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

SOLLEY Co-ordinator's Report July 1993

By Elizabeth Hughes

Around 40 charts have now been made of the Kent SOLLEYs.

All the families charted seem to go back to three stems. One is the Soly or Solley family of Ash which, thanks to Ridlon we now have back to a Peter Soly whose will was made in 1494. This family includes the John Solly who wrote an account of the Solly family in 1734 (no.1 p.20; no.2 p.41), his grandson, Isaac, who founded the firm of Isaac Solly and Sons and died a rich man, Samuel Solly (1805­1871), a distinguished surgeon and Fellow of the Royal Society, and his son Richard Harrison Solly, Professor of Botany at Cambridge at the turn of the century, who contributed a section to Ridlon's book. John Solly's brother, Richard Solley, Mayor of Sandwich, was the grandfather of Richard Heaton Solly of St. Margeret's­at‑Cliffe, an eccentric on whom Hamish Robertson (also descended from the Mayor) has contributed an interesting newspaper account which will be reproduced in Soul Search as soon as space permits.

A second Solly family of Ash branched off from the senior one in the 16th century. It was still in Ash and the neighbouring parish of Preston‑by­Wingham in the 19th century and is represented in the Society by the Solleys of Alberta, Canada, the Solleys of Queensland, Australia and the Sutton family of New Zealand. 

The third family descends from a Stephen Solley of Preston‑by‑Wingham in the 18th century who was doubtless a member of one of the two Ash families but the exact relationship has not been determined. Denis Taylor and I are both descendants of this Stephen.

Don is on the trail of the account of the Solly family written by John Solly in 1734. In Ridlon's book published in 1926, Prof. Solly described it as being in the possession of George Edward Solly of Wimborne, Dorset. George's eldest surviving son was Reginald John Nash Solly, born in 1900. The current Bournemouth area telephone book lists an R.J.N. Solly as living in Langton Long, a hamlet near Blandford Forum. When Don called there recently no‑one was at home, but he discovered from a neighbour that Mr R.J.N. Solly died some years ago but is survived by his widow and a son. There is also a D.L. Solly listed for a Wimborne address, so there is every hope that when Don next visits the area, contact will be established with this branch and hopefully John Solly's family history will be located.

Three SOLLYs make the biographical dictionaries:

Edward Solly (1819‑1886) was a distinguished chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

As noted above, Samuel Solly (1805‑1871) was a distinguished surgeon and Professor of Anatomy. He also had water‑colours hung at the Royal Academy.

Thomas Solly (1816‑1875) was Professor of English at the University of Berlin.

Interestingly, all three were first cousins of each other and descendants of John Solly the family historian.

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