Solly - Carved Oak Panel
in The Lion at Ash
From George Solly
This article was originally published in the April 2001 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.
From a drawing and notes originally made by Mr Hulme of Pedding
This panel, or front of a Host cupboard, is in the 'Lion' at Ash. Although now separated from the 'Solly Screen' at Pedding, it was originally part and parcel of the same job of work.
Their purpose and utility were equally shared. The screen was set across a bed-chamber to cut off one part for an oratory (for private worship) and the panel, with its ventilating slot, was set across an angle of the wall to form a cupboard to hold That which the priest had blessed on his last visit. Thus the panel was in the oratory with the plain side of the screen and was signed by the carver W.C. and his signature on the screen was in the bedchamber.
The design of the panel seems to incorporate an example of picture writing which was common till 1700.
One cannot separate the history of this panel from that of the Pedding screen; the history is mutual. The ancient family of Solly of Ash resided in the parish for at least 200 years before the first of whom Planche finds mention, Stephen Solly, 1555. For substantiation of this, see their wills in "Ash Wills" by Arthur Hussey, copies in Deal Reference Library (public).
The family owned lands at Ouden in Ash where certain ones lived. Others: "my lands and the house in which I live" refers to Pedding. Outside the parish they owned lands at Preston and at Wingham. One of them, John Solly, the father of the children listed on the screen, was the heir to Pedding. He had his house and lands at Wingham while his father was living at Pedding.
John Solly died in 1661 while his father was still living at Pedding. The screen (1662) is therefore something in the nature of a memorial to him and was set up in his Wingham house. John Solly in his will states that he is heir to Pedding and bequeaths it to his wife Margaret for her life time and after that to his son Stephen.
Thus on the death of John Solly's father, Margaret came to Pedding and brought with her the screen recording her children. With its removal from the bedchamber at the Wingham house, the 'Dear Heart' panel lost its usefulness and interest. And would be got rid of by a later tenant who had no connection with Solly.
But ornamental carving would obtain it a customer. In the 'Lion' it was first placed in a passage facing the entrance where the slot gave a view of anyone entering. The door of it provided a service trap. It is now over the fireplace
John Solly, 7th March 1595 to 29th August 1661.
The Screen is a memorial to their children who were: Stephen, Elizabeth, John, Francis, Richard, Susan, Thomas, Margaret, Mary and Martha.
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