The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

SOLLEY Co-ordinator's Report - April 2001

By Bob Solly

We welcome two new members interested in Solley; David Railton and Mrs J Hill.

A new book "Ash - An East Kent Village" has been published. As many of you will know the origin of the Solley families is in this Kent village. David Downes, the author, read history at Jesus College Cambridge and has had a successful career as a solicitor, first practising in Deal and Sandwich (both of which have Solley connections). He moved in 1953 to The Street in Ash and continued practising until 1995. He has been a member of Ash Parochial Church Council since 1954 and its archivist for almost as long. In the foreword he includes Elizabeth Hudson in the acknowledgements (her local history research has given the Society invaluable help).

The book describes the parish of Ash, one of the largest in Kent with 7,011 acres on the road between Canterbury and the old Cinque Port of Sandwich. It refers to Planché’s book "A Corner of Kent" - written in 1864, which stated "in historical associations, in archaeological interest, few parishes on the united Kingdom perhaps can equal, and certainly none surpass, that of Ash-next-Sandwich". It was created a parish in 1282, having been just part of the great manor of Wingham, belonging to the archbishops of Canterbury,

The first Solley reference is to Sexborowe Harfleet (or Harflete), born 1486, who had married Stephen Solley (or Solley) in about 1509. She was the daughter of Thomas Harfleet who, we learn from the book lived in some style at St Martin’s (now St Martin’s Priory) in Canterbury and died in 1586. She is the parish’s first recorded centenarian and ther is a copy of the Parish Register.

There are further references to various Solley’s and there is valuable additional information that we had not found in our source documents. For example, although I have transcribed all the older Ash records for births and marriages, I do not have the Stephen Solley who was a blacksmith. At his inquest in May1612 the coroner’s jury heard that John Merritt had seen a white horse, whereupon he fired at the horse, wounding it in several places, but also hitting Solley in the head. Solley died the next day.

This is a very useful reference book for our library and can be borrowed upon request. If anyone would like to buy a copy, send a cheque for £18.50 to D Mawson, The Post Office, 79 The Street, Canterbury, Kent CT3 2AD.

We also hold copies of two volumes of Archaeeologica Cantiana (published in 1925) which include details of Ash wills for Solly (or Soly) in the 1400 and 1500’s. However our main reference document is the two volume work by the Reverend Ridlon (published in 1926) - A contribution to the history, biography and genealogy of the families named Sole, Solly, Soule, Sowle, Soulis.

We have recently purchased an index of East Kent marriages from1754 to 1812 and the East Kent burial index from 1813 to 1841. Pleas let me know if you want me to look for any specific names.

I have now started on the task of recording Solley births and marriages in computer format. I have now completed the records up to 1871 and they can be usefully sorted into registration districts to assist in compiling probable family groups (although this is only of assistance with the less well Solley populated districts in Kent). We also hold manual records from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages up to about 1989

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