Sermon One Name Study

  • PDF
  • Print
  • E-mail


I have been researching my One Name family in all its spellings since 1956 (fifty years) and have traced the Severn Valley branch back to 1460 in Eldersfield, Worcestershire. The name is very localised, only found in the Severn Valley, Thames Valley, Wiltshire and north Surrey. The family over the intervening years have spread all over Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the rest of the World. There is another branch with its origins in Buckland in Berkshire, but it is not related.

We have a One Name Society with members all around the globe and have had three family gatherings in this country and plan another in Australia next year. Over the last two years we have been involved in a big DNA study which has been very revealing and this is being further extended in order to define the various individual branches.

The main project now is to find the true origin of the surname, this has been refined in the 12th century as le Sermoner or le Pridicatoris: The Preacher, but what did a preacher or sermoner exactly do in the 12th century, before the advent of Monasteries or wandering Friars?

The most common variants since the 16th century are Surman and Sermon, it is the vowels that change so you also get Serman, Sirman, Sirmon, Surmon and I have seen Sermin and Cyrmon.

The earliest mention I can find is in 1190 in the village of Sibford Gower, Oxfordshire. The Cartuleries of both Osney Abbey and the Sandford Preceptory of Knights Templar record the various transactions with the local populace and start with Gilberto Sermocinat, a witness on grant of land to the Templars. Thereafter we have Radulfo Sermoner, Richard Le Predicatoris, Richard le Sermoner, Petro le Sermon and what is very interesting: Radulfus Sermocinarius who gave land to the Knights Templar provided that they prayed for his soul, his ancestors soul and his descendants soul, which I hope includes me!

For a long time we have thought it was an English surname Latinised when written by a cleric, but are now considering it may be of continental origin brought in following the Conquest, but still have a fairly open mind.

It does not appear to be ecclesiatical otherwise it would have been Priest. I am at the moment making an in depth study of Chaucer's works to see if that may throw up something.


John S Sermon, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

24 Monks Walk, Bridge Street, EVESHAM, Worcestershire WR11 4SL

Guild Of One Name Studies membership no: 197


Where's the Login?

Due to the volume of spoof registrations, the login facility has been suspended. All resources that previously required registration and login are now publicly accessible.

The North Worcestershire Family History Forum has also been suspended.

A new website for Midlands Ancestors' Bromsgrove Branch will be launched later this year. Please bear with us while we migrate to a new site.