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Cornelius Cayley (1729-1780?)

Cornelius Cayley was born in Hull. At the age of 19, he obtained a clerk's position in the treasury of the Prince of Wales through the influence of Lord Scarborough. For a time Cayley threw his energy into the possibilities of a career in public service but when his hopes of advancement were disappointed, his strongly religious temperament came to the fore. Cayley regularly attended the Tabernacle chapel in Moorfields, London, and was acquainted with the writer James Hervey. He began to preach in London and for a time made his home at the house of the evangelical sympathiser Lady Cornelia Piers.

Cayley resigned his treasury post when he was told that he had to abandon his preaching. He published several religious tracts and other publications and also wrote in defence of the Methodists. In 1772 he embarked on a tour of France, Holland and Flanders, writing an account of his travels on the way which was published in parts by the Leeds Weekly Newspaper. Cayley settled in Leeds on his return to England and published a new edition of his life in 1778, originally printed in 1757/58. This biography was reprinted four times in the 19th century.

Cayley disappeared from the historical record after 1780.

Source: Dictionary of National Biography

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