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




From Tony Storey


This article was originally published in the August 2007 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society


The first item in this selection of odds and ends is one of the earliest references I have found, an extract from the Accounts of the Constables of Bristol Castle - Nicholas Fermbaud 1300-1303.


£3.8s.3d. for John de Clougham esquire, a prisoner from Scotland staying in the castle, as wages from 30 Sept. 1300 till 29 June 1301, on which day he died in prison; £9.15s.3d. similarly to John de la More another Scot detained there, for wages from 30 Sept. 1300 till 19 Nov. 1302, on which day he was delivered to Peter de Brumpton by the king’s gift; similarly £6.6s.3d. to Robert de Keth, a knight from Scotland also detained there, for wages from 11 Oct. 1300 till 28 Feb. 1302, when he was delivered to the sheriff of Gloucestershire; £9.15s.3d. as wages for 1 keeper of these esquires from 30 Sept. 1300 to 19 Nov. 1302, and 20s. for the expenses of 6 horsemen escorting Thomas de Soules and Robert de Keth knights, prisoners from Scotland, from the town of Bristol to the town of Gloucester in Feb. 1302, to be delivered to the sheriff there.


Note 1 – Wages were paid at the rate of 3d per day

Note 2 – On 26 Sept. 1300 Fermbaud was ordered to receive both Robert de Keth and Robert de Barde, a yeoman, from the sheriff of Yorkshire. Described as “Scots, the king’s enemies and rebels lately captured against him in Scotland”. This is the Sir Robert Keith who later led the Scottish horse against the English at the battle of Bannockburn.

Note 3 – Thomas de Soules was an adherent of Balliol in 1296 and was imprisoned at Exeter. He was presumably a member of the family of Nicholas de Soules, one of the claimants to the Scottish throne in 1291, and of John de Soulis diplomat, who became a guardian of Scotland for John Balliol.


The following is an extract from the Cambridge Chronicle & Gazette of 9 September 1892 -


FUNERAL OF THOS. SOOLE, CHURCH CLERK FOR 30 YEARS & POSTMASTER FOR 22. – On Sat. Mr. Thomas Soole was interred in Ickleton cemetery. Deceased being a Forester of the Elmdon Court, the usual address was read at the conclusion of the burial service, which was conducted by the Rev. J. Amps (vicar). Deceased had been over 30 years church clerk, & for about 22 years postmaster for Ickleton. Much sympathy is felt by all & this was evinced by the number of wreaths which covered the oak coffin.


An entry in Who’s Who in Essex, published in 1935 –


James Sewell JP, nurseryman, 5 Franchise Place, Waltham Abbey, Essex.

Born 1873 Waltham Abbey, son of James Sewell, educated Waltham Abbey.

Married 1896 Alice Hannah, daughter of the late John Welch.

Member of Waltham Holy Cross UDC 1920-1923 and Food Control Committee during its existence.


The next four items are included courtesy of the Bristol Records Society


Bristol Apprentices

24 December 1555 Matthew, son of Richard Soley of Henlip (Hindlip) Worcester to Richard Edie, hooper and Joan, his wife for 8 years. Apprentice to have at end 20/- f 4/6 etc and an axe, hatchet and adze.


Bristol Clay Pipe Makers in the 1861 Census

Ann Sewell, laundress living in Great Anne Street, St Philip parish with daughters Elizabeth Sewell born c 1841 and Mary Sewell born c 1839. Both daughters are pipe makers.


Minute book of the Men’s Meeting of the Society of Friends in Bristol 1686-1704

Introduction to minute book:

A letter from William Sewel the Quaker historian exists, dated Amsterdam 2 August 1696, in which he declines a proposal made by William Penn that he might come to Bristol to take charge of the (Friends) school.

Biographical notes:

William Sewel, 1650-1720, born of English parents at Amsterdam. DNB, Jnl FHS Vol 25, 3-6 (1928), (BAO SF/C1, 1a 85-6), SPQ 531, Smith ii 560-3


Inhabitants of Bristol 1696

Assessment of Rates for the War against France

St Leonards parish, Richard Sole and Margaret his wife, and children Francis, Elizabeth and Ann, charged 4s for burials.

St Philip and Jacob parish, John Suell and Bridgett his wife.

St Augustine parish, Jane Suill, lodger with William Bragg and family


And finally, two petty criminals as recorded in the Middlesex Sessions –


20 January, 11 James I (AD 1613-1614)

John Sowle (Sole) of Tottenham, yeoman, for stealing two iron wedges worth 10d out of the barn of Thomas Holmes of the same, yeoman, at the same. Acknowledged, to be whipped.

Sess. Roll 528/148, 197, 215 G.D.R. 2/12


Sessions Held on 14 and 15 March AD 1615-1616

William Browne appeared in his proper person upon information laid against him by Henry Theodoricke under the Statute of 31 Henry VIII, and pleaded not guilty.

John Clarke of Ratcliffe, victualler, appeared upon information against him for unlawful games.

John Sole of East Smithfield, victualler, appeared upon information as above.  


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