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

SEWELL Co-ordinator's Report December 2005

by Diana Kennedy  


First I have to start with an apology. In the August edition of Soul Search we printed a picture of The Sewell family home at Pingelly. This was sent to me by an enquirer researching his Norfolk family and I wrongly attributed this picture to his family. It is in fact the house built by member Glennis Sewell’s great great grandfather, whose family came from Essex. I apologise to Glennis for the misrepresentation as I had no idea at the time that it was connected to her family.


John Sewell’s Great Grandparents, Frederick & Emily SewellWe welcome four new members to the Sole Society with an interest in the Sewell name, John Sewell, Robert Sewell, Margaret Paine and Sharon Reid. The first of these is John Sewell who has traced his Langham (Rutland) family back to William Sewell (1765-1840). John believes William married Elizabeth Revell on 31st October 1806, and his parents were John Sewell (1715-1781) and Vartua Mary Hawgood who John married on the 17th October 1745, although so far John has not been able to verify these facts. John has sent the accompanying photograph of his great grandparents Frederick and Emily Sewell. Frederick was born in Langham in 1850 and his wife Elizabeth Emily nee Smith was born in 1858. They married in 1877 and raised eight children. Frederick died in 1919 and Elizabeth in 1930 and they are both buried in Egleton village (near Oakham) churchyard.


Margaret Paine and her daughter are researching their family tree and came to a stop with Henry Sewell and his father John. Henry was born in 1822 in Felstead and married Harriet Dummert in 1855 at St George in the East. Henry’s father was given as John a farmer. John was born about 1795 in St Pancras, father Charles. Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell had in his records, Henry and his siblings, with parents John and Elizabeth but had been unable to find John’s parents in the 1841 census. The enquiry from Margaret now explains why they were missing. Unfortunately we still cannot find John in London.


Sharon Reid found our address from Genes United and asked if we could help. She knew that her father Thomas Cleugh Sewell had a brother Eric, born in the 1920’s and their father was a George Sewell married to Jean. Sharon thought they were born in England and brought up in Glasgow. I could find no records for Thomas or Eric in our GRO indexes. Sharon later wrote to say she had been to the local registrars and found both Eric James and Thomas Cleugh Sewell, both born in Glasgow, and their parents were George Herbert Walker Sewell and Jane Randall nee Cleugh. The grandparents of Thomas and Eric were James Walker Sewell and Ethel Renee Forrest. We did have James Walker born 1868 in our Durham records, the son of George Sewell and Jane, with their three other children in the 1871 census. George was born in Durham and was a farmer and butcher and married Jane Walker on the 10th July 1855 at Houghton Le Skerne. Their son James Walker married Ethel in Wandsworth area in 1899.


The last few months have brought a number of enquiries and interesting pieces of information and new contacts for members. Jo Thompson wrote on behalf of her friend Gill who lives in Mallorca. Gill’s maternal grandmother Florence Mary Sewell is descended from William Payne Sewell born 1777, in Norfolk. This is the same family that member Diana Sewell is researching. Diana has now been in touch with Gill and exchanged addresses and information.


Alford Jarrett from Australia sent me his wife’s family tree. Her Sewell grandparents lived in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Looking through the tree he sent I noticed that one of his daughters was Ruth who married a Tindale. By coincidence member Prue Webster and I had been trying to get in touch with Ruth Tindale without success. Ruth had written to us some time ago asking for information. Since then we had more information for her as well, another descendant, Douglas Sewell. Prue, Douglas and Alford are all descended from William Sewell (1798-1877) who married Maria Needham in 1819 in Nottingham. Many of their ancestors were connected to the Nottinghamshire lace industry, before emigrating to Australia. Prue has now been in touch with Alford and exchanged information.


