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Somersett Coat of Arms / Somersett Family Crest

Somersett Coat of Arms / Somersett Family Crest

The SOMERSETT family who are Dukes of Beaufort are descended from the Plantagenets. The surname was assumed by Charles Somerset (1460-1520), illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. The latter was himself descended illegitimately from Edward III through John of Gaunt. A later member of the family was Fitzroy Somerset (1788-1855), who, as Lord Raglan, was the commander of British forces in the Crimea, one of the men responsible for the charge of the Light Brigade. The name originally was derived from the Old English word SUMORSOETE, and the literally meaning of the name was 'the dwellers at the summer settlement' and that came to mean 'The Somerset People', and then later the name of the district. SUMMURTUNENSIS (without surname) who was documented in the year 894, appears to be the first of the name on record. SUMERSAETON (without surname) was mentioned in documents in 1048. William de Somersete was recorded in 1273, and Roger de Somersete, of County Somerset, was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Later instances of the name mention Henry Somerset, who registered at Oxford University in 1591, and Hugh Henry Mitchell married Harriet Isabella Somerset at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1804. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Duke of Somerset) descended from Sir Edward Seymour. K.B. brother of Jane Seymour, Queen of Henry VIII. and mother of Edward VI. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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