I have started adding more information about Sussex and Kent Cayleys of the 16th to 18th centuries. A number of the family relationships are uncertain, and I have tried to make some moderately intelligent surmises on the basis of what we can find in parish registers. This is work in progress. You can see where I have got to at Sussex and Kent Cayleys of the 16th to 18th centuries.
How many ways can Cayley be spelt? As mentioned more than once on this site, in the 19th century some families varied the spelling of their surname between Cayley and Caley. Go back further in time, and the range of spellings multiplies, including for people linked to the Yorkshire baronets, whose surname spelling did not settle down until about 1700 (and even after that one finds some different spellings in official documents).
In the 17th and 18th centuries, among other variants we find Cailey, Caile, Cailey, Cayle, Caly, Calye, Caily, Caylie, Kayley, Kayly, Kaily, Kailey, Kaile, Kayle, Kaley, Kaly and Keyley. It is not uncommon to find different spellings in parish registers and other records for the same person. Sir Arthur Cayley (c.1615-?1698), brother of the first Cayley baronet, is a good example: his name is variously spelt Caley, Cayley, Caly, Cailey, and – if, as I believe, I have correctly identified his burial record – Cayle.
Still further back, in pre-Tudor times, in addition to all those forms we find many further versions of the name, including Cailly, Cailli, Caili, Cailewey, Caylli, Cayllie, Cayli, Calle, Calewe, Kailly, Kailli, Kaylly, Kaylegh – and even, for one set of records from the early 14th century, Kellaways, which ties in with the belief of researchers for the Callaway Family Association that at least some people with the surname Callaway, Kallaway or Kellaway (or variants) descended from the de Cailly family. (John de Cailly inherited lands from the wealthy Giffard family in 1327: he had a Giffard great-grandmother, the lands included estates in Gloucestershire, and some Gloucestershire records refer to him as ‘John of Kellaways.’)
In addition Osbern, one of the sons of the Guillaume de Cailly who probably fought at the Battle of Hastings, renounced his rights to the Cailly estates in Normandy after marrying someone who inherited estates at nearby Préaux and was thereafter known as de Préaux, giving rise to a long line of descendants with the name de Préaux (or variants on that).
This rich mix of names makes for some complex fun for those doing genealogical research.
Today we think of Sir George Cayley, 6th baronet, as a pioneer of flight. His family may well have regarded his construction of flying machines as an expensive eccentricity. After his death, the flying machine which flew a few hundred yards (with a startled coachman inside, who is said to have given his notice as soon as he landed) in 1853 was tucked away in a barn on the Brompton estate.
One of his granddaughters, Dora Cayley (a daughter of Sir Digby, the 7th baronet), told a cousin how, in her childhood, she used to sit in the glider when she wanted to hide from her governess. Unwanted flying machines have their uses!
[Source: “The Legards of Anlaby and Ganton”, Col. Sir James Digby Legard KCB, pub. Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co, London 1926]
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?