William Sole

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William Sole
Born 1741
Little Thetford, Cambridgeshire
Died 7 February 1802
Bath, Somerset
Fields Botany
Known for Study of mints
Author abbrev. (botany) Sole

William Sole (1741–7 February 1802) was a British botanist.

Born in Little Thetford, Cambridgeshire,[1] Sole studied at the King's School, Ely, then served an apprenticeship as an apothecary in Cambridge. On qualifying, he moved to Bath.[2]

In his spare time, Sole undertook influential botanical research, specialising in the study of mints in his garden, where he tried to replicate natural conditions as closely as possible. In 1798, he published Menthae Britannicae, and the terminology he used in the text was adopted generally throughout the nineteenth century. He also researched grasses and the local flora of Bath, and was elected as one of the first associates of the Linnean Society.[2]

Sprengel named the genus Solea for Sole, although this was later merged into Viola.[2]


  1. ^ The current edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography gives Thetford in Norfolk, but older editions and contemporary documents state that Sole was born in Cambridgeshire.
  2. ^ a b c "Sole, William", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The first edition of this text is available as an article on Wikisource:  "Sole, William". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.