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HomepageThomas Cullen: Elected in 1852
as Mayor of Nottingham
Jim Cullen, with additional information provided by
historian Dr. Trevor Foulds

Update: A new mystery concerning the Cullen family: Dr Trevor Foulds, an historian who has been a great help in the creation of this page, has an interest in the Cullen family - an intriguing mystery concerning some leather wallhangings which once hung in the Long Gallery of Nottingham Castle. At some point they came into the hands of the Cullen family... I'll let Dr Foulds take it from there:

My real interest in the Cullen family was Mary Ann. In 1893 a Miss Cullen donated to the Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery pieces of 17th-century leather wallhangings which had once hung in the Long Gallery of Nottingham Castle. Nottingham Castle, the Ducal Palace built 1674-9 by William Cavendish the 1st Duke of Newcastle, was set on fire by rioters during the Reform Bill Riot in Nottingham in October 1831 and we know that tapestries torn from the walls of some of the rooms were being sold in Nottingham soon after. It is probable that this was the fate shared by the leather wallhangings in the Long Gallery - indeed, the pieces show that they have been cut off their frames with a knife. How they came to be in the possession of the Cullen family I still do not know. Does your family have a remembered or oral tradition concerning these pieces of leather wallhangings from Nottingham Castle? What I'm not saying is that Mary Ann or her father Thomas were rioters. It seems unlikely that given their social position, Thomas had the vote anyway, and strong Congregationalist connections they would have been rioters. What I still can't prove is that Miss Cullen in 1893 was Mary Ann. There were two 'Miss Cullen's important in their own right to be mentioned living in Nottingham at the time but only Mary Anne seems the most likely candidate to have made the donation to the Museum. So that is my interest in the Cullen family, that is trying to identify who was the Miss Cullen who made the donation to the Museum in 1893.

If anyone has heard this story of the leather wallhangings donated by the Cullen Family to the Nottingham Castle Museum be sure to contact me. Of great interest of course is the identity of 'Miss Cullen'. - J.T.C.

Information from the Nottingham Date Book: Thomas Cullen was evidently elected twice as Mayor of Nottingham. The first time was November 9, 1852 and the second term, where he is listed as T. Cullen, was November 9, 1860. This tallies with the original story that he was Mayor in the 1860's. If this was a second member of the Cullen family who was elected Mayor in 1860, I am certain we would have had that information passed down as well. We can be certain then both are the same Thomas Cullen. Another update concerns Elizabeth Rowena, the widow listed in the Nottingham General Cemetary along with the rest of the Mayor's family (see below).

Thomas Cullen, Mayor of Nottingham: This is a story that goes back quite a few years but, until recently, was not backed up by enough information to be able to go any further than speculation on the supposed family connection. Evidently, a member of the Cullen family in Nottingham had done some research on behalf of Cullen descendants still living in the UK. The story came out then that one Thomas Cullen, member of the Cullen family in 19'th century Nottinghamshire was elected Mayor of Nottingham. According to the details of the story, it was determined that Thomas Cullen was the brother of Gervase Cullen. Gervase was born in 1801 to parents Gervase and Mary (Horner) Cullen of Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire (though this family was from Nottinghamshire). There was a brother Thomas born in 1814 in this family. Along with the story comes the facts that Thomas lived for a time on Upper Parliament Street and that there were some flats named in his honor.

Since then I have found that there was indeed a Mayor of Nottingham named Thomas Cullen and he was elected Mayor in 1852. Since the timing was perfect for consulting the census I decided to try finding more information there. What I found were three possibilities: one, a likely candidate for Mayor (an alderman and lacemaker) who is not known to be immediately related, at least not in the manner we thought; another, at one time a likely candidate as a brother of Gervase Cullen but not outstanding in the sense that one would expect him to be a candidate for Mayor of Nottingham; the last, living on Parliament St, an 83-year old Thomas Cullen now suspected to be the father of the Thomas Cullen who was elected Mayor of Nottingham. Dr Foulds has provided much information on this family. The following are briefs on these three families.

Thomas & Anne (Storer) Cullen: Parliament St.

Thomas & Ann Cullen of Nottingham (Parliament St.): Here we find an 83-year old builder, Thomas Cullen, born in Nottingham (about 1768) and his wife, 79 years old, of Weston-on-Trent, in nearby Derby. Also listed in the census are three daughters: Elizabeth, age 50, a servant, born (about 1801) in Nottingham; Sarah, age 38, also servant born (about 1813) in Nottingham; and Marianne, age 35, a dressmaker born (about 1816) in Nottingham.

