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

SOLLEY Co-ordinator's Report November 1993

By Elizabeth Hughes

We are delighted to welcome George and Kathryn Solly of Tilehurst, Berkshire as members, particularly as George has been working for over twenty years on the family. From family sources he had compiled a pedigree as long as our one from Ridlon (which he had not seen). Like the SOLLYs in my last report, he descends from the John Solly who wrote an account of the Solly family in 1734.

When he was a student doing a course on the Economic and Social History of Kent at the University of Kent in 1973, George used the SOLLEY family of Ash as his example in a lengthy course essay answering the question "To what extent does research into one's own family history make a valuable contribution to Local History?' In writing this he studied both family events and the Solley's demographic characteristics. The study is a mine of interesting information which will doubtless be recast in to one or more journal articles in due course.

When Don visited George and Kathryn, he discovered that George had a substantial collection of material which will take quite a while to "process" into the Society's archives. George's own line, right back to the 18th century, was completely unknown to us. With regard to the earlier period, as they compared my charts with his, Don and George discovered a number of discrepancies which will have to be resolved.

Don has also discovered in the 1879 edition of Burke's Landed Gentry a detailed pedigree of the SOLLY‑FLOOD family. This descends from Frederick Solly‑Flood, born 1801, the son of Richard Solly (1771‑1803), a partner in the firm of Isaac Solly and Sons who was another son (not included in the pedigree in the last journal) of Isaac Solly who founded the firm. Frederick added the name of Flood when his maternal grandfather died in 1824. Frederick was the Attorney‑General for Gibraltar and "Advocate General for the Queen in her Office of Admiralty" (to give him his full title). He achieved sudden fame in 1872 as the assessor at the court which tried to discover what had happened on board the Mary Celeste, (often wrongly called the Marie Celeste) a ship found sailing in the Atlantic in full working order and sufficient food to last six months but without a soul on board.

In his account of the story in Great Unsolved Mysteries edited by John Canning, Richard Garrett describes Solly­-Flood as "the most colourful and contentious person present in the court". "Mr Flood", he says "has been described as arrogant, pompous, shrewd and excitable. He may have been all these things: he certainly had a vivid imagination and was prepared to put pretty well any theory on offer." Some of these theories will be described in a future article in the journal.

Frederick Solly‑Flood's son, Major‑General Sir Frederick Richard Solly‑Flood (1829­-1909) was knighted. His sons were Major ­General Arthur Solly‑Flood (1871‑1940) and Brigadier‑General Richard Elles Solly-­Flood (1877‑1954). There were entries for all three in Who's Who which Don has photocopied.

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