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




by Laurie Bridger


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


Before I start I should explain that my prime interest is in local history, especially the village of Garlinge where I was born and I haven't really done much about investigating my Solly ancestors.


There have been a number of Solly families in Garlinge, Kent, which I have picked up through the censuses but a lot of them at present do not connect with my branch as far as I can tell, and I have to admit that this is one of the reasons for joining the society. 


My earliest confirmed ancestor is my great great grandfather Thomas Solly who was born in Woodnesborough in 1837. He married Mary Ann Petts, born 18th May 1840 in St Laurence, Ramsgate, the daughter of Edward Petts and Catherine Crow, on 28th December 1861. Typically he was an agricultural labourer who moved around east Kent a bit. The birth places of his seven children bear this out:


Edward, born 1863 in St Laurence, Ramsgate

Catherine, born 1866 in Margate

Ellen, born 1868 in Margate

Thomas, born 1870 in Margate

John, born 1873 in Minster in Thanet

Mercy, born 1875 in Kingsdown, Kent

George Charles Lednor born 1881 in Crixhall Goodnestone near Eastry, Kent


George the youngest child was my great grandfather and on 5th August 1900 he married Edith Marsh, born 1881 in Boughton under Blean, daughter of Wellington Marsh, at St James Church, Garlinge. There were six children in the family:


Beatrice Mary born 8th October 1901 in Garlinge, Margate, Kent

Charlie born 20th November 1906 in Garlinge, Margate, Kent

Edward born 4th November 1909 in Garlinge, Margate, Kent

Frederick J.  born March 1914 in Garlinge, Margate, Kent

Sidney V. born September 1916 in Garlinge, Margate, Kent

Percy Arthur born 1918 in Garlinge, Margate, Kent


George went off to war and the last time he was home in 1916 he wrote his will where he gave his address as White Hart Cottage, Crow Hill, Garlinge. It would appear that he was living with his parents because this address was their home. Eagle eyed readers will have noted that the last child, Percy Arthur could not be George’s son, according to family tradition it was Thomas who ordered that he should be registered as a Solly. George had been killed at the battle for Arras in France in 1917. 


George Charles Lednor Solly with his four children before he went to war

George Charles Lednor Solly with his four children before he went to war



 Mary Ann Solly standing outside the White Hart Cottage in the 1920's

Mary Ann Solly standing outside the White Hart Cottage in the 1920's


Interestingly the cottage was part of Thomas Taddy's charity dated 1566 when he gave £30 to purchase as much land as could be obtained for the use of the poor, subsequently 13 acres were obtained at Crow Hill Garlinge. At a later date the cottage was built on part of the land and it was to be occupied by a poor family of the village. Thomas died there on 13th November 1918 at the age of 81, Mary lived until 20th December 1929 when she was 89. The council had purchased the charity land in the 1920's for development but Mary was allowed to live in the cottage until her death. It was pulled down in January 1930. 


 White Hart Cottage which was pulled down in 1930

White Hart Cottage which was pulled down in 1930


George’s eldest child Beatrice Mary Solly was my grandmother. Because of George’s death she was put into service and initially was employed at St Monica's, Birchington. At a later date she was employed as a cook at the Royal Deaf School in Margate. Beatrice married Sydney Harold James Langston on 2nd April 1921 at St John the Baptist Church, Margate. Sydney was born on 12th July 1897, the son of John Langston and Mary Ann Woodward. Thus ends the Solly name in this branch of the family. For the record my mother Joan Mary Langston married Lawrence Sydney Bridger and there are three subsequent Bridger generations.  The above is what I know to be correct. 


I have been given, through a contact on a rootsweb site, a tree including the above which goes back to Stephen Solly in 1550 in Ash, and possibly to Peter Solly of Hoaden in Ash in 1433. There was an error in this tree which had my Thomas Solly married to a wrong woman. I managed to sort this out with the compiler and it is now corrected, but because of this I have some doubt whether there are any mistakes in the rest. I'm hoping that through contacts with members of the society this can be proved one way or another.  


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