We know that Thomas was born about 1768 as he is listed as aged 83 on the 1851 Census. Dr. Foulds has found that he was the son of Thomas Cullen, carpenter and joiner. The new information is as follows:

The elder Thomas' will was dated 13 April 1810 and was proved 11 November 1814. Thomas, the father, was described as a carpenter in the 1774 Poll Book and was operating from Parliament Street. Thomas, senior, with Mr Stocks re-built a Poll House in the Market Place, Nottingham, in 1787 and in 1788 was ordered by the mayor and corporation to repair the arches of Trent Bridge with Mr [William] Stretton. Stretton was a Nottingham builder, and architect and surveyor to the Duke of Newcastle.

Thomas Cullen junior, joiner, was enrolled as a burgess of Nottingham 1788-9. He was burgess born although his father, Thomas, does not appear as a burgess in the 18th-century lists. Thomas Cullen was in partnership with his father, Thomas, by 1793 as their business was described as Thomas Cullen & Son, joiners, and operated from Parliament Street. In 1805 the business was described as Thomas Cullen & Son, builders, and still operating from Parliament Street. In 1826 and 1828, his father being dead (c. 1813), Thomas Cullen was described as a lace manufacturer operating from Parliament Street. In 1834 Thomas Cullen was described as joiner and cabinet-maker operating from Parliament Street. Died 12 December 1862. Effects under 800. Will proved 10 February 1863. Executors: his sons, Thomas Cullen of Nottingham, gentleman, and James Cullen, gentleman.

From the parish records, we are able to determine that this family is that of Thomas Cullen and Ann Storer who were married at Weston-on-Trent, Derby, on Oct 21, 1793. This is determined by matching names and dates of birth for the children as well as the parents' names. The family of Thomas and Ann was a large one with nearly a dozen children. Marianne was christened September 18, 1815 at Nottingham Castle Gate Meeting Independent as was the daughter, Sarah, on July 24, 1814. Dr Foulds has provided this exhaustive accounting of the children of Thomas and Ann:

Children Of Thomas And Anne (Storer) Cullen

? Anne: Baptised 1 November 1794. St Mary's church, Nottingham.

? Anne: Baptised 3 May 1796. St Mary's church, Nottingham.

Thomas: Baptised 19 October 1798. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent).

Elizabeth: Baptised May 1800. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent). In 1851 Census described as aged 50, servant. Described as head of household of 5 Upper Parliament Street in 1881 Trade Directory. Buried 3 March 1883. Aged 82. Nottingham General Cemetery, plot 1245.

Sarah: Baptised 25 December 1802. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent).

James: Baptised 20 March 1804. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent). In 1864 described as James Cullen, gentleman, living at 5 Parliament Street. In 1826 Poll Book described as a joiner. In 1830 and 1841 Poll Books described as a lace manufacturer. Died 1876-81.

Mary: Baptised 25 November 1807. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent).

John: Baptised 2 August 1810. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent).

Charles: Baptised 27 September 1812. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent). In 1881 Census described as living with his sisters Elizabeth Cullen, Mary Ann Cullen, and Sarah Roberts at 5 Parliament Street, as out of business, aged 69. Living with his sister Mary Ann at 9 Park Valley, Nottingham, in 1889, 1894 and 1895. Charles Cullen, gentleman, of Park Valley, died 11 April 1901. Probate 11 June 1901. Effects: 7165 2s. 9d. Executors: William Roberts, gentleman, and the Rev. Elijah Augustus Simons, congregational minister. Buried 15 April 1901, aged 89, Nottingham General Cemetery, plot 1245.

Sarah: Baptised 24 July 1814. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent). In 1851 Census described as aged 38, servant. In 1881 Census named as Sarah Roberts living with her sisters Elizabeth Cullen and Mary Ann Cullen and their brother Charles Cullen at 5 Parliament Street, married, aged 68.

Mary Ann: Baptised 18 September 1815. Castle Gate Meeting House (Independent). In 1851 Census described as aged 35, dressmaker. In 1881 Census described as head of household of 5 Parliament Street, unmarried, aged 65, living with her sisters Elizabeth Cullen, Sarah Roberts, and brother Charles Cullen. Living at 9 Park Valley, Nottingham, in 1885, 1889, 1894, and 1900. Before Mary Ann bought or rented it, 9 Park Valley had been occupied by John Player of J. Player & Co., Nottingham, cigarette manufacturers. Marianne Cullen, spinster, of 9 Park Valley, died 28 September 1900. Probate 12 December 1900. Effects: 24,190 3s. 6d. Executors: William Roberts and Henry Fairholm, gentlemen, and John Langham, iron merchant. Buried 2 October 1900, aged 85, Nottingham General Cemetery, plot 1245.

