The Cayley banking interests in Stamford

Two Cayleys were partners in a bank based in Stamford, Lincolnshire: Edward Cayley (1782-1868) and his son George Cayley (1831-1891). For information about them, see A Banker’s Family.

The bank changed its name several times during its existence as an independent bank. It was founded as a private bank in 1800 by William Jackson and William Johnson, and was initially called Jackson and Johnson, or the Stamford and Rutland Bank. In those days, many banks, especially outside London, were run as partnerships and were relatively small affairs: they had often had formal business connections with other banks and with a bank in the metropolis.

In 1810, following William Jackson’s death, Stephen Eaton became a partner. In 1819, after the death of William Johnson, Edward Cayley bought in as a partner and the bank became Eaton & Cayley. Successive changes of partner led to further name changes, with the Cayley name still being included.

The bank seems to have survived the various 19th-century financial crises which led to the collapse of a number of private banks.

In 1861 George Cayley became a partner, with his father Edward remaining a partner until his death in 1868. In 1891, on George Cayley’s death, the bank lost its independence and was subsumed into the Stamford, Spalding & Boston Banking Co. Ltd. This bank was taken over by Barclays in 1911.

The bank’s main premises were in Broad Street, Stamford – and are still used as a branch of Barclays Bank. There were branch offices in some other towns in the area.

[Sources: Barclays Archives website – and; John Orbell, British Banking: A Guide to Historical Records, pub. Ashgate Publishing 2001 and Routledge 2007, consulted at Google Books.]


The Frederick Cayley Robinson connection


It took me some years to track down how Frederick (or Frederic – the name is spelt both ways) Cayley Robinson (1862-1927) fitted into Cayley genealogy. For those of you who don’t know of him (and Cayley Robinson is not a household name), he was an artist and is probably best known for a series of four large oil paintings, collectively called Acts of Mercy, painted between 1915 and 1920 for the Middlesex Hospital in London. One (illustrated in this post) shows soldiers wounded in World War 1; another, a woman thanking a doctor for treating her daughter; two show the refectory of an orphanage. They are now in the collection of the Wellcome Library, and there was a special exhibition of them at the National Gallery, London in 2010. There is an article on these paintings from The Guardian newspaper at and you can find a good summary of Cayley Robinson’s artistic career at

Cayley Robinson – he is never known just as ‘Robinson’, always as ‘Cayley Robinson’ – was descended from one of the Cayley Russia merchants, John Cayley (1761-1831), son of the John Cayley who was British Consul in St Petersburg. John Cayley junior and his second wife Harriett Raikes (daughter of another Russia merchant) had ten children, of whom the last, Harriet (1800-1879), married Charles Robinson, a London banker, in 1821. One of their sons, was Frederic Robinson, a stockbroker, and Frederick Cayley Robinson was Frederic’s son.

As far as I know, Frederick Cayley Robinson is the only significant British artist to be descended from Cayleys. In Australia, from a completely different family came the bird artists Neville Henry Peniston Cayley and his better-known son Neville William Cayley – see Australian Bird Painter’s Family. If anyone knows of other Cayley-linked major artists, do get in touch.

[Painting credit: Wellcome Library, London: copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0]



The Runaway Nun

The baronets’ branch of the Cayleys descended from members of the family who made their main base in Yorkshire in later medieval times. But some Cayleys stayed in East Anglia, where the family had its original landholdings after the Norman Conquest.

In 1389 a nun called Margaret Cailly eloped from St Radegund’s Priory, Cambridge, whose site was taken over by Jesus College when it was founded in 1496. William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury, found her and her partner living in the the Diocese of Lincoln during a visitation he made of the diocese. She had naturally cast off her nun’s habit and was in ordinary secular dress. William Courtenay apprehended her and parcelled off unceremoniously to the custody of John Fordham, Bishop of Ely, who in turn sent her back to St Radegund’s, with strict orders that the prioress was to keep the poor woman in close confinement and impose harsh penances on her.

It is perhaps ironic that St Radegund, after whom the priory was named, was forcibly married in the 6th century to a brutal Frankish ruler who had her brother murdered: she ran away and successfully sought the protection of the Church, founding a double monastery (one which had both male and female members – quite a common practice at the time). For Margaret Cailly the Church was hard and uncompassionate.

