Show ContentsSoule History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Soule is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Soule family lived in Derbyshire. Their name, however, is a reference to Subligny, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Early Origins of the Soule family

The surname Soule was first found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. They were descended from a noble who accompanied King William whose home in Normandy was at Subligny near Avranche. Richard Subligny was Bishop of Avranches. They acquired considerable estates in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset by marriage with the Painells, but their main estates were at Newton Solney which later became Soley, and Sola.

"The men of Sole," according to Wace, were conspicuous at the battle of Hastings, "striking at close quarters, and holding their shields over their heads so as to receive the blows of the hatchet." The fief of Soules was held of the Honour of St. Lo at the time of the Conquest; but was soon afterwards granted to the chapter of Bayeux. Under Henry II., there was a William de Soules who held three knight's fees in Normandy; two of them in the Comte of Mortaine. [1]

Early rolls give a widespread use of the name and its many variants: William de la Sole was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for Sussex in 1207; Thomas atte Sole was listed in Surrey in 1294; Hamo de Soles was found in Kent records in 1242; Osbert Sole was found in the Curia Regis Rolls for Norfolk in 1203; Walter Sole in Cambridgeshire in 1207; and Godfrey Osbert le Sol in the Hundredorum Rolls for Essex in 1274 and later again the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1275. [2]

The Kentish branch of this name (of whom John de Soles bought Betshanger in 1347) derived it from the manor of Soles (Domesday Book) in the parish of Nonington. This family was in early times most powerful in Scotland, where it gave its name to the barony of Soulistoun - now Saltoun - in East Lothian. Ranulph de Soulis witnesses a Stirling charter of David I.: and either he, or one of his successors, is styled Pincerna Regis. They were frequent benefactors to Newbottle Abbey and other monasteries; and " their power," says Sir Walter Scott, "extended over the South and West Marches, where they appear to have possessed the whole district of Liddesdale, with five rich baronies in Roxburghshire.[1]

Early History of the Soule family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Soule research. Another 270 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1281, 1291, 1300, 1302, 1318, 1595 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Soule History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Soule Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Soule family name include Sola, Soul, Soule, Sole, Sooley, Soole, Solley, Sollee, Soully, Sully, Soley, Solney and many more.

Early Notables of the Soule family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • George Soule (c. 1595 - 1679), a Pilgrim and servant aboard the Mayflower

Soule Ranking

In the United States, the name Soule is the 4,763rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3] However, in France, the name Soule is ranked the 4,531st most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Soule family to Ireland

Some of the Soule family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Soule migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Soule family to immigrate North America:

Soule Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Soule (1595-1679), who arrived in Plymouth, Mass in 1620 aboard the ship "Mayflower", servant to Edward Winslow [5]
  • William Soule, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [5]
Soule Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Soule, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749 [5]
  • Francis Soule, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749 [5]
Soule Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J Soule, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • Cornelius Soule, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • G W Soule, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • S Soule, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • W B Soule, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Soule migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Soule Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Timothy Soule U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Soule (post 1700) +

  • Nathan Soule (1790-1860), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York
  • John P. Soule (1828-1904), early American photographer and publisher in Boston, Massachusetts and later in Seattle, Washington
  • Micky Lee Soule (b. 1946), American musician
  • Andy Soule (b. 1980), American bronze medalist Nordic skier at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver
  • George Soulé, American songwriter, singer, drummer, record producer and studio engineer
  • George Wilberforce Soulé (1849-1922), American businessman, founder of Soulé Steam Feed Works, descendant of another George Soule, the Mayflower servant and settler
  • Silas Stillman Soule (1838-1865), American radical abolitionist and Kansas Territory Jayhawker anti-slavery militant, close friend of John Brown and Walt Whitman
  • Pierre Soulé (1801-1870), American politician and diplomat, United States Senator from Louisiana in 1847 and (1849-1853)
  • Olan Soule (1909-1994), American character and voice actor, best known as the first television animation voice of Batman from 1968 to 1984
  • Jeremy Soule (b. 1975), American composer of soundtracks for film, television and video games, best known for his work in The Elder Scrolls series
  • ... (Another 31 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X on Facebook