Sowlly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Sowlly reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Sowlly family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sowlly 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 Sowlly family
The surname Sowlly 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. 
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. 
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.
Early History of the Sowlly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sowlly 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 Sowlly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Sowlly 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 Sowlly family name include Sola, Soul, Soule, Sole, Sooley, Soole, Solley, Sollee, Soully, Sully, Soley, Solney and many more.
Early Notables of the Sowlly family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Sowlly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Sowlly family to Ireland
Some of the Sowlly 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 Sowlly 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 Sowlly 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.
- 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
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)