Sowlley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Sowlley reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sowlley 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 Sowlley family

The surname Sowlley 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 Sowlley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sowlley 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 Sowlley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sowlley 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 Sowlley family name include Sola, Soul, Soule, Sole, Sooley, Soole, Solley, Sollee, Soully, Sully, Soley, Solney and many more.

Early Notables of the Sowlley family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Sowlley family to Ireland

Some of the Sowlley 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 Sowlley family

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 Sowlley family to immigrate 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


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