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

SOLLEY Co-ordinator's Report June 1992

By Elizabeth Hughes

At this stage we can't be sure whether SOLLEY is related SOLE or not, though it originates from the same area in Kent. The main Solley family was at Gt Pedding in Ash parish, Kent. This family has been given a substantial write-up in Planche's Corner of Kent. There was also an old established Solley/Soley family in Worcestershire.

Member Hamish Robertson has supplied us with two pedigrees, one largely derived from Planche, the other of the descendants of Richard Solly (1674-1731), Mayor of Sandwich, made in 1928 by George Solley, a Sandwich lawyer. Richard was Hamish's ancestor as well as George's and was said by the latter to have been a bearer of the canopy at the coronations of King George I and King George Il.

Denis Taylor and Edward Sutton of Omaru New Zealand have provided information on a branch of the Ash family at Preston, Kent, from which I also descend.

Don has abstracted all Solley, Solly and Soley entries from the calendars of PCC wills and from the Alumni of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. In addition I have charts of the Ash & Wingham area of East Kent from 1623 and a Solley family tree researched by Keith Solley of Brisbane, Queensland, with an article written by him for the Parade of Australia in 1978. Unfortunately Keith is now deceased. The article is called 'Solley's Stock were Yeomen'. This goes back to 1550 in Ash, next Sandwich, Kent. I also have some information extracted from the census returns of East Kent, but this is not complete, and a list of wills from 1858-62. I have copies of the IGI for Solley and various miscellaneous lists of parish register entries, Mls etc.

There is some valuable material in Rev. G.T. Ridlon's book A Contribution to the History, Biography and Genealogy of the Families Named Sole, Solly, Soule, Sawle, Soulis with other forms of spelling... published in 1916, which Don Steel will be reviewing in detail in a later issue of the Journal. This volume contains tantalising references to collections of Solly material, such as that on the Kent families compiled by R.H. Solly, Professor of Botany at Cambridge, and a manuscript account of the Sollys written in 1734 by John Solly (1660-1747). Where are these papers now?

It seems that several people have researched the Solleys in ignorance of the previous genealogical work which has been going on spasmodically for 250 years. Hopefully the Society can bring all this work together.

The most comprehensive archive on the history of the Solley family is held by Tim Roberts who is descended from a Stephen Solley married at Denton in 1797 whose children were baptised in Canterbury from 1800. Tim's collection has been built up over the past 10 years and includes all Solly/Solley entries from the St Catherine's House indexes of births, marriages and deaths 1837-1989 and information from a vast range of other sources, 74 items in all. It is hoped to publish this list in due course.

Although Tim has expressed his goodwill towards the Society by making a donation, he feels that since Solley may well be a distinct family from Sole it could be the subject of a separate one-name study at some future date. The committee discussed this view very carefully but, like Ridlon 70 years ago, felt that since Soles and Solleys were found in the same areas it would be a wise precaution to consider them together. While Tim does not share this view, he has generously expressed his willingness to share all his material with us and to collaborate in every way possible. This can only be to our mutual benefit.

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