Margaret was almost certainly descended from members of the Cailly family who stayed in East Anglia.

Glaucoma among Cayleys

One specialist use of genealogy is medical – to get information on family patterns for diseases etc. This is especially important for rare genetically-caused conditions, for which genealogical information can be valuable to researchers and medics. But genes can cause, or make people susceptible to, many more common conditions. Among them is glaucoma, which – it has been known for many years – tends to run in families.

One family is my own, on both my maternal and my paternal side. Among the Cayleys in my family, my paternal grandfather, my father and my brother all had or have glaucoma. Are there other Cayley families in which glaucoma runs?

And are there other medical conditions which are associated with any Cayley families?

Cayleys in fiction

Yes, people with the Cayley surname feature in fiction. They include a murderer in A A Milne’s only crime novel, an intrepid late Victorian female in a romp by Grant Allen, and a Lady Sarah Cayley in a novel by May Sinclair. I have added a page to the website listing works I know of. Please tell me of others you come across, using the contact page.

Several of the novels are available for free download on the internet, from sites like

More Cayley place names

I have added more Cayley placenames etc to the page with places and buildings featuring the Cayley name: Cayley Park in the City of Westland, Michigan; Cayley Lodge and Mountain Resort in South Africa; Cayley hall of residence, Loughborough University, England; Cayley Street and Cayley Primary School in Tower Hamlets, London; and Cayley College in Nigeria.

If you know of more places etc that should go on the page, please tell me, using the contact page on this site. If you know which Cayley they were named after, it would be helpful if you could say.

Fisticuffs in Cambridge

Future Chief Justice of Ceylon in a student brawl

Sir Richard Cayley (1833-1908), a son of Edward Cayley the Stamford banker, was one of the most distinguished lawyers to bear the Cayley surname, rising to be Chief Justice of Ceylon. But in his student days at St John’s College, Cambridge he had a moment of dubious fame.

It was 8 November 1854. There had been a series of confrontations between town and gown – townsfolk and students. Both proctors (university officers with disciplinary responsibilities) and the police were trying to prevent further occurrences, with extra patrols in the streets and repeated threats that offending students would be rusticated. Additional efforts were made to enforce the rules for when students had to be in their colleges in the evenings.

That evening there was a lecture on the evils of tobacco in Cambridge town hall, with pro-tobacco students in the audience. A disturbance ensued with much shouting and jostling between some of the local citizenry and the students. The police came in as an attempt was made to end the meeting. A group of students resisted this and proposed that a local tobacconist should take the chair. As the commotion increased, the police started to clear the room. A cry of “Gown! Gown!” went up – an appeal for students to help one or more of their number – and the students still in the room rushed to the exit, in the process causing some deliberate damage to furniture. More police arrived, one or two students were apprehended, and the police drew their batons.

One of those arrested, having struck a policeman, called out, “Gown! To the rescue!” More students joined in the melée. Among them was Richard Cayley, the future Chief Justice, who struck one of the police officers several times and violently resisted arrest.

The Magistrates’ Court was packed for the subsequent trial. The officer who had apprehended Richard Cayley described him as “very much excited, and I think he must have been drinking.” Another officer said in the subsequent magistrates’ trial that he saw Richard “on Serjeant Howlett’s back” – which gave rise to laughter in the courtroom.

Richard Cayley said that he had come out of his College and seen a fellow-student “collared by someone, and I naturally went forward to rescue him.” He added that, once he realised it was the police who had charge of the other student, he desisted, and gave himself quietly into the hands of a proctor. “I will admit that I was excited, but I deny that I was drunk, and can bring twenty witnesses who can prove that I never was drunk in my life.”

Inevitably Richard was found guilty. He could have faced a month in prison, which would probably have stopped him becoming a senior judge in later life, but the magistrates went for the more lenient option of fining him £5. This was paid on the spot, and a whip-round among undergraduates, who no doubt thought all this a bit of a lark, ensured that Richard was quickly reimbursed.

To see genealogical information about Sir Richard Cayley, you can go to A Banker’s Family.

Source: Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 11 November 1854. The story was also widely reported in other newspapers around England.