Big Tom (Irish Speaker)  Somerville, (1797-1882), Drishane, Castletownsend, Landlord, Magistrate, Kind Friend of O’Donovan Rossa.

Even going back years I was struck by Tom Somerville intervention caused by fatalities arising from the notorious collections of tithes by the Rev. Morritt.  He seemed on his landlord’s side as a lone voice of reason.  His granddaughter Edith Somerville, I thought captured a lot in the Irish Rm ((Resident Magistrate) stories.  I would think the Somerville family were largely assimilated into local culture, even if not always obvious.

Thomas Somerville Esq. D.L. (1797-1882), Drishane House, Castletownshend, son of Thomas, m Harriett Townsend of Castle Townsend in 1822, d Colonel Richard Boyle Townsend (1756-1827). Magistrate 1822 to 1882.  For 37 years Chairman Skibbereen Board of Guardians, Pre 1830, listed 1835 Castlehaven. Freeman of Cork.  Irish Speaking exhorted calm in notorious affray 1823 caused by Rev. Morritt tithe extraction.  Signed public declaration in Skibbereen to Alexander O’Driscoll on his removal as Magistrate 1835 with Lord Bantry, Simon White, John Puxley, Arthur Hutchins, Thomas Baldwin, Samuel Townsend Junior and Senior, Richard Townsend Senior, Rev. Alleyn Evanson, Timothy O’Donovan, Richard Townsend, Lyttleton Lyster. 1838, sitting Skibbereen, 1835, 1850. Presentment sessions East Division of West Carbery, Skibbereen 1845.  A Thomas Somerville at Bandon Brunswick Constitutional Club 1828,  Cork Spring Assizes 1863 HIgh Sheriff  as Thomas, Drishane. 1828 application to Dublin Castle re gas supply for Skibbereen. involved with Richard Townsend, Castletownshend and James Redmond Barry, Glandore, in setting up Agricultural and Country Bank in Skibbereen, April 1835.  1835 Subscriber Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland  1837.  Chairman Skibbereen Board of Guardians 35 years, 1848-81. Chairing Skibbereen 1847 distress meeting.  1847 distribution for Castletownshend of New England Relief Committee Famine Relief.   Small estate 450 acres. Grandfather of Edith Somerville (1858-1949). Grandfather Admiral Somerville whose death in 1936 caused widespread outrage.  Praised by Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa as his friend 

Somerville family history:


The first Somerville to land in Ireland in 1690 was a refugee, fleeing persecution of the Church of Scotland of which William Somerville was a minister. He took his family and rowed twenty miles over rough water to Ulster, where they found refuge through family connections. He died four years later aged just 51.

Thomas Somerville was aged two when he made the journey by boat. The younger of two sons, he decided to make his career in the Church of Ireland. He went to Trinity College, Dublin, and became ordained. The family fortunes changed when he married Ann Neville in 1723. She came from a family of means,  had an annuity of £500 a year, and they prospered and had eight children. In 1732 the family moved to West Cork, Thomas having…..

Dr. James Edward Somerville (1810-1904), M.D., Doctor, Union Hall, Skibbereen. Had an enormous repertoire of old Irish tunes, gifted with horses, beloved locally. Somerville Magistrates.

Carbery Agricultural Show, Skibbereen, 1896/7 Prizewinners with Photo of Past President 1892-7, Aylmer Coghill Somerville DL, and The O’Donovan President 1899.

The world of the Irish RM, Elizabeth Somerville ( 1858, Corfu – 1949) with the West Carbery Hounds early 1900s.

Richard Skuse, Derrygarren, Barony of West Carbery, Co. Cork, Farmer, 29th April 1802, Sworn 1st May 1802.

To Michael Albridge (wrong should be Attridge), of Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Woollen Draper, and Jno (John?), Glasheen …Aulin?, Cork City, …..Allen  said County farmer, all his interest in lands at Derrygarren and Ininshbeg (Inishbeg) both in Co. Cork, … held under Head Lease from Cornelius O’Driscoll, Esq. and the latter under Thomas Somerville and Burris Erwin, Esqs., in trust  to pay Testator’s wife Mary Skuse, an annuity of £10 residue of profits from said lands to raise a payment of £40 each to the Testator’s seven daughters, Dorothy, Abigail, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary, Ann, Frances, and then to pay the profits to Testator’s son Francis Skuse for life, in default of his  issue to said  seven daughters.    Dwelling house at Derrygarren, furniture to the said wife for life, then the furniture divided between the three youngest daughters Mary, Ann and Frances

Executors: Thomas Somerville, Michael Attridge, Jno Attridge.