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Our Lady Collegiate church in Vernon
A whole site dedicated to this monumeent (in English)
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Downloads
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Vernon half-timbered houses
A whole site about our numerous old houses (In French only, sorry !)
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Vernon Giverny Website auf deutsch

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Pass the mouse over the photos for further information
The Old Mill in Vernon
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Monet's house and garden at Giverny
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The XIIth c. castle keep in Vernon
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Visits, indeed, but there are so many other things to do in Vernon
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Walking and cycling around Vernon
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Museums in Vernon (paintings by Monet) and Giverny
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A walk in the streets of Giverny
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The water lily pond at Giverny
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Tourelles castle in Vernon
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Your family name is Vernon ?

Your hometown is Vernon ?


And you believe there might be a connection between your name or that of your hometown and Vernon, Normandy, France? You're right, this is very likely, indeed…

 

It all began almost one thousand years ago at the time of William the Conqueror, Duke and Normandy and later King of England.

At that time, the Lord of Vernon, William, a member of the larger Reviers family (often spelt Redvers in England) had a nephew (or a grandson, historians do not quite agree) named Richard de Reviers.


The church built by William de Vernon between 1050and 1090

William's tomb in Vernon (18th c. drawing)
(destroyed during the Franch Revolution)

Richard, together with five other knights of the Vernon - Reviers family, fought at the battle of Hastings in 1066 - first step in the conquest of England. Wace, a famous chronicler of the time, in his account of the battle wrote about him . "He who was then Sire de Reviers brought with him many knights who were foremost in the assault, bearing the enemy down with their war-horses."


Bayeux tapestry

Several of these knights settled in England as well as members of the Vernon family, where they founded the English branch of the family.

Click to enlarge

After William the Conqueror had awarded Chester to his nephew Hugh Lupus in 1070, the latter immediately appointed four great Barons, one of them being Richard de Reviers, made Baron of Shipbroke.


In the following years, Richard was one of the most faithful advisers and defenders of King Henry I, and when Richard died in 1107, he was among the richest and most powerful barons in England. His huge estates were divided among his sons: Baldwin of Reviers, became Earl of Devon (and his descendants are still bearing the title); the second son, William came back to Vernon castle to become the lord of the town at the death of Mathew of Vernon around 1135 ; the third son, Hugh de Vernon, baron of Shipbroke, finally settled in Shropshire at Haddon Hall, a place still owned by his descendants .


Haddon Hall

During the whole 12th century, the various branches remained closely linked and in constant contact on both sides of the English Channel. For instance when Hugh de Vernon died without issue, one of William de Vernon's sons (i.e. a nephew of Hugh's) crossed the sea to inherit the Shipbroke title and estates

Simplified family tree of the Vernon - Reviers family in the 11th and early 12th c. (click to enlarge)

These connexions were to stop when the French King, Philippe Auguste, captured Normandy in 1203-04, the Norman and the English branches of the family even becoming enemies .
Moreover, for strategic reasons, the king decided to incorporate Vernon into the Royal Domain instead of entrusting it to a vassal lord. The (French) Vernons had to leave but, as a compensation, received the lordship of Montmélian ( a place north of Paris, very near Roissy Airport) where they remained for another century.

 

In England, from branch to branch, that of the Vernons of Harlaston, of Haslington , of Haddon, of Tong, of Whatcroft etc… the Vernon bloodline was diffused throughout the peerage through the marriage of Vernon sons and daughters. The English branches of the Vernons from then on increased and had ramifications in far away countries as the English established their colonies overseas. Newport ( Rhode Island, USA) was one of these places where members of the Vernon family settled in very early times.

Tombstone of Daniel Vernon in Newport cemetery

Another example is that of the Vernon brothers in the late 17th century : Thomas, Randall and Robert, who descended from Richard de Reviers, the first baron of Shipbroke, were not only friends of William Penn but related to him through marriage. Thomas Vernon made the surveying voyage to Pennsylvania with William Penn in 1681 and he and his brothers were among the first to obtain property in the newly acquired land.

Among the famous members of the family one must not forget Admiral Edward Vernon born in 1684.
Although historians have very mixed feelings about his career, Vernon won great popularity by his capture of Portobello in 1739, but he is remembered today as the inventor of the grog! His crew had nicknamed him "Old Grog" on account of his constantly wearing a coat made of a coarse material called 'grogram". Now, in the 18th century, sailors used to drink rum as easily as water, which, made them sometimes difficult to command. So Old Grog decided curb their drunkenness by adding hot water to the rum... The diluted rum ration became known as 'grog' and remained a tradition in the Royal Navy until 1970. A simple but brilliant idea that has become famous since!


Admiral Edward Vernon

Among Admiral Vernon's crew, there was an officer, who became a close friend of his, Lawrence Washington, George Washington's half brother: he renamed the family property overlooking the Potomac River Mount Vernon for his commanding officer, Admiral Vernon. George Washington inherited Mount Vernon upon the death of his brother Lawrence's widow in 1761.
So, his world-wide famous place has a connection with our town, a very distant one  but a connection all the same...

 

Places called Vernon in the world

In a lot of English-speaking countries, villages and towns called Vernon have sprung up, quite often because the founder of the place was a Vernon coming from England as for instance in Vernon, Alabama, USA


Vernon, Alabama, USA was given its name in 1868 in memory of Edmond Vernon, from Vernon, England. It has about 3,000 inhabitants.

 

Vernon, Michigan, USA
Vernon is a nice little place that was named after Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, in 1856 when the Detroit & Mackinac Railroad came through the area and built a station there.

 

Vernon, New Jersey, USA
Located in the very heart of Sussex County, the town with a population of 21,000 attracts many more tourists with biking, hiking and skiing facailities .in a preserved natural area.

 

Vernon, Texas, USA is a community of almost 12,000. The historic proximity to the Western Trail is symbolic as Vernon is centrally located in North Texas,

 

North Vernon Indiana, USA with a population approximately 6,500



Vernon Indiana, USA

A village with a population approximately 370.


Vernon, California, USA
Vernon is not like any other city. It was incorporated to promote industrial development along the railroads in Southern California and so the City of Vernon is an exclusively industrial city



Vernon, Vermont, USA
The village, founded in 1672 and named Huntstown at the time, was renamed Vernon in October 1802 after George Washington's death - The population is now about 2,100.

 

Vernon, British Columbia, Canada
The city, founded in the 1860s is named for George Forbes Vernon, the Chief Commission of Lands and Works at the time. By the turn of the century, Vernon had become a bustling town as a major ranching and orchard centre. Today, Vernon is a major vacation destination for those flocking to the Okanagan Valley, in an area of unsurpassed beauty Population: 36,785

 

Vernon, New Zealand
Vernon is a small settlement situated on the South Island of New Zealand. It is located in the Marlborough region not very far from Wellington.


Point Vernon,Queensland, Australia
On the east coast with a population about about 5,000.

 

There are certainly plenty of other villages and towns called Vernon. and we are sorry we were not able to locate them. But if you inhabit such a place or know about it, please inform us, and - if possible - send us a photo and a short notice about your town. We will be delighted to add 'your' Vernon to the list.