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

SOLLEY Co-ordinator's Report April 2003

By Bob Solly

Welcome to Ian Robinson, who is a new member. We have been able to provide information in his search, but, as often happens, it has probably considerably complicated his task.

I have been working on verifying the records we have produced of births deaths and marriages up to 1986 on spreadsheets, with births now having been checked to 1925 and marriages to about 1885. Death records have also been extracted and will shortly be available up to 1950.

I have also started extracting will index information at the Family Records Centre as time permits. Any offers of assistance would be gratefully received.

The Society has ordered a copy of 1841 Census details for a number of counties, including Kent. I am currently going through this CD to extract instances of the Solley names and to verify information we already have.

I mentioned in my Chairmanís report and I have extracted an excerpt about the 1841 Census and the population of London, which is of interest:

London, at the accession of James I., was said to contain little more than 150,000 inhabitants, or less than half the number of people taken into custody by the City and Metropolitan Police during the last five years.

At the Restoration of Charles II, in 1660, it was calculated by John Gaunt, a Londoner by birth, a resident in the City, and a Fellow of the Royal Society, that there were about 120,000 families within the walls of London. "The trade and very City of London," he says, "removes westward, and the walled City is but one-fifth of the whole pile."

Before the Restoration, says Sir William Petty, the people of Paris were more than those of London and Dublin put together, "whereas now (1687) the people of London are more than those of Paris and Rome, or of Paris and Rouen.

Petty's tables differ occasionally; but the result of his inquiries (and he had paid great attention to tile subject) seems to have been, that in 1682 there were about 670,000 souls in London, within and without the walls; that in 1684 the burials were 23.202, or 446 per week; and that in 1687 the entire population was 696,000.

But this, I am inclined to think, is a little above the mark, Gregory King fixing the population in 1696 at only 530,000, and the Population Returns of 1801 (113 years afterwards) at only 864,845. The burials in 1707 were 21,600; in 1717, 23,446; and in 1718, 26,523, much the same, it will be seen, as Petty's estimate in 1684. It appears, by the five returns of the present century, that the population of London in 1801,1811, 1821, 1831, and 1841, was as follows

1801 ... . . . .864,845
1811 . . . . 1,009,546
1821 . . . . 1,225 604
1831 . . . . 1,474,069
1841 . . . . 1,870,127

The census of 1841 (the last taken) exhibited the following return of the population of the four counties in which London stands

Middlesex - 1,576,636
Surrey - 582,678
Kent - 548,337
Essex - 344,979
TOTAL - 3,052,630

Thus it will be seen that of the 3,052,630 souls in the four counties, 1,870,727 (more than a half) were inhabitants of London. London now contains at least 2,200,000 of inhabitants, a population double of that which could be found in England and Wales at the time of the Conquest n

Peter Cunningham:

Hand-Book of London, 1850

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