Pulling Together the Threads

By Rosemary Bailey

This article was published in the April 2021 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

My head is spinning, and this may well be the one of the hardest articles I have written. (Have I even got it straight now?)
George Solly, our Solly research co-ordinator was contacted recently by two Solly researchers, Sue Solley a member for some time, and Jane Pagan a new member, about their families.
Sue wrote:
I am a member of the Sole Society and for some time have been researching my husband’s Solley ancestors along with other branches from East Kent. In the Soul Search Magazine dated December 2020 I read with interest the excellent article written by Peregrine Solly about his ancestors and the name Richard Heaton Solly jogged my memory!!
Way back in March, 1998 I received a large Solley/Solly family tree handwritten on stuck together pieces of paper dating back to 1180 [Ed: this is on a different line of Sue’s family].  It was sent to me by a Mr. R.H.L Phillips who at the time was living in St. Margaret’s Bay.  The family tree is written in pencil and is somewhat difficult to decipher but includes a large amount of historical research on the Family.  The name Richard Heaton Solly is included in the Family Tree. I would be very happy to donate the Family Tree to the Society in the hope that someone would be able to decipher all Mr. Phillips hard work doing his research.

Jane Pagan wrote to say that she understands that her grandmother, Lilian Solly, was a descendent of Stephen Solly (b1520) who married Elizabeth Hougham in Ash near sandwich but she is stuck on the line from there to Lilian.
In addition we reported in the last journal that George had received an email from Sue Raynor to say that she lived in The Cottage, Chapel Lane, St Margaret’s at Cliffe (between Dover and Deal) and that she had been researching the house’s history. She believed that Richard Solly owned the building in 1795 and left it to his son, Richard Heaton Solly, who then sold it to Elizabeth Arnold nee Burville. She has also traced some graves in the churchyard. Both Richard Sollys appear on Sue Solly’s tree.
Peregrine Solly has written articles in the last few editions of the journal about his Solly ancestors, in particular the three Richard Sollys from Sandwich who lived in the 1700s and 1800s. They are also on Sue Solley’s tree and the first is shown at the bottom of the tree overleaf.
George Solly is busy helping his wife who has had surgery so I have tried to piece together all this, along with information from a book by JR Planche called A Corner of Kent which was published 1864. I also have some information supplied by George.
Sue’s tree, being the largest source of data seemed a good place to start. It consists of several thin A4 and larger pieces of paper stuck together. On the reverse side one of them is a letter from an aeronautical company in Crawley dated 1964; I moved to Crawley, in 1972 aged 9, so was very interested to see this. The letter is for marketing purposes to another unnamed company. Also of interest to me were the notes on the classification of the plant kingdom as I studied some botany at university. And there are various other bits and pieces on the backs of the trees. The tree itself is, as Sue says, very hard to read and impossible in some places. It shows several of her lines but on the Solly line it starts with Peter Solly of Hodone (will dated 1494/1495) and ends the children of Richard Solly of Faversham and his wife Sarah Murton who were born from 1793. However, enviably, the furthest back ancestor on a different line is Robert de Septraus who died around 1180.
Only Stephen Solly the elder, and his 3x great-grandson Stephen Solly, son of John Solly are described as ‘of Pedding’ on Sue’s large tree. However we believe that the house and land was passed down through the generations between. Jane Pagan has recently visited the house, Great Pedding Farm, with two of her grandsons and was lucky enough to meet the current owners who invited them in to look round.  She says ‘there is a panel with the initials of our ancestor, a lovely house and such an experience.’ Sue sent a photo of the panel which unfortunately isn’t good enough to publish but you can see the photo of the house with Sue and her grandsons in front of it.

Great Pedding Farm, with member Jane Pagan and her grandsons standing in front.

Great Pedding Farm, with member Jane Pagan and her grandsons standing in front.

The Solly Family Tree

We knew about the panel Jane saw and details of it were published in our journal in 2001. It is part of a ‘host cupboard’ and would have been set across the angle of the wall to provide a cupboard to hold the host that the a priest had blessed on his previous visit. It was most likely in the house in Wingham where ‘John of Wingham, will 1661’, on the tree on page 21, lived and was taken to the house at Pedding by his wife Margaret after he died. As Jane says it has the initials of John and Margaret’s children Stephen, Elizabeth, Francis, Richard, Susan, Thomas, Mary and Martha are carved onto it. It is dated 1665, and is considered part of the same ‘job of work’, as a screen that was used to separate part of the bedchamber for private prayer. This was, and may still be, in the Lion Inn at Ash. The house was sold to John Lynch, Dean of Canterbury in 1748 as shown on chart on the previous page.
The cottage that Sue Rayner lives in in St Margaret’s at Cliffe is on land bought in 1730 by Richard Solly, who was the son of the Richard Solly shown at the bottom of the tree on the previous page. He then left it to his son Richard Heaton Solly when he died in 1789.
Note: The Solly surname is sometimes recorded as Solley or Sollye. In this article it is spelt Solly throughout.