The Book of Soden

 History of the  Soden Family 1164 - 1950



Diversity  and inclusiveness , so important today, have always been an integral part of the Soden family through the millennium in whatever country they find themselves. In the account following I intend to refer to Soden clergymen and Elders in the respective religious denominations.


UNITED KINGDOM     -   1538

According to Ronald Soden the earliest record  of the Sodens in the UK was 1164. From this period up to  the Reformation the religion practised by Sodens in England would have been Roman Catholicism.


In 1270 Canon Soudon  was made Canon of Lincoln [page 6]

In 1408 Nicholas de Soudon was ordained at Stone, in Staffordshire  [ page  8]


After the Reformation Soden families can be found as members of a number of denominations. Mainly, of course, is to be expected as members of the established state church , the Church of England or Anglican Church. Soden  families were also Quakers and Methodists. Presbyterians seemed to have been found in the United States and a small number in Scotland.


In the years 1477  to 1479 a Bro. Robert Sowdon was appointed Abbey Rent Collector, and he attended Magdalene College for which course of study his fees were paid. Robert became Canon of Oseney Abbey.


In the year 1606 George and Gregory Soden may well have been both priest and curate at Long Itchington [page 20]


In 1752  one James Soden, a successful alderman in Coventry , became a Presbyterian.

Ronald Soden tells us at the very outset his father was a clergyman , I believe, in the Anglican Church.


REPUBLIC OF IRELAND  1649  -  1950



The Sodens have been resident in Ireland since 1649. The initial residents were of the Established Church, i.e. the Church of England , later the Church of Ireland.

These Sodens can be found in the counties of Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Cavan Dublin and individual families in Westmeath, Cork and Londonderry.

Their origin is principally in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire having come to Ireland during the Cromwellian Settlement of 1649 onwards

The only and indeed most noteworthy Soden clergyman in the Church of Ireland was CLOTWORTHY SODEN.




This man strikes one as being indeed a controversial character. The name Clotworthy came from his maternal grandfather, Clotworthy Gowan, and appears periodically in the family till the 1900's. He became a protestant clergyman ,the only one as far as I know among the Irish Sodens and an avid government supporter in his parishes as detailed by the Rebellion Papers. He had one son,Clotworthy ,who died young at 22.


The unkind remarks of the duke of Bristol about Clotworthy give some indication of his standing among his contemporaries though the Torrens/Soden friction may go back to an earlier association between the two families in 1777 as church wardens in St.John's Abbey,Sligo. Clotworthy Snr. is buried at Kilcronaghan cemetery, Co. Sligo  in accordance with the demands of his will. Major George Wensley Clotworthy Soden is the last person to bear the name.





(1873 – 1929)


Records of the Colonial Office in the



Map of the Western Frontier between the Gold Coast and French West Africa,

By the Boundary Commission, 1901-03.


English Members : Major Watherston, Captain des Voeux, R.E. , Captain Soden, R.M. Fus.

French members: M. Delafosse ,le Capitaine Bouvet ,le Lieu

[Father of GWC Soden at Dunlaoire Harbour with a friend]

Profile of Major George Wensley Clotworthy Soden

Special Reserve of Officers and Provincial Commissioner of Ashanti

[Photograph of the settling of the Ashanti Agreement]



1873 Born in Dublin,Ireland.

1894/5 Joined 3rd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers as Second Lieutenant

1895/4 Promoted Lieutenant

1895/9 Obtained the Hythe Extra Certificate Musketry

1897/8 Promoted to Captain

1898/4 Obtained the P.S.Certificate

Attached to the following Regiments;

2nd North Staffordshire Regiment

1894-99 1st. Yorkshire Light Infantry

Welsh Regiment

Durham Light Infantry

King’s Liverpool Regiment

1899/5 Musketry Instructor to the 3rd Battalion Munster Fusiliers

1899/7 Inspector in the Gold Coast Constabulary

1900/9 Appointed the Travelling Commissioner of the Gold Coast Colony

1900/10-12 Commissioner of British Gaman

During the Ashanti Campaign of 1900 he was O(fficer) C(ommanding) British Gaman Detachment and held the only independent command of troops in Ashanti from that of Major-General Sir James Wilcox K.G.M.G. who commanded the Ashanti Field Force.

