English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Somersham

Historical Forms

  • Summeresham c.1000 HistEl
  • Sūmersham 1086 DB
  • Sūmresham 1086 InqEl c.1180
  • Sumresham 1086 InqEl c.1180
  • Sumeresham 1086 KCD 12th InqEl 1086 P c.1180 BM 1163,1167 P 1163–9 Ch 1185 FF 1228,1229 1230,1236
  • Someresham 13th ADvi
  • Somersham 1303 FA
  • Somersam 1549 Pat


ON  Sumarr , OGer  Sumar are well established as pers. names and it is probable that there was an OE  Sumor also. This name may therefore be 'Sumor's homestead,' v. ham . The only difficulty is the Summeresham , Sūmersham , Sūmresham forms with their suggestion of a lost m .

If stress is to be laid on these one might take the name as from Suðmeres -ham , 'homestead of the south mere,' which is quite a possible name in this district. Indeed, in the bounds of the banlieu of Ramsey as set forth in KCD 1364 there is a Suðmere which may be at the very spot required. Summerfield (Nf) is from earlier Suðmere (cf. DB Sutmere ), and a lost Summerfield (now Canon's Farm) in Banstead (Sr) is Suðemeresfeld in BCS 39, 697, 1195, and seems to mean 'open land of the south mere,' but it should be noted that the assimilation of ðm to mm is of much later date in these two cases. More probable is OE  *Sunmǣr , with later assimilation to Summer , hence 'Sunmær's homestead.'

Places in the same Parish