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

The Solly Crest

By George Solly

This article was originally published in the August 2001 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.

Details from a Letter sent by the College of Arms to Alan Solly, 11th December 1922

With reference to your visit here on the 8th inst. at which you paid the fee of one guinea for the identification of a crest which you described to me and was evidently '" Crescent or: surmounted by a Sole naiant AV"

This crest was claimed by George Solly of Civil Wigorn, Co. Worcester, in 1683 at a Herald's visitation, together with the arms "Vert, a cher: per pale OR and GU: between three Soles naiant AV" which were the arms of the family of Solly or Hinlip, Co. Worcester, as proved at the earlier Herald's visitation of that county in 1634.

The said George Solly of Civil Wigorn does not appear to have produced conclusive proof of his descent from the earlier family of Hinlip, Co. Worcester, and in order to have the right to bear the arms of the ancient family it is necessary to establish a descent in the direct male line from them.

I think you informed me that you had a pedigree of your family and I should be interested to see this and to have it officially examined and put on record if you care to take the matter any further.

Yours faithfully,

HRC Martin, Rouge Croix, Pursuivant of Arms, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4

Comments from a Heraldry firm, Armour Heraldic Crafts, 6th December 1970

NAME: Solly

BLAZON (TRANSLATION): The basic colour of the shield, or what is known in heraldry as the field, is green. The chevron described per pale is divided, the left of the chevron in gold and the right in red. Two soles (naiant) swimming are in chief, and one in base. These are depicted in silver.

ORIGIN OF NAME (in our opinion): Records appear to show a connection with the family of Flood (Bromley) "Exemplified 1819 to Frederick Solly Esq, maternal grandson of Sir Frederick Flood, Bart, of Bauna lodge". Further genealogical research required to establish a direct connection.

FAMILY MOTTO: "Vis unita fortior"



It struck me as more than interesting that the 'Solly' crest should have three Sole on it. I asked George about this, and this is his response: -Ed.

“The crest ring I wear (which is the abbreviated version of the full achievement of arms) has a sole above an eye. One explanation is ‘sole & eye’ = SOLLY!

The real explanation appears to be Fish (symbol of the early Christians) above a Crescent (Muslims) i.e. victory of the Christians over the Saracens in the Holy wars. So it is possible that one of our forebears fought in the Holy Wars in the early part of the millennium before last and earned the right to this crest.

Quite interesting!”


George Solly also has a photograph given to him by Lynne Burlingham's father (he thinks), showing the co-joined arms of Solly and Sexburgha, daughter of Thomas Harfleet of Staple.

Sexburgha was married to Steven the Elder in about 1509. The photograph was taken in Oct 1985 at the Pilgrim's Guest House, Strand Street, Sandwich.

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