By Lynne Burlingham
This article was originally published in the December 2000 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.
From 'Kent Post' - Canterbury Archives, c January 2000:
NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW, BY L.W. COZENS
...that on April 8, 1837, at the Sandwich sessions, John Solly was charged with stealing one pair of cotton stockings, four silk handkerchiefs, one pair of black trousers, one black waistcoat, one linen shirt, one cotton night cap, one pair of cotton drawers, one red shawl, one wire gauge, one snuff box and a leather inkstand. The property belonged to John Willoughby Ashton, of Sandwich. For this crime Solly was sentenced to seven years transportation. In the same court at the same time he was charged with stealing three £5 notes, 13 sovereigns, four half-sovereigns, £3 11s in silver, one linen tea-cloth, all belonging to Benjamin Coleman. For this crime he was sentenced to transportation for life.
...that on Saturday August 1, 1834, His Majesty's cutter Ranger brought into Dover harbour the North Star of Sandwich, with 28 packages of contraband tea on board. The four-man crew of the North Star were Isaac Solly, John Beal, John (alias Jack) Taylor and Thomas Taylor, who were brought in front of the magistrates, found guilty and sentenced to six months hard labour.
COPY OF NOTICE SEEN IN THE FLEUR DE LYSE HOTEL SANDWICH, BY MY FATHER BILL SOLLEY IN SEPTEMBER 1984:
'We the undersigned witness with great satisfaction, at this moment of unprecedented agitation and needless alarm, that the respectable part of the community is most laudably stepping forward, in the Metropolitan and Provincial towns to avert the consequences which must otherwise fall on the Trade and Resources of the Country and anxious to follow so proper an example, we do hereby publicly express our determination to take the Notes of the Sandwich Bank as usual; and our full and entire confidence in the Establishment and Integrity of the Firm of Emmerson, Hodges & Emmerson. 16 December 1825. (List of names including George Solly)
From: The Sandwich Society, Newsletter No.3, 1984:
WALKING IN SANDWICH
Before the commencement of the Second World War, Richborough Road provided an area of peace and tranquility. One had but to turn off the Ash Road into Richborough Road to sense a feeling of relief, all tensions seemed to shed. If one bore in mind that by latish afternoon Christopher Solley (George Christopher Solley, Mayor of Sandwich in 1919-20-21), driven by his sister (Constance) in their tottering box-like old Lanchester would be returning from his Estate Agent's Offices in King Street to his home of "King's End Farm", one could without trepidation let one's eagerly pulling dog off the lead, safe in the assurance that no other despoiler would tarnish the country stroll. R.H.D.
From: A Saunter through Kent with Pen and Pencil, by Charles Igglesden, Vol.19. Kentish Express, 1926:
CHAPTER ON SANDWICH, p46:
In Strand Street stands a conspicuous block of buildings, majestic in their height, their deeply-toned timbers and heavy overhangs. This is the style that so many original houses in Sandwich could boast of, and a glance at these two houses gives one some idea of what the place must have looked like in Elizabethan days. Modern work, cleverly contrived, has brought out the original bits, and the owner, Mr.G.C.Solley, is to be congratulated upon the effect. Recently one part of the large building was sold to Barclay's Bank and practically removed owing to the condition of the framework. Mr. Solley, however, was able to retain much of the part. When the houses came in to his possession they were carefully plastered over - this was probably in the eighteenth century - in common with so many other fine old timbered buildings in Kent.
ALDERMAN GEORGE CHRISTOPHER SOLLEY, JP
George Christopher Solley was the son of my great-great-grandfather George Solley and his second wife Selina (nee Spooner). He was born 24 August 1869 and died on the 14 November 1941 at King's Farm, Richborough. He never married.
To quote from his obituary in the East Kent Mercury:
'A native of Ash, he was educated at Sandwich School. As a farmer, land agent, Expenditor for Lydden Valley (Commissioner of Sewers), and as one considerably interested in Kent coal, he was an outstanding figure in public affairs, and his opinions always carried weight. He was elected to the Sandwich Town Council in 1909, and served as Mayor during 1919-20-21, being elected an Alderman on August 11th 1921,during which year he was largely instrumental in securing a motor ambulance for the town. In August of the same year he organised a fete for the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which was opened by the late Lord Beauchamp.
He was elected Chairman of the Farmers' Club and East Kent Chamber of Commerce on January 23rd 1926, and was also Chairman of the East Kent Tithepayers Association. Appointed a J.P. for Sandwich in 1922, and also a Cinque Ports Magistrate, he held the office of Speaker of the Cinque Ports in 1920. A Port and Haven Commissioner, he was also a member of the Sandwich Charities Trustees. A member of Kent Archaeological and Geological Association, he made a thorough study of geology, upon which he had decided views. He belonged to a family connected with the parish of Ash for some hundreds of years; he was greatly interested in the development of the Wantsum Valley and the River Stour.
The fact that he lived at Richborough naturally led to his being closely attracted to the Roman settlement there, and he placed some of his land at Richborough at the disposal of the authorities for the purpose of excavation. He possessed a good collection of books dealing with local history, and was deeply interested in East Kent dialect. His passing is a distinct loss to the district. A fluent and well-informed speaker, he contributed several notable lectures, his subjects including those of "Kent Soils", "Sandwich Haven", "Views on the Sandhills Road", and "Sandwich Toll Bridge". As Chairman of the Sanitary Committee he presented a review of the sewerage question in Sandwich in May 1928. He held very strong views on the payment of tithe, and in August 18th, 1934, he had some of his sheep seized at Richborough Farm in lieu of the payment of tithe '.
He was obviously a figure of note within the local community. Interestingly, however, of all the mourners listed in the obituary notice in the paper only three (his sister, a cousin and a nephew) are members of the Solley family. Considering the size of the family and numbers who would still have been living in the area at the time, this seems a little strange. Perhaps it is a reflection on the reputation he appears to have had in the family of being something of a wheeler-dealer and a rogue!
Alderman George C. Solley, the Right Worship the Mayor of Sandwich at the official unveiling of the War Memorial on 29 November 1920
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