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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report August 2012

by Diana Kennedy  




Two new members, to welcome to the Sole Society researching the Sewell name, Joseph Seawell and Joanne Boon. I have only just got in touch with Joseph so wait to hear about his line of research. Joanne is helping a friend who is interested in Anna Sewell the author of Black Beauty.


I have had some interesting enquiries and information over the last couple of months. I heard from Pat Cohen whose husband’s ancestors changed their name from Solomon to Sewill. One branch founded Sewill’s ‘Chronometer Makers to the Admiralty’. Joseph Sewill was born in 1813 and died 1895 and was based in Liverpool. Their advert reads that his Keyloss Repeating watches ‘Strike the Hours, Quarters and minutes at Wearers Pleasure’. The factory in Glasgow advertised watches from £2 to £105 and the company won World’s Fair Prize medals in London in 1862, Paris in 1867 and Philadelphia. in 1876. Joseph’s sons John and Frank continued the business and we are told their clocks and watches can still be bought today.


Sue Stephens is currently researching her Sewell line and sent off for the death certificate of a John Sewell thinking it was her great grandfather only to find it wasn’t. She asked if we would we be interested in it. The certificate is for John Sewell who died aged 40 in April 1890 in Islington. The certificate says he was a wheelwright's labourer and married to Emily. Sue’s grandfather was John Sewell, born in Moreton Pinkney, Northampton in 1852. He was a fireman and lived away from home, so that on the 1891 census his wife was wrongly described as a widow which led to the confusion of the death certificate. Sue later found him on the 1891 census as Fireman at the Sadlers Wells theatre and has now established that he died in 1895. However she is having difficulty tracing his early years as his mother, Frances, was unmarried on his baptism record. Strangely enough on his marriage certificate in 1874 to Caroline Harrison in St Pancras, his father is named as Joseph Sewell, but Sue says that it is also proving difficult to identify him. I also have not had much luck with John before 1881 or Frances Sewell and Moreton Pinkney does not appear in our records.


Valerie Carr in the USA is lucky enough to have found the ‘Sewell family Bible’; Valerie says that it is quite old and had been tucked into a bookcase for many years and largely forgotten.  The binding was in very poor condition so she was hesitant to turn too many pages.


A bookbinder who specialises in old books rebound it and added new covers, front and back.  While it was in his custody he had some friends in the bookbinding business look at it as he was having trouble determining its age; there are a few pages missing including the page where the date would be located.  However, they feel that the bible dates back to approximately 1704.  There are several inscriptions (some incomplete) inside the back cover of the bible.  Valerie has done a bit of research on the names, dates and places without much luck. 


If anyone recognizes them please let me know, they read:

The back cover of Valerie Carr's Bible 

Thomas L Bird?  1761
Thomas Sewell
born 7 June 18??
Christened at Lelilead (? Felstead) Church, Essex 

Hannah Grimble
born 13 September 18??
christened at Prince's St Chapel
married at Bromley Church, Middlesex

Thomas John Sewell
son of the above
born 9 Aug 1846 Brighton
christened 13 March 1847
at w. Lortanis(?) Chapel Lady Huntingdon's, North Street, Brighton


Priscilla Chatfield is looking for information about the Sewell families in Westmorland around the late 1700's - early 1800's. Her great, great grandparents, Thomas Jackson and Jane Sewell, emmigrated from Westmorland arriving in New York, on 2nd June 1830.


Their first child, Priscilla’s great grandfather, Samuel Robertson Jackson, was born at sea on 29th May 1830 and was named for the ship "Samuel Robertson". The Ship's Manifest listed both Thomas and Jane as aged 22. Thomas became a prosperous farmer near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He and Jane had seven children. Priscilla found family notes that say they were from Westmorland near Lake Windermere. She had located a marriage record for Jane Sewell and Thomas Jackson on the 3rd April 1830 at St. Michael's Church, Appleby. If accurate, Jane may have been seven months pregnant and if the Manifest is accurate, they were born about 1807/08. Death records place Jane at age 95 in 1898 and Thomas at age 81 in 1885. Jane's burial record in St. Luke's Episcopal Church includes a note by the minister saying that Jane was the niece of an English clergyman named Sewell.  Priscilla found two possible baptism records: Jane baptised 9th Sept 1810, St. Lawrence, Appleby to William Sewell and Margaret Robinson and Jane born 1802, baptised 21st October 1807 in Bolton to Thomas Sewell and Jane Richardson, in 1802 they lived in Westmorland.


I have also had correspondence with Nigel Sewell who came across something I mentioned in my coordinator's report April 2010 and was very interested to see his great-great grandparents Thomas (Henry) Sewell and Emily Bristow mentioned. Thomas Henry was the son of Henry, a tea dealer, and Caroline Sarah Greaves both from Yorkshire.  Henry's father was John Sewell, originally a joiner and later a tea dealer and shop owner. He appears in various directories and poll books for Leeds. Nigel is trying to trace the descendants of Thomas (Henry) and Emily. I had originally mentioned them as they had moved around the country quite a bit. Nigel told me that he had found they had twelve children in all.  Three went to Canada (Frederick George Greaves, Edward Walter, and Samuel Ernest) and one to Australia (Thomas St Albans). His great grandfather was Albert Victor Sewell who stayed in England, along with Henry, John Greaves and William Edwin. Nigel is not sure what happened to the four female children, Elizabeth Emily, Emma Jane, Emily Beatrice and Jane Anette. I managed to track down Jane Anette who married Henry Albert Bayntun (son of Henry) th August 1899, St Peter, Edmonton. In 1901 they were living in Edmonton with daughter Emily A. aged 10 months.


Henry was a house decorator and his brother Francis was living with them, but so far we have found nothing else about the other girls although Nigel thinks that Elizabeth Emily may have married John Isaac Warwicker in Reading in 1898. 


Former member Joan Kemp also came across our Sole website. She is descended from the Sewell/Saywell/Saywoll family who lived at Luffield Abbey, Bucks, in the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries. William Sewell who died in 1699 married Jane, they had a son William Sewell born 1646. His son, John Sewell born 1676, married Sarah Fouks in 1701 in Grafton Regis Northants. Joan is descended from one of their daughters, Martha Sewell who eloped in 1737 to marry Joseph Elliot at Radclive, Bucks. Joseph Elliot was later hung as a highwayman, on Northampton racecourse on 17th March 1748 and was buried the following day at Lillingstone Dayrell.


Our records, taken from Northants Marriage Licences, showed that John was married to Sarah Clifton in 1713. Joan was intrigued that John Sewell married Sarah Clifton since she had a Breeches Bible that gave a date for the death of 'Mother Clifton'. The Marriage Licences show that John was a widower, and possibly the entry refers to Sarah’s mother. 


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