Lisa Sewell from America is trying to find her English links. Her grandfather Cedric W Sewell died in 1965 in Colac Australia. Lisa thought that two of her ancestors were Sarah Bull and Thomas Murcott Sewell, a school teacher in America. I asked Australian member Bev Hendy if she could help. Bev kindly went to the record office in Sydney and found a lot of information for Lisa. Cedric Whilton Sewell was born in 1890 and died aged 75years in 1965 Colac; his parents were Thomas Murcott Sewell and Sarah Amelia. Thomas Murcott Sewell married a Sarah Amelia Bull in 1876. Sarah Amelia died 1900 aged 44 and Thomas in 1921 age 68. Bev also found on the shipping records Thomas M Sewell who arrived in Australia in July 1876 on the Whampoa. The parents of Thomas Murcott Sewell were William Sewell and Elizabeth Murcott from Northamptonshire. I next asked Northamptonshire co-ordinator Ruth Pringle if she could help. Ruth found Thomas Murcott Sewell was born in 1853 in Daventry registration district. However Ruth could not find a baptism for Thomas in the area. However she did find on ‘Family Search’ an Elizabeth Murcott baptised 30th July 1823 at Whilton parents Thomas and Elizabeth Murcott. Ruth also found a William Sewell born 1820 in Wappenham who emigrated and died in Franklin, Idaho, and wondered if this William is related to Lisa’s family.


Following from my correspondence with member Chris Bartlett who I mentioned in the October edition of Soul Search, I heard from David Wickeberg Howden who is also descended from the same Norfolk family starting at the marriage of Richard Sewell to Mirabel in 1617 at Redenhall. David sent me his family tree that included a branch that went to Norway, as well as several names that have helped me to combine records in the Norfolk files. However Chris says there is still much work to be done on this tree as many of the earlier records were taken from ‘East Anglian Pedigrees’ and need to be verified. Chris tells me that many of the Sewell’s were bailiffs of Stanfield Hall Manor.


Bill Tickle enquired about his wife’s line. Her grandmother was Ellen May Sewell born in 1881 in Turville Bucks to John and Sarah Ann Sewell. I had this family from the 1891 census together with Ellen May’s six siblings. I also had from the 1861 census John’s parents David and Charlotte and their family together with some IGI baptisms. However I have not been able to track down the parents of David who was born about 1807 in Turville.


Member Tony Foster wrote to say he had a birth certificate he bought in error, that of William Sewell born 1857, parents William Ambrose Sewell and Ann nee Blyth. While searching the 1871 census he found one of his wife’s ancestors Joseph R Sewell age 27 and his family together with a brother William Sewell aged 14. This was a surprise to Tony as Joseph’s father Robert had died in 1853. I searched for Tony on the 1861 census and located Joseph R Sewell as the son of Mary Ann Layland, together with another son William Layland aged 4. The most likely explanation is that Mary Ann, the wife of Robert and mother of Joseph had remarried after the death of her husband and the census enumerator when told William was Joseph’s brother assumed his name was also Sewell. Tony sent me the spare certificate and I have been able to send a copy to member Thelma Cannon, who is descended from William Ambrose Sewell’s family. Thelma is pleased as it has helped to fill a gap in the children of William Ambrose and Ann.


Alan Tennuchi asked if we could help with William Sewell who married Ann Hammond about 1815, one of their six children was William born in 1847 and married to Ann Langton in 1873 in Knaresborough. This was the first Knaresborough enquiry that Yorkshire co-ordinator Mike Sewell had received and he did not know of anyone else researching that area. Mike found the family on the 1881 and 1891 census but could not take Alan further back, although he did find a few more Sewell’s born in Knaresborough to add to his records.


Karen Bida’s great grandfather Joseph Sewell died in 1954 West Ham aged 87. He was married in 1914 to an Amelia A Bull. His parents were Joseph Sewell an agricultural labourer and Mary Witney. Karen thinks it was possible that Joseph junior was registered as Joseph Witney, and only later used the Sewell name. She is also unable to find a marriage for Joseph Sewell and Mary Witney. The 1901 census shows Joseph Sewell’s birth place as High Easter Dunmow. Essex co-ordinator Brian Sewell found a Joseph Witney on the 1881 census aged 21years born Fairstead and only one Joseph Sewell born 1862 Dunmow district. Neither of these fitted exactly to Karen’s Joseph. Brian also looked for Joseph senior in the censuses but again found several possibilities. Karen will need to buy some certificates to sort it out.


Sarah Spink, who regularly sends me snippets of information, mostly from Cambridge, asked if I was able to help. She is helping to transcribe the Wills from East Ilsley, Berkshire and had come across a Sewell reference. John Sewell was a witness to the Will dated 1607 of Martin Morland, a clerk and Parson. Did I have any information on John Sewell?  We have very few Sewell Berkshire records and I have been unable to help Sarah.


