Cayley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cayley is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cayley family lived in Norfolk, where they were Lords of the Castle of Cailly. The name was originally from 'de Cailli,' from Cailli, an arrondissement of Rouen. [1] "Hugh de Cailly, lord of Orby, Norfolk, was head of the family whence sprang the barony." [2]

Another source believes that the name was from "the French town, Calais, possessed by the English from temp. Edward II. to Queen Mary." [3]

Early Origins of the Cayley family

The surname Cayley was first found in Norfolk where one of the first records of the name was William de Kailli, de Caly who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1210. Alternatively the name Caley, is a fairly common Manx name. [4]

There are very few early records of the name but researchers did manage to find two records in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: Osbert de Caly, Norfolk; and Hugh de Caly, Norfolk. [2]

"The Calleys of Wilts deduce from Norfolk. I find no locality so denominated, and the family may possibly spring from the Scottish M'Caulays." [3]

The plural from of the name was popular too in the early years. The Placita de Quo Warranto, temp. Edward I-III listed "John de Caleys, Jersey, 20 Edward I" (during the twentieth year's reign of Edward I.) The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Henricus de Calays; and Robertas Calas. [2]

Early History of the Cayley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cayley research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1661, 1610, 1681, 1560, 1603, 1798, 1602, 1667, 1640, 1667, 1709, 1635, 1708, 1654, 1727, 1663, 1717, 1576 and 1634 are included under the topic Early Cayley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cayley Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Cailly, Calley, Callis, Cally, Caley, Cayley and many more.

Early Notables of the Cayley family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Cawley (1602-1667), British politician, MP for Midhurst in 1640 and regicide who fled to the Netherlands and then Switzerland after the Restoration. He was the eldest son of John Cawley, a brewer of Chichester, who was three times mayor. His son, John Cawley, was Archdeacon of Lincoln 1667-1709. [5] Sir William Cayley, was 2nd Baronet (1635-c. 1708); Sir Arthur Cayley, 3rd Baronet (c. 1654-1727); and John Calley (1663-1717), was...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cayley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cayley migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, travelling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Cayley or a variant listed above:

Cayley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J Cayley, aged 35, who landed in New York, NY in 1849 [6]

Australia Cayley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cayley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Harriet Cayley, aged 29, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Star Queen" [7]

New Zealand Cayley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cayley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Cayley, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Bernian
  • Thomas Cayley, aged 38, a shipwright, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Mary Ann Cayley, aged 37, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Rebecca Cayley, aged 13, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Thomas Cayley, aged 11, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cayley (post 1700) +

  • Cornelius Cayley (1729-1780), English religious writer, born in 1729 at Hull [8]
  • Charles Bagot Cayley (1823-1883), English linguist, born on 9 July 1823 in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburg, son of Henry Cayley, a Russia merchant, and younger brother of Arthur Cayley, Sadleirian professor at Cambridge [8]
  • Arthur Cayley (d. 1848), English biographer, son of Arthur Cayley, third son of Sir George Cayley, bart., of Brompton, Yorkshire [8]
  • Sir George Allanson Cayley (1831-1895), 8th Baronet, an English first-class cricketer for Cambridge University
  • Sir Digby William David Cayley (b. 1944), 11th Baronet of Brompton, English peer
  • Sir Kenelm Henry Ernest Cayley (1896-1967), 10th Baronet of Brompton, English peer
  • Sir George Everard Arthur Cayley (1861-1917), 9th Baronet of Brompton, English peer
  • Sir George Allanson Cayley (1831-1895), 8th Baronet of Brompton, English peer
  • Sir Digby Cayley (1807-1883), 7th Baronet of Brompton, English peer
  • Sir Thomas Cayley (1732-1792), 5th Baronet of Brompton, English peer
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John James Cayley (1871-1914), Canadian First Class Passenger from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [9]


The Cayley Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Callide et honeste
Motto Translation: Wisely and honourably.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ South Australian Register Monday 1st January 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Star Queen 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/starqueen1854.shtml
  8. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 25 Nov. 2019
  9. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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