Granted the Ashanti Medal

1901/11-1903/5 Appointed one of the British Commissioners on the British/French Boundary Commission

1904/1-9 Commissioner of Ester Akin & Ewahu

1904/9-1905/4 Commissioner of Southern Ashanti

1905/11-1906/4 Delimited the boundary between the Gold Coast Colony and Ashanti

1906/4 Appointed Provincial Commissioner of Ashanti

1909/12 Temporarily retired.

Major G.W.C.Soden was seconded from the 3rd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers for Colonial Employment in July 1899 for a period of 5 years,and was again seconded in July,1904 for a further period of five years. He was transferred to the Special Reserve of Officers in September 1908 and was promoted to the rank of Major in March,1909.


He died 1929/10/4 and is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery,Dublin, plot F92.


[ Picture on the right: - TERENCE SODEN, son of  GWC Soden and direct descendant of Clotworthy Soden of Londonderry reading to Kristina and Carla Soden on his visit to our home in June 2000 with his wife, Jean, for the Soden Reunion in Sligo.]


I have come upon no other Sodens registered as Church of Ireland clergymen.






A JOHN SODEN married Easter Russell, a Quaker,in Dublin in St. Mary’s church,in 1732.

1689 .......

The Sodens of Sibford, The Soden Quakers of 1689 onwards............

See UK4, UK6, UK7 and UK Misc on this website as well as


Soden Tysoe Brailes Quakers.pdf

1732 JOHN SODEN and Easter Russel,publication
2nd June,1732
St.Mary's,Dublin ,
PRS,volume 12/RCBL
page 13

In the late 18th century many Sodens were   Quakers in Swalcliffe, Oxfordshire.


1760 : WILLIAM SODEN  of Ledwell, nr. Sandford St. Martin, Oxfordshire, married Hannah Matthews in Adderbury in 1782. Hannah was born on 23rd June 1758 in Adderbury, Oxfordshire. Their children were Ann 1783  -  1801 and George 1787 -1863.

Both William and his son, George were blacksmiths.  Both William and Ann were born at Sandford St. Martin, Oxfordshire. This area was predominantly Quaker in the 16th and 17th centuries.

[Source = Eileen Smythe, November, 2010]


Permanent Residents at Ettington Quakers Burial Ground
SUSANNAH SODEN, 31st day of the 12th month,1830                 aged 60 years
MARTHA SODEN,  12th day of the 2nd month,1831                 aged 68 years
JOSEPH SODEN, 15th day of the 12th month,1833                 aged 68 years/not in membership
LEWIS HALLEY SODEN, 30th day of the 3rd month,1874                 aged 71 years



1858     HANNAH SODEN , Tysoe,Warwickshire is mentioned frequently as the friend of Elizabeth Ashby, the mother of Joseph Ashby, the Quaker of Tysoe. She married a Frenchman, du Rouvray , anglicised to Rouvray and remained a good friend to Elizabeth during her difficult early years of motherhood.
                                Pages 3,ff....
                                Joseph Ashby of Tysoe, 1859-1919 by M.K.Ashby ,published 1974







FRANCIS SODEN ,(2nd January, 1802 - 1867)

Templevanny , Co. Sligo

Son of Francis and Amy Soden, Rowington, Warwickshire

Francis Soden , a Catholic ,was the first recorded member of the Soden family to be a teacher.

He was recommended by Fr. Richard Fitzmaurice , the priest of Keash for training in 1824. He had at this time the appointment for the school in Templevanny from Earl Kingston.

He is mentioned 2 years later as being in charge of the pay school in Templevanny ,in the parish of Drumrat with scholars paying 1/3d to 2/9d per quarter . The school itself was a house built from lime and stone for between £80-£90.

(Sources : History of Achonry , 1689-1818 by Liam Swords , page 182 & O'Hara Papers Ms. 20,285 & Commissioners of Irish Education Enquiry ,

1826-27 , XII pages 1310-1330.


‘.......Richard Fitzmaurice, parish priest of Keash, recommended for training in 1824,

Francis Soden, who had here appointment by Earl Kingston to the school of Templevanny.’

History of Achonry, 1689-1818

By Liam Swords,published 1997

Page 182

(See de Brun pp. 85,182,238,240,256.

