linton. Robert de Sumeruilla witnessed a charter by Duncan, Earl of Fife, to the Nuns of North Berwick c.1177. Ralph de Sumervilla, acolyte, was promoted to the church of Linton in 1255. William Somerwele of the Plane, was a charter witness in Edinburgh in 1492 and John Semrell was a tenant under the Abbey of Kelso in 1567. In 1430 the title Lord Somerville was conferred on Sir Thomas Somerville. In December 1423 he was given a safe conduct to England to meet James I and he was one of the guarantees of the treaty for his release in December 1424. John, third Lord Somerville, was wounded at the battle of Sark against the English in 1448. He had a son, Sir John Somerville of Cambusnethan, who was killed at Flodden in 1513. John, thirteenth Lord Somerville, built the elegant house of Drum where he died in 1765. The peerage ceased in 1870 on the death of the seventeenth Lord.


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