Our Sole Society Secretary Bob Sheldon sent me three Sewell’s he found in the KFHS CD-Rom of Parish registers. First the burial in 1946 of John Alfred Sewell aged 59 at Hastingleigh, who died at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. I was able to trace John Alfred as son of John who was born in 1860 in Islington. His father was also John born 1815 in Essex. The second entry was the marriage of Emma Sewell a widow, daughter of Charles Braden to George Clover in 1881, Aldington. Working back I found on ancestry.co.uk the marriage of Emma Braden to Charles Alexander Sewell in 1875 at Greenwich. On the third entry I have been unable to add any more details. It was the baptism at Aldington of Richard William Sewell 2 July 1967 son of Gordon Victor Harry (prison officer) and Joan Sewell.


In the August Soul Search I mentioned a Cambridge family given to member Sarah Hay; this was the children of Alfred and Ada Sewell. Member David Taylor told me that this was the Alfred who was married to Ada Haynes about 1868 and he was the son of John Sewell and Anne Pwak who married in 1838. John’s parents were James Saywell and Hosanna Stokes. I had most of the information on record but had not connected them.


St Boniface church in Bonchurch, Isle of WightDavid Sewell brother of Brian sent me details of St Boniface church in Bonchurch, Isle of Wight (IOW) that he had visited, in which there are several mentions of the Sewell name.


The IOW was home to a large distinguished Sewell family, originally from Cumbria. Most notable was Henry Sewell the first Premier of New Zealand. David found a stained glass window presented by the Rev. W. Sewell DD. The Rev. William was a clergyman who founded Radley College and was a brother of Henry. A sister Elizabeth Missing Sewell (1816-1906) was a novelist and educationalist who lived at Ashcliff in the Pitts, where she kept a school with her artist sister Ellen.


Ellen drew several sketches of the church and Elizabeth also played a leading part in the founding of the village school and later St Boniface School for Girls in Ventnor. Another brother, James was Warden of New College, Oxford for 43 years and Vice Chancellor of Oxford University for 4years.


Pulpit that commemorates the men of Bonchurch who died in the 1914-1918 war including an H.E SewellAlso in the church, David found the pulpit that commemorates the men of Bonchurch who died in the 1914-1918 war including an H.E Sewell. This I believe was Henry Edward who was born in India in 1875 the grandson of Premier Henry. Henry Edward was a Major in the Royal Garrison Artillery who died in January 1918 and is buried in Pas de Calais. His father was also a Henry, born in the IOW and who served in the Indian Civil Service.


All of our co-ordinators have as usual been busy working on the records. Midlands co-ordinator Mike Hines has been busy sorting out the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire family trees. Ruth Pringle has continued to research the Northamptonshire area and has found quite a few links with other counties particularly Rutland, Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire. For some time she has been helping member Anne Gould to find Millicent Sewell, who married a Maycock in Northants. Ruth has found several Maycock’s in the Congregationalists records in Byfield.


Sarah Hay is also continuing to add to the Cambridge records. Although mainly researching Essex, Pam Rose has offered, time permitting, to help with the West Country records.

Eric Sewell, one of our longstanding members, who has worked so hard on the records for Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham, has decided to give up as co-ordinator for the area. He will not be idle however as he is researching the area where he lives. I should like to thank him for all his hard work and help and support in the past and I am sure we will continue to hear from him in the future. This will leave a huge gap and if anyone is able to help with the North East records I should love to hear from them.


There was a small turnout of Sewell researchers at the recent the Annual Gathering; it was a very interesting day with two excellent speakers. It was also worth going just to see Ian Sewell’s gigantic Family Tree. It hung down the wall and across the floor, measuring 3.5metres in length. Can anyone beat it?


This morning just as I was about to send this report to Tim I saw in the paper a book review ‘Judge Sewall’s Apology’ by Richard Francis. Samuel Sewall was a judge at the Salem witch trials. Sewall was the only judge from the trial to apologise later for his part in the witch hunt. Much of the material for the book has come from the diaries he kept.


Finally I should like to thank all those who have sent me information for our records, in particular member Judy Wright who continues to send me large amounts of information on her own and another Sewell family.


I am hoping to make all the information into an article soon so will say nothing more at present.   


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