Parliamentary Papers (1825) volume 12

Appendix 223,page 617 and

O’Hara Papers Ms. 20,285)


Parochial Returns for Sligo

Appendix no.22 to the Second Report

from Commissioners of Irish Education Enquiry H.C.1826-1827,

X11 pp. 1308-1330.



Roman Catholic

page no.1316

Parish Drumrat

Location Templevanny


Pay school 1/3 yo 2/9 per qtr.School house built from lime and

stone for £80 - £90.

Names of primary schools in different counties and their parishes:


Parish School Name in 1826

Drumcliffe Kilsellagh/Carney/Ballinful

St.John's Sligo Prison,Oakfield,Sligo Female,Clover Hil,Cabry Female,Upr. St.John's.

Ahamlish Mount Temple

Ballinasoden (Hibernian London)

London Hibernian Society

No return.

Related Reports:

Hibernian Society for Soldiers' Children/1844 (363) XLIII.155

page 427

The Sixth Report :Hibernian Society for Soldiers' and Sailors'

Children 1826-1827 (441) XIII/35

from Dingfelder/NL IR 372/d/38 (4 vols.) &

Irish Education Enquiry/NL IR 372/1/6 (2 vols.)

Soden © 2019


Ruins of the School at Templevanny, Keash, Co. Sligo, NW Ireland


TAB (Tithe Applotment Books)

Reel 93

Page 5

Diocese Achonry

Parish Toomour

Townland Templevanny

Name Francis Soden

Quantity 1acre

School Plot

Valuation 18s.



Francis Soden, the teacher mentioned above, was the great-great-grandfather of Mary Soden McNerney, now a resident in Leixlip, Co.Kildare on the banks of the River Liffey near Dublin and he belonged to the Soden branch of Templevanny, Co. Sligo , some of whom attended the Soden Reunion in 2000.


Francis Soden was born in Reading, England and employed as a teacher in the schoolhouse at Templevanny, now a ruin. He died Mary believes in 1867. This means the Sodens of Templevanny would have experienced the full blow of the Great Famine [1845-48] and the 1867 Fenian Insurrection. Francis had at least one child, a son, Francis Joseph Soden, [1842-1906], who became a Roman Catholic priest and worked in England. The family in Keash, Co. Sligo had a framed picture of him when Mary was a young girl. One of the parishes he served in was St. Mary’s, Euxton, England from which source his biography has been acquired.


Fr. FRANCIS JOSEPH SODEN , descended in a direct line from Francis and Amy Soden of Rowington, Warwickshire, the same line as that of Kenneth Gould, whose grandmother was Alice Soden, the subject of Ken’s novel, ‘ Time and Time Again’ published in 2009.


Francis Soden, the teacher in Templevanny, Co. Sligo was born in Rowington, Warwickshire, in 1802, the son of Francis and Amy Soden. Fr. Francis Joseph Soden, was born in Templevanny, Co. Sligo , the son of Francis Soden, national school teacher in the parish of Toomour. He was born in 1842 and died in England in 1906.

He was educated in his parish and then entered All Hallows Seminary in Drumcondra, Dublin where he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest for the English mission on 24th June, 1865.


He served in the 1860s in the Preston area, by 1870 he was serving at St. Patrick’s Liverpool and had moved to Wigan by 1875. In 1878 he became the priest-in-charge at Sacred Heart, Chorley and remained there till 1893 when he moved to Euxton. In 1896 moved to Mawdesley, Wigan and Southport till he was appointed priest-in-charge of St. Joseph’s Mission, Withnell in September, 1904. His health had greatly deteriorated and he died on 24th June, 1906 at the age of 64, the 41st anniversary of his ordination. He is buried in the graveyard at St. Chad’s Whittle on 27th June, 1906.

[Source: Archives of St. Marys , Euxton by Mary McNerney, Leixlip, Kildare, Ireland]




Birth of MICHAEL SODEN, a religious brother with the Roman Catholic Christian Brothers.

Michael was from the diocese of Achonry. He served in Stillorgan, South County Dublin from 1863 - 66. He was then transferred to St. Mary's in Leeds, England from 1865 - 71. He then served in Daingean, Co. Offaly from 1892 and died on 24th May, 1915 in Belcamp, Swords, North County Dublin. There is , however, no registered death in the GRO for this date, but rather a later one in 1919 for a Michael Soden. This may well be the same person as it often happened registration was not done immediately in those days.

[Information source was Fr. Pat Carolan, Inchicore, Dublin on 7th August, 2014]


The Catholic branch of the family has its earliest record in the 1821 Census of Ireland  for Cavan. Some of the members of these Cavan families were of course born as far back as 1750 and are linked through DNA analysis with the Sligo Sodens of Keash, Co. Sligo who are direct descendants of the Sodens of rowington, Warwickshire  through the teacher, Francis Soden. Rowington was strong Recusant  parish in the 16th and 17th centuries  i.e. Roman Catholic and anti Establishment Church {[Anglican Church}may well have come from Rowington, in Warwickshire which was known for its strong Recusant population during the English Reformation.

They are based mainly in the parishes of Lavey and Denn in the townlands of Aghadreenagh, Beaghy [Behy],Lattoghlohan, Lavey, Pottle[soden], Poles, ....


One Soden Roman Catholic clergyman from Cavan was


Patrick Soden,son of Patrick Soden and Catherine Cooke,

Pottlesoden,Denn,parish. He was educated at

St.Patrick's College,Cavan and Maynooth. He was ordained on 24 June,1889, was Curate  in Glangevlin (1889),     Doobally (1891),Swanlinbar (1899);PP in Killesher (1902),   PP,,VF Knockninny (1912) and PP,VG, in Manorhamilton (1915).

He died 20 July,1942.







22nd December, 1779

Ist Free Mason Lodge in Mohill, Co. Leitrim was founded by HENRY SODEN of Hill Street, Mohill but a number of Sodens from the Church of Ireland community belonged at one time or another to the Free Mason Movement in several towns.

The earliest on record was THOMAS SODEN of Sligo, a grandnephew of the first Thomas Soden of Grange, 1594-1705. He was enrolled in Lodge 530 in Sligo on 22nd December, 1779. This Lodge was cancelled in 1813.

JAMES SODEN enrolled as a member in Sligo 989, this Lodge closed though in 1835.

EDMUND SODEN joined Lodge 854 in Carrick-on-Shannon and in 1889

JOHN HENRY SODEN joined Lodge 76 in Longford.

It was John Soden of Hill Street, Mohill who founded the 1st Free Mason Lodge , Lodge 495, in Mohill, this.

[Source: Ms. Alex Ward, Curator, Grand Lodge Masons of Ireland, 17, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.]

Free Masons in Ireland -

Ms. Alex Ward, Grand Lodge of A.F. & A. Masons of Ireland, Molesworth St., Dublin 2. , 20th February, 1998








In his book ‘Times to Remember’ Wayne Salisbury recounts how, WILLIAM SODEN of Oregon, was taken prisoner by the Confederacy in Texas during the American Civil , 1861-65. While prisoner William had to visit the death bed of a sick relative. Being a member of his local Masonic lodge, he approached one of the sentries, whom he suspected of being a Mason, and got his ok to leave for a few days and visit his family member. The agreement for his punctual return for a few days had to be adhered to. He returned within his time allowance.


It is interesting to note that he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Sabine Pass, at which the Confederates successfully prevented the Union side from getting Texas. The Confederate leader at this engagement was Dick Dowling from Tuam in Co. Galway, Ireland. He owned a few pubs in Houston and at the outbreak of the Civil War he got command of the Davies Guard which with its expert use of artillery sank a number of Union ships and took over 350 prisoners.


Will Soden was one of them. William married Harriett Louisa Hayes , and set up his own carriage making shop at which trade he was qualified. He served as a town clerk from 1888 to 1906 . He then resettled in Edgeley , North Dakota at the age of seventy , to be near his two daughters. William died on 31st May , 1917 at 79 years of age as the result of a stroke. Harriett, or 'Hattie' as she was known , died on 25th August , 1917. They were married for 51 years.

( Source: Times to Remember by Wayne Salisbury, 1998)




Lutheran and Roman Catholic

Two Brave Germans 

With the German family of the same name Soden and von Soden no definite early link can be established with the English or Irish families. Certainly there are links for later in time in the late 18th century in England and in the 19th century in the USA. Several members of the German families have distinguished themselves in a number of areas, politics, economics, the church and academia.

I believe two in particular are worthy of mention for their bravery and self-sacrifice.


HANS FREIHERR VON SODEN , a German Lutheran Theologian [1881 – 1945] and the Roman Catholic priest, Fr. CARL OSKAR SODEN [1898 – 1943]

In the midst of all the hatred , bloodshed and violence of the pre-war years, one fine moment in this story was the meeting of the Brown Synod in Berlin in 1938. Dachau concentration camp had been open five years by then for opponents of the Nazi regime. Both Protestant and Catholic clergy were housed together for hard labour and death in Baracke 44. They prayed together. The theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Pastor Niemoller and others from the newly formed Confessional Church bravely objected to the use of the Aryan paragraph in the 1933 Constitution of the Lutheran Church. Amongst these others was HANS FREIHERR VON SODEN.

He was born in Dresden on the 4th November,1881.

And Died in Marburg on the 2nd October,1945,

was a German Lutheran Theologian,


a pupil of von Harnacks,

Professor of Church History in Breslau and for

Church History and New Testament,Dogma and Old Christian Art in Marburg.

He was founder and head of the Confessional Church in Kurhessen and he was the compiler of the documentation against the use of the Aryan paragraph in the church in 1933.


Rev.Fr. Carl Oskar von Soden [1898 – 1943] was born raised and educated in Munich till his late twenties. He was a student of politics and philosophy, a journalist and finally studied theology becoming a Roman Catholic priest for the Diocese of Freising.


In these troubled years of the thirties and the Nazi Party in Germany he was very aware of the pernicious influence being directed at the youth and so in all his parish work he specifically worked with the youth. The authorities had decided to move on him when with the advice of a friend, he escaped to Switzerland, then to Brasil into the United States. Even while in New York he worked with German ex-patriots in his similar situation on plans to frustrate the Nazi agenda. However, the stress and tension of the preceding years took their toll and he died of physical and mental exhaustion in 1943. His mortal remains were returned to the parish of Aufkirchen in 1986 where he had worked previously. His book, ‘Das Falsche Reich’ was published posthumously in 1999.


In this fine work we read the thoughts of a man who believed in the idea of the Social Contract which a government was duty bound to execute with its people. he saw this all demolished with the rule of this pagan, unchristian regime.



Das Falsche Reich by Fr. Carl Oskar von Soden, 1998

Wer ist Wer? [See Chapter 24 on]



This is a short biography of a remarkable member of the Soden family. Lt. Aloysius Soden, USNR JLS SM who died in 1967.


was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and was a member of the Marianist Order of Teaching Brothers ,based in Dayton ,Ohio. He spent a long time on the Japanese mission and was a prisonerof war during World War 2.

He taught at the Marianist School in Yokohama and was respected greatly by his pupils ,to such a degree that after his death they founded the Soden Memorial Foundation in his memory to help the school in Yokohama.

At the end of the war because of his fluency in Japanese ,he was one of the 6 interpreters used by the Americans to negotiate the surrender with the Japanese .He was assigned to the Captain of the USS Missouri ,itself since re-commissioned for the Gulf War in 1991.He is seen in official photographs at the signing of the truce at Truk [Chuck Lagoon] in the Pacific Ocean.

He died in Dayton , Ohio in 1967.

(Source: Bro. Quigley , Marianist , Dublin , Ireland ,friend of Bro. Aloysius .)


USNR - United States Navy Reserve

JLS - Japanese Language School

SM - Society of Mary


I have only limited information on the religious affiliation of Sodens in the USA and Canada. My very good friend, the late BOB SODEN of North Carolina, was Baptist as was his whole family in that state. They ran a thriving shoe manufacturing business in Little Rock, North Carolina


There were a number of PRESBYTERIANS also in the USA and, of course, Episcopalians  but information on these particular Sodens is better acquired  from GLENN SODEN, Ohio or any other Soden researcher such as JEANNE SODEN or JOYCE BROWN.



The Sodens of New South Wales , Australia

Suzanne Woodham has provided us with a proud and  wonderful account of the family of ROBERT DAWSON SODEN and his descendants and their church at  Caboonbah. To this day there is still one Soden member on the church committee. Have a look at the Caboonbah website for a really detailed report on the contribution of the Soden family to this area.

See names in alphabetical order at bottom of the website page.



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