Cayley Family History

Cayley crest cayley crest 1

The Cayley crest

Prominent Cayleys

Among the more notable Cayleys are: 

  • William Cayley (about 1700 to 1768), British consul in Spain and Portugal from the mid-1720's to the mid 1740's: there is an extensive collection of his official correspondence in the British Library.

  • Captain (George) William Cayley RN (c. 1742-1801), a naval captain wo died when his ship foundered off Kent

  • Cornelius Cayley (about 1727 to 1779), a preacher and religious writer who started his career in one of the royal households, and then gave this up following a conversion experience. His father lamented in his will that he was unable to provide as much as he wanted for his daughters because of Cornelius' extravagance, presumably in his wicked youth.

  • Sir George Cayley (1773-1857), inventor. He is most famous for his work on aeronautics and flying machines, but he made a wide variety of inventions, including an artificial hand for an injured farmworker, and the caterpillar tread for vehicles. He also interested himself in railway safety.

  • Arthur Cayley (1821-1895), mathematician, who paved the way for a number of branches of modern mathematics.

  • Charles Bagot Cayley (1823-1883), linguist and translator of Dante and Homer, and long-time close friend of the poetess Christina Rossetti.

  • Deputy Surgeon-General Henry Cayley (1834-1904), who served in India and became honorary surgeon to Edward VII.

  • Major-General Douglas Edward Cayley (1870-1951), who played a leading role in the Gallipoli campaign in the First World War

  • Neville William Cayley (1886-1950), Australian bird painter. His father, Neville Henry E Peniston Cayley, was another Australian bird painter, and emigrated to Australia in 1877. This family came from Norwich, and their name was originally spelt 'Caley': they seem unconnected with the Cayleys of Brompton, Yorkshire. For more information about Neville William Cayley and his family, see

         the page Australian Bird Painter's Tree - Neville William Cayley and his family.

  • Andrew Cayley (b. 1964), senior international criminal lawyer, appointed in 2009 chief international prosecutor in the Cambodian Khmer Rouge tribunal. He was born in Sussex, and is descended from a family which moved from London to the Burnley area of Lancashire in the mid-19th century.




Arthur Cayley mathematician

Arthur Cayley, 1821 - 95, mathematician

Sir George Cayley, 1773 - 1857, inventor

Sir George Cayley 6th Bt age 70 smaller