Edward Stillingfleet Cayley

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Edward Stillingfleet Cayley (13 August 1802 – 25 February 1862)[1] was a British Liberal Party politician.[2]

He was elected at the 1832 general election as a member of parliament for North Riding of Yorkshire,[3][4] and held the seat until his death in 1862, at the age of 59. He advocated free trade in Parliament and went to Rugby School and Brasenose College, Oxford, thus breaking the Cayley tradition of going to Cambridge.[5]


Yorkshire farm

After graduating from Oxford, Cayley took up residence in North Yorkshire where he engaged in farming. He also undertook studies in history, economics, and philosophy to supplement his "dead language" formal education.[6] Caley became a "barrister-at-law" with membership in the Inner Temple.[7] As a magistrate and barrister, his doors were always open for counsel. He promoted the Yorkshire and other agricultural societies as a speaker and writer. Thus, Cayley became well-known and highly respected by the farmers of his district, so much so that they called on him to represent them in Parliament. He agreed and against a combined Whig and Tory opposition, he won.[6] He was elected at the 1832 general election as a member of parliament for North Riding of Yorkshire,[4][8] and held the seat until his death in 1862, at the age of 59.

As an independent member of Parliament, Cayley fought against "inequalities of taxation". He served on the Agricultural distress and Hand-loom weavers committees[9]

Cayley died of heart disease while making the arduous trip to London. The Farmer’s Magazine gave Caley a glowing obituary as a "farmers' friend", who "stood with the farmers, by the farmers, and for the farmers."[6]


Cayley was born at Newbold Hall near Market Weighton. He died at Dean's Yard, Westminster. His parents John Cayley (1786–1846) and Elizabeth Sarah Stillingfleet (1787–1867)[10][11] were both deaf and dumb. His mother was descended from Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester. He was a fine cricketer.[2]

On 30 August 1823 he married a cousin, Emma Cayley (c.1797–1848), daughter of Sir George Cayley, the aeronautical baronet. They had three sons:

  • Edward Stillingfleet Cayley (1824–84), an author, barrister and landowner educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He wrote on the European revolutions of 1848 and the Franco-German war of 1870. In 1872 he married Ellen Louisa Awdry (1845–1903), daughter of Ambrose Awdry of Seend, Wiltshire
  • George John Cayley (1826–78), a barrister educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (though he never took his degree). He had left-wing tendencies and in 1868 stood as the Working Man's candidate for Scarborough in the general election. He published several pieces of light verse, a book on electoral reform and the working classes, and a popular book about travels in Spain. The frontispiece of this book shows him with a magnificent mid-Victorian beard. He had a reputation as an accomplished metal-worker; in 1862 he and the painter George Frederick Watts designed the challenge shield for a national shooting championship at Wimbledon. He also was an accomplished tennis-player; he helped to develop several types of tennis racket, and wrote an article on the game for the Edinburgh Review in 1875. He had homes at Wydale Hall,[12] Snainton, North Yorkshire and in Westminster. In 1860 he married Mary Anne Frances Wilmot (c.1843–1908); they had three children:
    • Hugh Cayley (1861–1924), educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, who lived at Wydale and married Rosa Louisa Violet (d. 1915), daughter of Johann Seelig of Hanover
    • Arthur Cayley (1862–68)
    • Violet Cayley (b. 1865), who took part in amateur theatricals at public theatres in Norfolk
  • Charles Digby Cayley (1827–44), educated at Eton, who became a midshipman in the Royal Navy, was awarded a medal for his part in activities in the Levant, and drowned with a companion when a squall hit the sailing-boat they were in off Largs, Scotland.[13]


  1. ^ Peerage.com – Edward Stillingfleet Cayley
  2. ^ a b Dutton, H. I., and J. E. King (1985) An Economic Exile: Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, 1802–1862. History of Political Economy 17(2): 203–218.
  3. ^ "no. 19010". The London Gazette. 4 January 1833. p. 27. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 489. ISBN 0-900178-26-4. 
  5. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine January–June 1862, 502 online at https://books.google.com/books?id=9FY6AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA502&lpg=PA502&dq=Edward+Stillingfleet+Cayley++Law+Magazine&source=bl&ots=Jpwq0Pt349&sig=JJ0GXVgsTGAQzFs7XT1Z0TtAYUQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nOQiVa_LFpO4oQSo5IG4Bg&ved=0CC4Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Edward%20Stillingfleet%20Cayley%20%20Law%20Magazine&f=false
  6. ^ a b c Farmer's Magazine Vol 21, 1862, 354–356 online at https://books.google.com/books?id=QP4hAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA355.
  7. ^ The Law Magazine and Review, Vol X, 1884-5, 95 online at https://books.google.com/books?id=fLkwAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA95.
  8. ^ "no. 19010". The London Gazette. 4 January 1833. p. 27. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  9. ^ Frederic Boase, Modern English Biography: A-H (Netherton and Worth, 1892), 37 online at https://books.google.com/books?id=GIVmAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA1635 and Farmer’s Magazine Vol 21, 1862, 354–356 online at https://books.google.com/books?id=QP4hAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA355.
  10. ^ "SharedTree: Edward Stillingfleet Cayley (1802)". www.sharedtree.com. Retrieved 2016-05-11. 
  11. ^ "Elizabeth Sarah Stillingfleet 1787-1867 - Ancestry". records.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2016-05-11. 
  12. ^ Stuff, Good. "Wydale Hall - Snainton - North Yorkshire - England | British Listed Buildings". www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-11. 
  13. ^ "Cayley Family History". cayleyfamilyhistory.moonfruit.com. Retrieved 2016-05-11. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Christopher Richardson, A letter to Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, Esq., M.P. with two practical suggestions for the amendment of the Currency Act of 1844 (London: T. H. Rice, 1848)
  • Richard Moorsom, A Letter to Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, Esq. M. P. on the Corn Laws and on the Evil Consequences of an Irregular Supply of Foreign Grain (London : Simpkin and Marshall, 1840)
  • H. I. Dutton and J. E. King, “An Economic Exile: Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, 1802–1862", History of Political Economy Summer 1985 17(2): 203–218.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for North Riding of Yorkshire
With: William Duncombe to 1841
Octavius Duncombe 1841–59
William Duncombe (2) from 1859
Succeeded by
William Morritt
William Duncombe (2)