Rev. Samuel Henley

Is your surname Henley?

Research the Henley family

Rev. Samuel Henley's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Samuel Henley

Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: England
Death: December 29, 1815 (66-74)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mary Henley and Susan Henley
Father of Maj. William Henely; Emily Henley and Rev. Cuthbert Henley

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. Samuel Henley

Rev. Samuel Henley died 29 December 1815, at the age of 70 and was buried at Rendlesham, where there is a tablet in the chancel of the parish church to his memory and to that of his three children:

Emily Henley, who was buried at Rendlesham on 9 May 1829, at the age of 35; Major William Henley, his eldest son, who died in Bengal in his 30th year ; and Rev. Cuth- bert Henley, his yoimgest son, who took the degree of B. A. at Pembroke Collie, Cambridge, in 1814, and M. A. in 1817, and who succeeded his father as rector of Rendlesham, 10 June 1816, and died in London at the age of 39.

This memorial was erected by Susan Henley, widow of Rev. Samuel Jlenley, who was the daughter of Thomas Figgins, