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REYNOLDS HISTORICAL
GENEALOGY COLLECTION



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY



3 1833 03109 1652



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center



http://www.archive.org/details/familiesofheadsoOOcame



Families of /f/^



Head and Somerville



Printed Privately

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The Lords of Somerville

THE origin and history of this family may
be read in detail in the " Memories of the
Somervilles," written by James, eleventh
Lord Somerville, and published in 1815 with an
introduction by Sir Walter Scott, who truly says of
the author that " his style is of such prolixity as has
seldom been equalled."

It is exceedingly difficult to follow his quaint
language and spelling through the maze of digres-
sions into which he enters. I have, however,
managed to extract from it the pedigree of the house
from its known origin down to the time of the first
baron, Thomas Lord Somerville, created Baron of
Scotland in 1396. From that time the lineage can
be seen in an old " Burke " I have in my possession
in Lowndes Square.

Sir Gualter de Somerville was one of William the
First's knights when he came over to England, and
for his services was granted large estates in Staf-
fordshire, including the Barony of Wichnour.

Sir Roger de Somerville, the fifih from Sir
Gualter, seems to have got into trouble with King
John through joining the barons in their revolt, and
temporarily had his estates forfeited in consequence.

He had a son, John, whom he placed in the
Court of Malcolm, King of Scotland, at the age of
fourteen, in 1164. Here he gradually rose from
page to the office of the King's falconer, and was
knighted. At that time a prehistoric beast — known
locally as a "worm " or " dragon "—was ravaging

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Roxburghshire, and was the terror of the country-
side. Sir John decided to try his hand at the
*' Worm,' and watched its goings forth and returns
to its cave, until he at last determined how he would
attack it.

It always came out of its cave in the early morn,
and he settled a day in 1 174 (he being then twenty-
four years old), for his adventure. Accompanied by
a trusty servant, he armed himself with a long
spear, and affixed a wheel about a foot from the
point. To this he attached tow, dipped in some
inflammable fluid, and at a given moment, when
the beast was well away from the cave, he mounted
his horse, his servant set fire to the tow, and he
charged straight at the lieast, who opened his
mouth, and received the fiery wheel and lance down
his throat. The lance was broken by the shock,
and the worm retreated to its den, upraising the
cave in its death struggles, causing it to fall upon
it and complete its destruction.

For this deed, Somerville was granted the lands
and barony of Lintoun in 1174.

Over the parish church door he had an efligy of
himself in the act of charging the " Worm," cut in
stone, and it is there to this day, and the " Worm's
Glen " retains the memory of his deed.

The Somerville coat-of-arms bears for its crest
a dragon spouting fire, standing on a wheel.

Sir John Somerville married Elizabeth, daughter
of Sir Robert Oliphant, of Cesseford, Teviotdale,
and on the death of his father, Roger, went to
England, at the age of sixty-four, to try and recover
his father's forfeited estates, but failed to do so.

However, on the accession of Al^exander II of
Scotland in 1214, and the death of King John, he
was more fortunate, and the English estates were
restored to him in time to provide that they should

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go to his eldest son, Robert, and that his second
son, William, should inherit the estate of Lintoun.
William may therefore be regarded as the founder
of the Scottish branch of Somerville.

Robert married in the fifteenth year of Edward
I's reign, Isabella, daughter and co-heir of Sir
Roger de Merley, a great Baron of Northumber-
land ; and the English branch of Somerville, in
addition to their own properties, thus acquired
Inncastle, Newbolte, Brideshouse, Sir Scotcur-
burgh and Edinghall in Staffordshire, while North-
umberland contributed Witune, Wingates Horsley
and Stoctu in the county of Ware.

He was succeeded by his son Roger in the
twenty-fifth year of Edward I, and who was Sheriff
of Yorkshire and Governor of the Castle of York in
Edward II's reign.

Roger was succeeded by his son Roger, the ninth
of Wichnour, and who was created a peer of Eng-
land. On his death the title and estates devolved
upon his brother. Sir Philip.

This gentleman had no son, and the English
Peerage became extinct ; but his estate went to his
two daughters, one of whom, Maude, married John
Trafford, afterwards Duke of Buckingham, and the
other married Edmund Vernon, father of Sir
Richard, who was executed by Henry IV fo
espousing the cause of Richard II.

The family, therefore, appeared to be extinct so
far as the name was concerned in England. But
there still remained the descendants of a younger
son of Roger, the third Baron of Wichnour,
who had received from his father the Barony of
Aston in Gloucestershire, and which to-day bears
the name of Aston Somerville, or Somerville Aston,
near Evesham.

It was through this branch that the English

5



Somervilles preserved their name until it reached
William Somcrville, of Eadstone, Warwickshire,
and Somerville Aston. Me was a well-known
minor poet, and author of " The Chase."

In 1730 he settled his estates upon James, the
thirteenth Lord Somerville, in consideration of
certain money grants, and died unmarried, the last
of the English Somervilles, in 1742.

In the meantime, William, second son of Sir
John Somerville (who acquired the parish and
lands of Lintoun by exterminating the " Worm " in
1 1 74), founded the .Scottish branch of the family,
and married Margaret, heiress of Newbiggin, by
whom he had a son, vSir Walter, who married Eftle,
sister of Sir David Barclay, in 1262.

Their second son, Sir John, succeeded as fourth
of Lintoun, and married Elizabeth Douglas, of
Loudoun Hall, Kinnoul, Carnwarth and Calder-
clear, and brought him the lands and town of Carn-
warth and Cowthally Castle.

Their eldest son James was killed at the battle of
Durham, 1346, so the second son. Sir Walter, fifth
of Lintoun, succeeded.

He married Janet Preston, daughter of Sir
Thomas Preston of Craig Miller, and after her
death married Gillies Herring, daughter of Sir
John Herring, who brought as her marriage por-
tion half the lands of Gilmerton, Midlothian — the
lands of Drum and Gutters being part of them.

There do not appear to have been any children
of this marriage, but there were hve children of the
marriage with Janet Preston, the eldest of whom.
Sir John, succeeded as sixth of Lintoun in 1380,
and married the daughter of Sir John Edmonstone,
who brought him the estate of Cambusnethan.

He died in 1405, and his eldest son, Thomas,
married Marv Sinclaire, sisicr of Sir William
\ - 6



Sinclaire, Earl of Orkney and Laird of Roslayon.

Sir Thomas Somerville was the twelfth from Sir
Gualter de Somerville, the seventh of Lintoun, the
fourth of Carnvvarth, the second of Cambusnethan
and the first Lord Somerville, being summoned to
Parliament under the title of a Lord of Parliament
by King James the First of Scotland in the first
Parliament of his reign.

He was one of the Ambassadors sent to England
in 1422 to treat for the ransom of that King.

He is also named among the Wardens of the
Border in 1424.



The Family of Head

THE family of Head is of remote antiquity
in Kent, and, like many English surnames,
derives its origin from the place vviiere the
family lived. In this instance, the spelling of the
name was formerly De Hethe, signifying that the
family originated in the famous Cinque Port of
Hythe, which at that time was spelt Hethe. From De
Hethe it was an easy transition to De Hede, as it
appeared in the 14th century, and the subsequent
dropping of the prefix " de " left Hede to be trans-
formed into Head by the end of the 15th century.
A second survival of the original form of the name
may be found in the Kentish family of D'aeth,
which is presumably a branch of the original stock
of De Hethe.

In 1609 there was born, as second son of Richard
Head, Esq., of Raynham, Kent, Richard, upon
whom a baronetcy was conferred by Charles II,
June 19, 1676.

Sir Richard Head married twice, and in both
cases he married an heiress.

His iirst wife was Elizabeth, daughter and co-
heiress of Francis Merrick, of Rochester, by which
marriage he acquired a considerable part of
Rochester. Sir Richard also owned a fleet of
merchant vessels, which was probably derived
from the same source.

He married, secondly, Elizabeth Whittey, of
Wrotham, Kent, who also brought him consider-
able property.

8



He was Mayor of Rochester, and sat for that
borough in three Parliaments, including the Long
Parliament. His signature is to be seen con-
stantly recurring in the Municipal Records cf
Rochester.

Sir Richard built a country residence about five
miles out of Rochester, near Gads Hill, which he
named "The Hermitage." This residence is in
existence to-day, with Sir Richard Head's coat-of-
arms in the ceiling. The grounds are laid out in
the Italian fashion of the day. The estate at that
time embraced some 5,000 acres.

The memory of Sir Richard Head is still kept
alive by an annual dole of bread to the poor people
of Rochester, under his will. He presented a fine
house close to the river-side at Rochester to the
Church of England for the purpose of providing a
residence for the Bishop of Rochester. This
residence has since been sold by the Church of
England, and the purpose of Sir Richard Head's
gift thereby defeated.

In the side chapel of Rochester Cathedral may
be seen the effigy of Sir Richard Head over his
tomb, where also many other of his descendants
are buried, in company with Charles Dickens,
General Gordon, and other celebrities. General
Gordon was a friend of my grandfather, and
presented him with one of the Yellow Jackets
which had been bestowed upon him by the Em-
peror of Ciiina for his services to that Empire.
Before handing the Jacket to my grandfather,
Gordon cut off one of the buttons, thereby depriv-
ing the possessor of any rank attached to the
ownership of the Jacket.

Sir Richard Head was a strong supporter of the

Stuarts, and when James II had to fly the country.

Sir Richard received and concealed him in his

- 9 B



house at Rochester until he was able to send him
out of the country in one of Sir Richard's own
ships. James II presented him with an emerald
ring in token of gratitude, which passed down the
line of succeeding Head baronets until it reached
Frances, only daughter and heiress of Francis
Head, of St. Andrew's Hall, Norfolk, the grandson
of the 4th Baronet, and the elder brother of James
Roper Head, of "The Hermitage," Kent.

This Miss Frances Head married, in 1806, the
Hon. and Rev. George Herbert, fourth son of the
first Earl of Carnarvon, and left an only daughter,
Agnes Katinka Herbert — born 1S20 — whose resi-
dence in 1913 is given in Debrett as 135 Avenue
Victor Hugo, Paris. It is in this lady's possession
that the ring is supposed to be.

vSir Richard Head's eldest son, Francis, a
barrister-at-law, married Sarah, only daughter of
Sir George Ent.

By his first marriage Sir Richard left a second
son, Henry, who died without children ; and a
third son, Merrick, D.D., whose daughter, Eliza-
beth, married Theophilus del' Angle, Esq. He
also left a daughter, Elizabeth, married to Sir
Richard Faunce, Knight.

vSir Richard Head had by his second wife a son,
John, a merchant of London, who married Anne,
daughter and co-heir of John Dawes, Esq., of
London. John Head died in 1687, and it was
through his descendants that, when Sir Richard's
baronetcy — the original creation — became extinct,
the North Carolina branch of the family claimed
and were granted the baronetcy.

Sir Richard I lead's eldest son, Francis, having
predeceased hirr. in 1678, Sir Richard was suc-
ceeded in 1689 hy his grandson, Sir Francis, as
second baronet. This gentleman was of a very

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violent temper, and is said to have killed his valet
at " The Hermitage " in a fit of p:.ssion.

Sir Francis Head, 2nd baronet, married Mar-
garet, daughter and co-heir of James Smythsbye,
Esq., by whom he had a daughter who married
Rev. William Egerton, Prebendary of Canterbury,
and a son who succeeded as Sir Richard, 3rd
baronet.

Sir Richard died, unmarried, in 1721, when
the title devolved upon his brother, the Rev. Sir
Francis Head, the 4th baronet, who married, in
1726, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir William
Boys, and died in 1768, leaving three daughters as
his co-heirs —

Maria Wilhelmina, married to Henry Roper,
who succeeded as nth Lord Teynham, and died

1758;

Anna Gabriella, who married, first, Moses Men-
dez, of London, and, secondly. Captain the Hon.
John Roper, and died 1771 (her sons by the first
marriage assumed their mother's name of Head) ;
and

Elizabeth Campbell, married to Rev. Dr. Lill.

The baronetcy then fell into abeyance until a
descendant of John, fourth son of Sir Richard, ist
baronet, who had settled in North Carolina, hap-
pened to visit England, and overheard in the coach
from Rochester to London, as it passed *'The
Hermitage," that although the estates had fallen
to the three daughters of the Rev. Sir Francis,
there was no one to claim the title. He at once put
forward his claim, which he proved, and the title
went through him till it reached Sir Edmund
Walker Head, 8th baronet, who was Governor-
General of Canada from 1854 to 1863. At his
death — his only son, John, having been drowned in
Canada — the title of the first creation became extinct.

1 1



In the meantime the three heiresses of the Rev.
Sir Francis had all found their husbands before he
died, the eldest marrying the nth Lord Teynham
*n 1753 J vvhile the second, by name Anna Gabri-
ella, married, the same year, Moses Mendez,
grandson of Fernando Mendez, who came from
Portugal as Court Physician to Catherine of
Braganza on her marriage with Charles II. He
was a very handsome man, artistic in music and
poetry, and produced several plays which were
acted on the London stage.

The family of Mendez belonged to the exclusive
and aristocratic Sephardims who settled in Spain
during the reign of Solomon, about 1000 B.C.
These were Israelites, belonging to what are now
known as the Lost Tribes ; but they had settled in
Spain nearly 300 years before Shalmanezer, King
of Assyria, carried away the parent stock in 720
B.C. Although the latter never returned to Pales-
tine, some of them seem to have settled in Afghan-
istan, where the most numerous tribe is to-day known
as Ben-i-Israel. Others appear to have scattered to
the shores of the Black Sea, whence the Vikings of
Scandinavia claim their origin in their Sagas, and
which is also supported by the inlaid Eastern
workmanship on their arms and in their jewelry.

The Sephardims, or Sepharvaims, as the word
appears in the Bible, are referred to on the occasion
of the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in
588 B.C., when he summoned the Jews to surrender,
asking them if the God of the Sepharvaims had
been able to deliver Samaria — i.e., the Israelites —
from his hands. The Spanish colony of the Sep-
hardims prospered with the prosperity of Spain,
and about the year 1000 B.C. we find they were the
chief administrators and leaders in science, physic,
the law, music, as well as in statesmanship and

12



finance in that country. They held themselves as
entirely separate from the French, German, Polish
and Russian Jews, and regarded usury with abhor-
rence. They lived rich and prosperously to the
benefit of Spain until about 1450, when religious
fervour (urged on by the hope of plunder) suddenly
blazed out, and a demand for their massacre, expul-
sion or conversion brought their beneficent influence
in Spain to an end, and established the power of
the Inquisition in its place. Some escaped to Por-
tugal, where their condition was not so desperate,
and many families there retained their positions.
Among them was that of Mendes da Costa, a
famous Grandee family, wiiose coat-of-arms des-
cribes by the broken bones the name of Costa — a rib
— while the royal descent from the House of David
is signified by the crest of an Eastern crown.
It was a descendant of this noble family of musi-
cians, scholars, physicians and lovers of art and
science — Moses Mendez— who married the second
daughter and co-heiress of Sir Francis Head, and
was theprogenitor of the Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Bond
Head, Bart., P.C, Governor of Upper Canada, and
his descendants.

Although Oliver Ci omweli had allowed the return
of the Jews into Enghmd, there still existed, as to-
day, a popular prejudice against them, and Anna
Gabriella Head was naturally anxious that her sons
should not suffer as a consequence of her marriage.
She accordingly obtained royal licence for the heirs
of her body to assume the name of Head. Anna
Gabriella married secondly Captain the Hon. John
Roper, son of the tenth Lord Teynham.*

*The orig-'inal surname of the aiicieiil Ki-ntish family of Roper
was iMusard, from whicli it wa.s chanifcd to Rubra SpHtha, tlien
to Rospcare, Rouspei', Rooprr, Ropore, and fiiirdly Uiiper.
Henry, tlie Pili Haii.)n Tejiiliain \\;is the fii-.st to conform to the
Established Churcli of En^i;^land, and took his seal in Parliament,
2(jih February, 1716.

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The elder son of Moses Mendez and Anna
Gabriella Head, Francis, married, 1779, Justina
Maria, co-heir of Sir Thomas Stepney, Bart., and
left one. daughter only — Frances, born 1780, who
married the Hon. and Rev. George Herbert (son
of Earl of Carnarvon), and died 1852.

Francis lived and died at St. Andrew's Hall, Nor-
folk, and was a martyr to gout.

The second son, James Roper Head, born in
1757 (Lord Teynham had married the elder sister,
Maria Wilhclmina, and the introduction of the
family name of Roper infers that he was James
Roper's godfather) was a man of lofty ideals, ex-
tremely imaginative and poetic. His dreams of
establishing a perfect brotherhood among mankind
led him into joining the association of Jacobins, an
English party of enthusiasts, who saw in the
French Revolution promise of the fulfilment of
their ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Fired
with ardour at what looked like the realization of
his dreams, James Roper Head crossed to Paris.
Here he disappeared, and is supposed to have
perished in the Revolution.

After his disappearance in this manner, an
attempt was made by another branch of the family
to lay claim to the estates of " The Hermitage." The
result of this was that the estates were thrown into
Chancery, and remained there for thirty years, at
the end of which time a verdict in favour of James
Roper Head's eldest son, Sir George, gave him no
alternative but to sell the property and pay the
Chancery costs, after which he was left with a
balance in his favour of about ;^8,ooo.

James Roper Head married, in 1781, Frances
Anne, daughter of George Burges, by his wife Anne
Wichnour, only daughter of James, thirteenth Lord
Somerville.

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A romantic story attaches to the marriag-e of
George Burges, which is fully set out in the "Bland
Burges Papers," of which there is a copy in Lowndes
Square, and another at Inverailort. George Burges
was a young cornet in the English army at the
battle of Cullodea in 1745, and there captured
Prince Charlie's standard from its bearer, the Duke
of Atholl, which standard is to be seen hanging in
the hall at Beauport, in Sussex, to this day.

In Edinburgh he met Anne Wichnour, Lord
Somerville's only daughter, and they became mutu-
ally attached ; but, knowing the opposition Lord
Somerville would make to such a match, they deci-
ded tobe married secretly. This was rather diflicult,
as the marriage would have to take place at night,
and Anne Wichnour slept in an inner chamber, be-
yond that of her brother, in company with the
housekeeper. However, George Burges possessed a
sporting friend, who was to be best man at the
marriage, and wi:o undertook to bring the lady out
of the house.

Accordingly, with the connivance of the butler,
he entered at dead of night, passed through the
room of the snoring brother, and found the lady
ready dressed in her bed, but too terrified to move.
He took a firm line, and said that if she did not
come at once he would make a noise which would
rouse her brother, and he would probably have to
kill him in self-defence. Whereupon the lady
yielded, and went down-stairs to the church, where
she was duly married to George Burges, and
returned to her father's home without anything
being discovered.

George Burges was shortly afterwards ordered to
Gibraltar, where he was A.D.C. to the Governor,
and remained for two years. About the end of that
time the news of their marriage became known to

15



Lord Somerville, who was furious, but impotent to
undo it, and so at last became reconciled.

Anne Wichnour was christened Wichnour from
the estates granted to Sir Walter de Somerville,
who came over with William I from Normandy as
one of his knights. Some of the property re-
mained in the elder, or English, branch of the
Somerville family until this time, when the elder
branch terminated with the poet William Somer-
ville, who wrote "The Chase." He was hope-
lessly in debt, very fond of hunting, and much
given to drinking, so that the opportunity open to
Lord Somerville to obtain the reversion of the
Warwickshire estates, and those of Aston Somer-
ville in Gloucestershire was too good a one to let
pass, and was easily arranged by paying the poet
an annuity sufficient to allow him to enjoy his
pastimes in pCcice for the remainder of his life.

There were three children as issue of the mar-
riage between George Burges and Anne Wichnour
Somerville : the eldest daughter Frances Anne,
who married James Roper Head ; Maria Anne,
who died unmarried ; and James Bland Burges,
whose life is contained in the ** Bland Burges
Papers."

The latter became Under Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, and was created a Baronet with
the post of Knight Marshal of the Royal House-
hold, with remainder to his son.

In 1798, by the death of his friend Mr. John
Lamb, he succeeded to his fortune and the estate
of Beauport in Sussex, near Battle, and assumed
the name of L?.mb, so that thereafter he was known
as Sir James Lamb.

When the estates of "The Hermitage" were
thrown into Chancery by the disappearance of
James Roper Head, Mrs. James Roper Head and

16



her numerous family were left without a home or
income, but her brother, Sir James Lamb, gener-
ously received them all at Beauport, and educated
and brought up the entire family.

The eldest, George, was put into the Army, and
was in the Commissariat Department in the Penin-
sular War. He was a tall, powerful man, fond of
boxing, at which lie was proficient. He wrote several
books of travel, but he lacked imagination and liter-
ary genius, and they are somewhat dull, prosaic
reading. He lived much by rule, and used to write
steadily for two hours at a time, with an enormous
fob watch in front of him to mark off the exact
performance of his duty.

Upon the death of Sir James Lamb, his son, Sir
Charles, became entitled to the dignity of Deputy
Knight Marshal, but, being of an aesthetic turn,
did not wish to challenge to mortal combat any
who denied the right of \Villiam IV^ to reign, and
consequently selected his pugnaciouscousin George
to act for him. For the execution of this office he
was knighted, and Sir George Head was again the
challenger on the accession of Queen Victoria.
He died, unmarried, in 1855.

Tiie second son, James, entered the service of
the Honble. East India Company, and was captain
of one of the East Indiaman ships, which in those
days represented a high post of honour, and was
so lucrative that a captain's share of profit was
estimated at ;[£, 10,000 a voyage. The captain was
only allowed to hold his post for three voyages, at
the end of which time he retired with ;^30,ooo,
which in those days was regarded as a fortune.

James married, in 1821, Cecilia, daughter of
Hon. Robert Lindsay of Balcarres, and \yas on


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Online LibraryJames Cameron-HeadFamilies of Head and Somerville → online text (page 1 of 3)