In the burial records for Nottingham General Cemetary we find a Marianne Cullen, spinster of 9 Park Valley, who died October 2, 1900 at the age of 85. Also in this group is Charles Cullen, also of 9 Park Valley, who died April 15, 1901 at the age of 89. This puts his birth at about 1812. The parish records indeed record the christening of a Charles Cullen on September 27, 1812 at Nottingham Castle Gate Meeting Independent.

Thomas & Anne (Harrison) Cullen: Sherwood St.

Thomas & Ann Cullen of Nottingham (Sherwood St): Thomas is listed at age 37, a lacemaker born (about 1814) in Nottingham. His wife Ann is also listed as a lacemaker age 40 born in Nottingham. Also listed are a son and a daughter: Alfred, age 13 (born about 1838), scholar born in Radford; Sarah, age 8 (born about 1843), scholar born at Basford.

This family was tough to pinpoint. Immediately upon hearing that this Thomas was born about 1814 and had a son named Alfred, I thought of the family tree forwarded by the Mills Family of Kent, England. The family tree mentions the son and daughter listed above. Alfred Thomas Cullen, born 1837 in Basford, married Amelia Harrison (1837-1867) on December 24, 1863. They had a son, Alfred Harrison Cullen, who was born April 30, 1865. The daughter of Thomas and Ann, Sarah Ann Cullen, is listed as born June 11, 1842 at Basford. She married John Smith at Sneinton on March 28, 1869. The sheet also identifies the parents, Thomas and Ann. These are Thomas Cullen and Ann Harrison. Thomas Cullen was born February 14, 1815 (christened on the 20'th of February at Radford) to Nathaniel and Sarah (Lees) Cullen. Nathaniel Cullen is well known; he was the grandson of Thomas Cullen the Elder (1703-1773), Yeoman of Upton and the last generation discussed in Francis West's "The Rude Forefathers".

I may mention here that the approximate birth year, 1814, of this Thomas Cullen may have been a contributing factor in the idea that Thomas Cullen, the brother of Gervase Cullen of Brant Broughton, was the one elected Mayor of Nottingham. That Thomas was christened June 26, 1814 at Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire, to Parents Jervis and Mary (Horner) Cullen.

Thomas & Sarah (Dale) Cullen: Parliament St.

Thomas & Sarah Cullen of Nottingham (Rock Cottage Victoria St.): Thomas is listed as a 52-year old Alderman and Lace Merchant born (about 1799) in Nottingham. His wife, 47-year old Sarah, was also born (about 1804) in Nottingham. Two sons are listed, both lace warehousemen born in Nottingham: Thomas Augustus, age 22 (born about 1829); and Edward Marshall, age 21 (born about 1830). Since this Thomas Cullen is directly identified as one holding a public office with some authority, that of Alderman, he is the most likely to be the Thomas Cullen elected Mayor of Nottingham in 1852.

The names of the two sons helped to identify this family in the parish records. Thomas Cullen and Sarah Dale were married Aug 1, 1826 at Newark-Upon-Trent. Thomas Augustus Cullen was christened March 24, 1829 at Nottingham Castle Gate Meeting Independent. Edward Marshall Cullen was christened at the same place on April 26, 1830. This is interesting news since the father, Thomas Cullen, was very likely the one christened at Nottingham Castle Gate Meeting Independent on October 18, 1798. His parents? Thomas and Ann (Storer) Cullen - the same Thomas aged 83 who was living on Parliament St in 1851. It turns out the elder Thomas is the father of the Thomas Cullen living on Victoria St at the time.

From the burial records at Nottingham General Cemetary we find members of this family. Thomas died January 24, 1888 at the age of 89 and his wife, Sarah, died November 13, 1869, at the age of 65. We also find the above mentioned sons: Thomas Augustus Cullen, who died November 3, 1870 at the age of 42; and Edward Marshall Cullen, who died January 31, 1867 at the age of only 37. The others in the group have yet to be identified but you can read the information for yourself on the Cullens in Nottingham General Cemetary page - just scroll all the way to the bottom.

There is some further information on one of the sons, Edward Marshall Cullen. In nearby Derby, in the parish of Shardlow, there is recorded the marriage of Edward Marshall Cullen to a Rosamond Clifford on January 6, 1863. Three children are also listed: Rose in 1861, Clifford in 1863, and Kate in 1864 - all at the parish of Shardlow.

If anyone is able to add to the information presented on this page, please feel free to contact me via e-mail. Any help is appreciated. In particular I would be interested in any published details on the life of Thomas Cullen, Mayor of Nottingham elected in 1852.

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