Sowley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Sowley is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sowley 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 Sowley family

The surname Sowley 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 IL, there was a William de Soules who held three knights' fees in Normandy; two of them in the Comte of Mortaine[1]

The Kentish family of this name (of whom John de Soles bought Betshanger in 1347) derived it from the manor of Soles (Domesday) 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 Sowley family

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

Sowley Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Sowley has been recorded under many different variations, including Sola, Soul, Soule, Sole, Sooley, Soole, Solley, Sollee, Soully, Sully, Soley, Solney and many more.

Early Notables of the Sowley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Sowley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Sowley family to Ireland

Some of the Sowley 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.

Migration of the Sowley family

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Sowleys were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: George Soule (1595-1679), who arrived in America on November 11, 1620 aboard the Mayflower; George and Alice Soley who settled in Virginia in 1663; Henry and Elizabeth Soley settled in Jamaica in 1774.



  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


Houseofnames.com on Facebook