Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Samuel Culley (1723–1781)

Mayor of Oxford 1774/5

Samuel Culley (or Cully) was born in Oxford in 1723. He was the son of the Oxford brewer William Culley who married Mary Snow (both of St Aldate’s parish) at St John’s Church, Oxford on 28 April 1718. Their seven childen were baptised at St Aldate’s Church: Lydia (2 February 1718/19), Mary (10 January 1719/20), Charles (27 April 1722), Samuel himself (1 April 1723), Nicholas (23 August 1725), John (1725), and Mary 17 September 1726).

Samuel’s eldest brother Charles (1722–1765) took over the family house and brewhouse in St Aldate’s, while Samuel himself was apprenticed to the Oxford grocer John Turner for seven years from 29 May 1736.

After his apprenticeship, Sameul Culley started his own business as a grocer and chandler in “Old Butcher ”(Queen Street), in the parish of St Peter-le-Bailey.

On 14 June 1750 at Christ Church Cathedral, Samuel Culley married Elizabeth Phipps, a widow.

Culley was admitted free on 3 May 1751, and two weeks later on 17 May was chosen as Mayor’s Child by the new Mayor, Thomas Munday, and he immediately took up his Chamberlain’s place

In September 1755 he was elected senior bailiff.

In 1771 Culley bought four dwellings and 21½  acres of land in Horspath from his father. In the same year his wife Elizabeth inherited a farmhouse and about 30 acres in Charlton from her uncle, John Ledwell.

The Survey of Oxford of 1772 shows Culley occupying a frontage measuring 9 yards 1 feet and 7 in on the north side of Queen Street, which H. E. Salter identifies as Nos. 28 and 29.

In November 1772 Culley was selected as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants. Two years later in September 1774 he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1774/5), and chose Christopher Yeats as his Child.

By 1778 Culley was the Governor of the General Workhouse in Oxford.

Culley’s wife Elizabeth was buried inside the former St Peter-le-Bailey Church on 9 October 1779.

† Samuel Culley died in 1781 and was buried with her on 25 March 1781 inside the former St Peter-le-Bailey Church. Among other bequests, he left his property at Horspath to Elizabeth Smith.

See also:

  • Oxfordshire County Archives, Misc. Su. LXVI/v/5 and Bicester UDC IV/2 for details of the land purchased by Culley and inherited by his wife.
  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entry numbered 1671
  • PCC Will PROB 11/1076/313 (Will of Samuel Culley, Gentleman of Saint Peter le Bailey in Oxford, proved 12 April 1781)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 September, 2019

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