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

Early Records - Kent

By Eric L Sewell

This article was originally published in the April 2004 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society


A few years ago, when searching the medieval records for signs of the SEWELLs, I kept also a note of some of the likely variants of the surname. The list I collected for Kent, extracted from the published sources at my disposal, is shown below. I cannot pretend that the list is complete. A more careful examination of sources would undoubtedly produce more evidence than I was able to achieve in a hasty scrutiny. Since the majority of findings concern the SOLEs, I expect I am covering ground already researched by other members. Nevertheless, it may be worthwhile to indicate the range of publications where such information can be found.


The list shows the published source (in italics), date, place, name of the person and any other relevant detail that can readily be deduced. Since the original records would have been in Latin, and the transcription might also be in Latin, it is not always possible to go into details.


Non-SOLEs may need to note that SOLE(S) is a Kent place-name appearing in the Eastry Hundred and the neighbouring Nonington Hundred, both to the west of Deal. A Hundred was the name given to a subdivision of a county based on the area of land needed to support 100 households.


The SEWELLs, invariably in the form SEWAL(E), were small in number despite the proximity of Essex.


Domesday Survey

1086 Sole(s) (Eastry Hd): Ansfrid held SOLE(S) from the Bishop of Rochester – assessed as two hides (supporting two households).

Rochester, St Martin: SEUUEN (Sewen), canon

Macknade (Faversham Hd): SEUUOLD (Saewold)

Pipe Rolls of Richard I, 1189-90 - Pipe Roll Soc. 1844

1189 Kent Robert de SOLE

Patent Rolls of Henry III - PRO

1223 Soles (Nonington): Willelmus de SOLES - dispute

Calendar of Kent Feet of Fines up to Henry III - Kent Records 1956

1227 Soles (Nonington Hd): William de SOLES

1238 Godmersham: Richard de SUWELL, monk

1249 Shorne: William de la SOLE - service

1271 Chelsfield: Bartholomew de la SOLE & his wife Katherine - land

Charter Rolls of Henry III - PRO

Grants of land and privileges:

1255 Orkeston, Forcumbe & Cranefurlong: Cicely daur. of William SEWAL - land

Close Rolls of Edward II—PRO

1311 Canterbury: Peter SEWAL – release from prison

1324 Farliegh: Constance atte SOLE - land

Eyre of Kent, 1313-14 - Seldden Soc. Vol XXIV 1909

1313 Wrotham Hd: Stephanus atte SOLE, juror

Wethelstone Hd: Ricardus SEWALE

Earliest Canterbury Freemen‘s Roll - Kent Records Vol XVIII 1964

List of those citizens granted the freedom of the borough

1358 Canterbury: Willelmus SOLE de Stureye

" Johannes atte SOLE, correur

" SEWELOND Lynewebbe, weaver

Register of the Black Prince - PRO - HMSO 1933

1364 Dartford: John SEWALE, the prince's steward

Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem - Edward III - Vol XIV PRO 1952

1376 John de SOLES

Indictments in the King's Bench

1451 Sutton Valence: Robert SOLE (of), spicer, accused with others


The taxation rolls, as far as they survive, provide a more extensive snapshot of the mid-14th century. Unfortunately the actual place-names are not given, only the Hundred name


Lay Subsidy Roll for Kent [part]- 1232-3 - Pipe Roll Soc. NS 45, 1983

1232 Kingsdown Johannis SEWYFEE

Kent Lay Subsidy of 1334-1335 - Kent Rec. Vol XVIII 1964

1334 Faversham Hd: Jn. SEWALE 1s 6d

Larkfield Hd; Pet. SEWALE 1s 4d

“                 Robt. SEWALE 3s 0d

Stowting Hd: Alan atte SOLE 1s 4d

Osprenge in Scray: Alic' atte SOLE 3s 0d

Maidstone: Thos. atte SOLE 2s 0d

“                 Barth. atte SOLE 2s 0d

"                 Walt. SOULE 6s 1d

Ringslow Hd : Jn. atte SOLE 3s 4d

"                 Widow of Luke atte SOLE 4s 0d

"                 Widow of Thos. atte SOLE 1s 6d

Ringslow Hd : Sim. atte SOLE 3s 0d

"                 Wid. of Jn. SOLES 1s 3d

"                 Barth. SOLES 1s 6d

Longbridge Hd: Jn. atte SOLE 6s 2d

"                 Jn. son of Thos. atte SOLE 1s 10d

Folkestone Hd: Ralph atte SOLE 1s 6d

"                 Jn. atte SOLE 5s 0d

"                 Robt. atte SOLE 1s 6d

Larkfield Hd; Pet. atte SOLE 2s 0d

"                 Wm. atte SOLE 1s 0d

Little Hd: Rd. atte SOLE 8s 0d

Longingborough Hd: Rd. atte SOLE 1s 0d

"                 Steph. atte SOLE 1s 0d

"                 Robt. atte SOLE 1s 0d

"                 Wm. atte SOLE 1s 0d

"                 Thos. atte SOLE, fisherman 1s 0d

"                 Thos. atte SOLE 1s 0d

Wingham Hd: Thos. atte SOLE 1s 0d

Felborough Hd: Thos. atte SOLE 4s 1d

"                     Walt. atte SOLE 7s 0d

Chetham & Gillyngham Hd: Thos. atte SOLE 2s 0d

Ruxley Hd: Walt. atte SOLE 1s 0d

Boughton Hd: Wm. atte SOLE 1s 6d

Eastry Hd: Jn. de SOLES 3s 4d


Poll Tax 1377-81

1377 Ospring: Seman ate SOLE

                    Canterbury: Agnes SAULE 8d

1379 Cinque Ports: Henricus SOLES 12d

“                 Christina SOLES 4d

“                 Gadelena de SOLES 4d

“                 Johannes SOLES 4d

“                 Stephanus atte SOLE 4d

“                 Salaman SOLE 4d

Canterbury Johannes SEWALE, brewer & Agnes his wife 2s 0d

“                 Johannes SEWALE apprentice


atte = ‘at’ used as an alternative to de = ‘of’

The following Hundreds may be difficult to find using a modern map:

Longingborough Hd - Directly north of Folkestone.

Stowting Hd - North-west of Longbridge Hd.

Longbridge Hd - North-west of Stowting Hd.

Ringslow Hd - North-east corner near Margate.

Felborough Hd - North of Longbridge Hd.

Little Hd - Near Rochester.

RuxleyHd - Directly south of Little Hd.


Return to The Sole Society Home Page