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

SOLLEY Co-ordinator's Report - November 1996

by Elizabeth Hughes and Bob Solly

It is clear that the origin of the Kent SOLL(E)Ys is the small village of Ash, between Canterbury and Sandwich.

In order to obtain more information about the Solley families, two visits have now been made to the holder of Ash parish records. Mrs Elizabeth Hudson moved to Ash in 1972 and has made her life's work transcribing any records relating to Ash parish. All the baptism, marriage and burial records have been listed where possible into families with one main card for each family group. There are over two hundred Soll(e)y family cards in her filing cabinet all with great detail listed including land holdings, wills, court records and burial grave sites.

Working closely with Mrs Hudson we were able to add a substantial number of dates and some offspring to our existing charts. We also made use of our time by listing a11 christenings, deaths and burials in Ash before 1641.

Armed with the additional information and using the computer program Reunion, much of the information has been input, together with all the notes shown on our manual charts. These notes start to fill out the story of the SOLL(E)Y family. Like many families, the vast majority of members are agricultural labourers, but there are some hidden gems which come to light when we find wills or other references.

One particularly valuable (although not unfailingly accurate) source of information is a book published in 1926 in Maine, USA and written by the Reverend G.T. Ridlon. Entitled:
A contribution to the history, biography and genealogy of the families named SOLE, SOLLY, SOULE, SOWLE, SOULIS with other forms of spelling from the eighth century to the present with notes on collateral families both Foreign and American
I suspect it was never destined for the top ten books of its' day. Indeed it proclaims - only five hundred copies printed!

This volume explains that Great Pedding was an ancient residence of the SOLLY family as were Mote Farm and Fleete Farm (all near Ash in Kent). It then goes on to detail a number of eminent SOLL(E)Ys who we have now included in our family charts.


We have removed all duplications from the Kent Soll(e)y names in the IGI and grouped them as far as possible in to families. As they are confirmed by other sources they are transferred onto our verified database, which now consists of over 800 names, together with notes.


Stop press news: The first new member recruited through the Sole Society internet pages is Edward Solley of Knoxville, Tennessee in the USA. He is only a short way from the Country & Western capital of Nashville. It seems the earliest ancestor that he has found so far came from North Carolina and was born in 1792. Does anyone know how we can trace when he travelled from England and on what ship?


Bob Sheldon has been researching the SOLE connection in Thanet, but the bad news for him is that there are only a few Soles to save. However, he has kindly volunteered to record any instances of SOLL(E)Y appearing, so we now have the complete records for the 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 Census. Many thanks, Bob. Now we have a great deal of work putting some more pieces in the jigsaw.


The combination of visits to the custodian of the parish records and reading the Bishop's Transcripts in Canterbury Cathedral library means that we have most of the Ash records and now have to try and identify families - not all that easy when, at the last count, there were 143 John's and 93 Stephen's alone in the records. We have also summaries of many other instances where the SOLL(E)Y name appears in other parishes.

So we continue to work to put family groups together. Much of the work revolves around the central database of the Reunion program, and many charts are already available.

Return to The Sole Society Home Page