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


By George Solly

This article was originally published in the December 2012 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society

The SOLLY Crest

At our recent Annual Gathering and AGM, our speaker Michael Gandy asserted that all of us were either Angles, Saxons and Jutes who arrived on these shores 1500 hundred years ago. Having been born to a German mother I always considered myself to be an ‘Anglo Saxon-Saxon’ but a Viking ...?!

I have actually been working on a Viking line going back almost two millennia  ending up in Scandinavia it goes like this:

Going back to the 13th generation of my line of Sollys, Stephen Solley the Younger, (1520? – 1590) married Elizabeth Hougham (1526 – 1556) in 1547. Elizabeth’s great-great grandfather was Richard de Hugham of Ash, Prior of Dover in 1350.

The Houghams trace their own ancestry back to Robert de Hougham a knight in the army of William the Conqueror, when the Normans invaded England, and his grandfather was William de Averanche of Normandy.

Hougham (however spelt) was a Saxon name meaning ‘Home on a Hill’ and Averanche is a Norman name connected with this family.  Hasted1 confirms this saying that the Houghams were a branch of the Averanches. The Huffams / Houghams / de Hougha / etc. tree is well documented.  Work by Marian Hurley Pratt2, and cross references by Planché3 and Suckling4 throw up interestingly name antecedents such as Ansfred Goz II, Ansfred the Dane, Rollo Thurstien,  Hrollanger, Rognwald (living about 870 in Norway), Egdir Skulasson (548), King Norr Thorrasson in Alfheim, King in Kvenland Snaer Jokilsson (living 275 in Finland) right back to King Fornjotor of Kvenland born about 160  in Finland.

The Normans were descended from Danish and Norwegian Vikings who were given feudal overlordship of areas in northern France – the Duchy of Normandy – in the 10th century. So by proving a Norman connection to the Sollys via the Houghams we also, by default, have a Jute connection (present day Danes) and so on back to Norwegians and Finns.

This tree I am working on is a bit patchy and unreliable to date, but it does highlight what Michael Gandy said about us all being related to Angles, Saxons and Jutes! 


[1] The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9, page 452, by Edward Hasted, 1800

[2] Hugham or Huffam of Kent, by Marian Hurley-Pratt published Utah circa 1952

[3] A Corner of Kent, by JR Planche, various mentions, pages 42, 22, 390 etc.

[4] Forgotten Past, being notes of the families of Tyssen, Baker, Hougham, and Milles of 5 centuries, by F. H. Suckling, London: George Bell and Sons, 1898.

Pedigree of the Family of Hougham by Authur Hougham, 1943

Scandinavian Saga by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) as researched by Robin Young, 2006