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

SAUL Co-ordinator's Report - November 97

By John Slaughter



Nearly all the SAULs in Northants have their origins at Byfield. The earliest SAUL family there was William and Merey Saul who married at Byfield on l7 April 1714. They had eight children baptised there between 1715 and 1735 and nearly all the later SAULs at Byfield can be traced back to this family. The second son of William and Mercy was William who married Elizabeth Burbridge at Byfield on 10 February 1743. It is almost certain that they are the William and Elizabeth who had eight children baptised at Priors Marston, War. between 1745 and 1761. There were still SAULs at Priors Marston at the time of the 1851 census.

William and Mercy had been joined at Byfield by another SAUL family by 1724 when Jane baptised her son John. There are some later descendants of this family at Byfield but generally they appear to have drifted away by the second half of the 18th century.

Before William's marriage in 17l4, the only earlier SAUL entry in the Byfield parish registers is the marriage of Thomas Saul of Horley, Oxon. to Mary Gilks on 22 March 1699. This 1ed me to look at the charts that had been compiled by Rosemary Bailey of the Horley SAULs. I knew that William was born around 1685 and duly found a William Saul baptised there on ?0 March 1685, the son of John. As the Horley records do not appear to contain any further evidence of what became of William, it is a reasonable assumption that he is our Byfield patriarch. It is interesting to speculate that James may be a close relation of William but so far no evidence has been identified of James's origin.



We have identified above a SAUL family who crossed the border into Warwickshire from a neighbouring county. There is, however, a significant number of other SAULs in the county with a good number at Leamington Spa. Pauline Saul's late husband was a descendant of those at Leamington and Pauline had much research material covering not only Leamington but also other Warwickshire places. She had hit a snag with a William who according to the 1851 census was born at Teachbrook, War. This is thought to be Bishops Tachbrook which is only a few miles outside Leamington but no SAULs were recorded in the parish registers. I decided to revisit the problem.

The SAULs at Leamington can be traced back to three family groups.

1) John and Ann whose first child Hannah was baptised at Leamington on 30 June 1811. Pauline's research indicated that this couple had an earlier child James baptised at Lillington War. on 5 July l809 and who was buried at Leamington on 12 March 1814. No evidence of the marriage between John and Ann could be found at Leamington and given that when John was buried at Leamington on 14 January 1848 his age was given as 69 years he would have been about 33 years when Hannah was baptised. The likelihood therefore was that John and Ann had come to Leamington around 1810 with a young family.

2) Thomas and Mary whose first child baptised at Leamington was Mary Ann on 28 November 1813. Pauline had established that their marriage had taken place at Cubbington, War. on 4 June 1811 and a child, Henrv, had been baptised there on 18 May 1812. Thomas was buried at Leamington on 28 May 1837 aged 51 years so his year of birth would have been around 1785. Speculation suggests Thomas and Mary went to Leamington around 1812 or 1813.

3) The aforementioned William who married Charlotte Carter at Leamington on 12 March 1827. The 1851 census gave William's age as 45 so he appeared to have been born around 1806. He could have been one of the early children of John and Ann at (1) above but there was the problem of the Teachbrook birth place.

To help make sense of this, it is necessary to know something of the history of Leamington. I found a book in the Warwick record office titled "The speculative development of Leamington Spa 1800-1830" by O.J. Arnison. In 1801, Leamington was a small agricultural village with a population of 315. By 1831 the population had risen to 6269, by 1841 to 12,812 and by 1851 to 15,723. They had built what we would now call a new town. The first stone was laid on 20 September 1808 and the main periods of development were between 1808 and 1815, and 1819 to 1835. Local newspapers played an important part of informing potential entrepreneurs of the economic opportunities at Leamington, and the Warwick Advertiser was circulated to all the towns in War. and neighbouring counties. It therefore seems that our John and Thomas arrived in Leamington in the early years of the town's development.

The advantage I have over Pauline is that I have information on the SAULs in neighbouring counties. Amongst these, I found a family at Horley, Oxon. that appears to exactly fit the bill. The parents are Thomas and Hannah Saul and amongst their children is John baptised in 1781 and Thomas baptised in 1786. John married an Ann and had children baptised at Horley, Sarah in 1804 and William in 1806. No further entries appear in the Horley registers that seem to relate to John and Thomas, so it appears they moved away. Though no direct evidence has been found to date to prove the connection, the fit is so perfect that it would be extraordinary if this was not the case. The only slight doubt is why William gave his place of birth as Teachbrook and not Horlev. The evidence indicates that the family moved when William was only a few years old and perhaps they moved to Teachbrook first. William may simply not have known where he was born and assumed it to be the place he first remembered.



I mentioned in my Co-ordinators Report in Soul Search (Vol. 2, No. 1) of the results of my research of the SAULs at Evenlode, Glos. and discovered that the founder of the branch had come from Banbury, Oxon. The only other SAULs that 1 have found in Glos. of any significance are to be found at Oddington in the l8th century, a village only a few miles from Evenlode and close to the Oxon. border. The founder is Richard Saul who married Elizabeth Humphries at Oxford in 1727 and described as of Milton-under-Wvchwood, Oxon. at the time.



We have seen how the story so far shows that all roads appear to lead back to Oxfordshire. Rosemary has produced many charts for the SAULs at Horley and Banburv where we can find them in residence from the earliest registers in the 1500s. The Protestant Tax Returns for 1641/2 show SAUL/SAULEs not only at Horley but also at Drayton, Great Bourton, Little Bourton and Swalcliffe. Reference to a map will show that these places are all within a few miles of Banbury. It is very much beginning to look that the Banbury area is the source of the SAULs in this part of the country. Whether there is an Oxfordshire origin for the name of SAUL is however unclear. It could be that a few SAULs or perhaps just one moved to the area from elsewhere and flourished. We would need to look at some very early records to throw any further light on that. It will be interesting to see if we can tie any more of the SAULs in other parts of Oxfordshire and the neighbouring counties back to the Banbury area.

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