By Tony Storey

This article was published in the December 2022 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

Sewell members will already be aware that Ian Sewell, our Sewell co-ordinator, has stepped down from the post. We wrote to all the Sewells asking if they could offer any assistance in the short term and we have had several replies, one of which was from PHILIP LLOYD of Manchester, who writes as follows:

“Regarding the Sewells, my interest is in the Manchester area, particularly Hulme and
the Deansgate area of the town. The SEWELLs, NEAVEs and SIMPSONs are very much bound up with the history of Great Bridgewater Street Wesleyan Chapel, now beneath the Great Northern Railway Company’s Goods Warehouse!
A ‘souvenir’ of the Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School includes a tribute to John Sewell, who was admitted as a scholar in 1812. In 1823 he became a teacher and by 1828 he was also the school librarian. He was the musical conductor from 1837 until 1876, when he became supernumerary conductor and a trustee of the Chapel.
Just for interest, I looked up the Surname Atlas of 1881 to check the various names that the Sole Society covers. I was astonished to see that the number of SEWELLs is more than four times that of any of our other names. Congratulations to Ian Sewell for undertaking the task for so long.”

Philip has sent in a chart of fifty individuals, all descendants of James Sewell (1776-1838) of Hulme, Manchester, which will be added to our database as needed.
As Philip says, the Sewells are both numerous and widely spread and therefore no easy task for anyone to handle alone. Ideally we would like to put together a small team to handle research and enquiries, which would be on a geographical basis. After all, many hands make light work! If that isn’t something you want to get involved in, there is another way you can help us.
In the early years of the Sole Society when the Internet was young, we used to attract new members by placing a monthly advertisement in one or more family history magazines. It seemed to work at first, but later when we asked our new members how they got to hear of us, many told us that they hadn’t seen the advertisement. In fact they had merely Googled on their surname and found themselves reading an article in our excellent journal, Soul Search.
My concern is that without a co-ordinator to drum up contributions to the journal, the Sewell profile in particular might diminish. We need to keep Soul Search interesting and vibrant for all our names and this is particularly important in the current climate.
If you are able and willing to help we would like you to tell us about any notable events, particularly involving Sewells, that you come across in your travels. Old books, magazines, local newspapers etc can be a good source for an article in Soul Search. There might be the usual birth and marriage announcements and obituaries, perhaps reports of criminal proceedings, advertisements and notices of the sale of property and households. You could visit your local library or record office or just trawl the Internet from the comfort of your home. As you know, we issue three journals each year so there are no deadlines to worry about. If you don’t want to write it yourself but find something that you think would make a good article, just send it to me or our editor, Rosemary, and we’ll do the rest. I hope I’m not asking too much. Any little help would be greatly appreciated.