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

SAUL Co-ordinator's Report November 1993

by John Slaughter

As she has her hands full at the moment with the Junior Section, Rosemary has asked me to prepare the co‑ordinator's report for this journal. Let me introduce myself. As well as being the Projects Co­ordinator I am also a sub‑co‑ordinator for the SAUL surname. As a sub‑co­ordinator, I undertake the charting of the name for a specified county or area. The Society is very keen to enlist sub‑co­ordinators for all our surnames as the size of the task is too vast to be undertaken by only one person. If anyone is interested in assisting in this way, we would be more than happy to hear from them. 

My interest is the SAULs in Norfolk and Lincolnshire. Don has speculated in earlier journals that the village of SALLE (pronounced SAUL) in Norfolk could be one of the origins of the SAUL name. If this is so, then it must be highly likely that at least some of the Norfolk SAULs will have their origins in the county and it will be interesting to see as research progresses whether we can add weight to this argument.

 I am a descendant of the SAULs from Mundesley and you may have seen my article in Soul Search No 4, describing my difficulties of identification. Most of my information on the Norfolk SAULs relates to the 17th and 18th century and early 19th century. What is interesting is that although Norfolk covers a large area, the vast majority are concentrated in the north­east portion of the county. If you were to draw a line from Sheringham to Norwich and then out to Great Yarmouth, you would find you had most of them within this area. The village of SALLE would fall outside this area but only just. It is also interesting to note that in earlier records the surname is more commonly spelt SALL and does not settle down to the spelling we know today until at least the 19th century and even then examples of the SALL spelling can be found. This is perhaps not surprising as it is only in recent times that SALLE has acquired the E on the end. The village itself is an extraordinary place and is well worth an article on its own. I will see what I can do for a later journal.

Because of the proximity to the sea a number of SAULs became mariners. I would imagine that this occupation would lead to a higher level of mobility and some may have wandered up and down the coastal area to other fishing villages and maritime ports. It was this thought that led me to suggest that perhaps some of the Lincolnshire SAULs had come from Norfolk which is only separated by the Wash.

I took a brief look at the 1988 IGI and found 16 pages of SAUL. Where did they all come from?

I have received a very impressive family tree from Mary Boulton who has charted the SAULs at Sibsey, Lincs and their descendants. The chart measures 8 feet 3 inches by 2 feet. It includes many photographs of people and places and, most interesting of all, a newspaper obituary on the death of Mrs Lucy Hannah SILLS (nee SAUL) who died at Skegness in 1927 aged 83. The obituary includes the claim that she was a direct descendant of Col. John Saul who received the freedom of Kings Lynn for defending Crowland Abbey during the Civil War. The History of Kings Lynn by H.J. Hitter published 1907 reveals that Col. John Saul was "a worthy gentleman" who captured Crowland Abbey twice for the King, was hanged as a rebel at the Tuesday Market Place, Kings Lynn in 1650.

If anybody has any information on the Norfolk and Lincolnshire Sauls which they have not yet made available to the Society, I would be most grateful if this could be sent direct to me

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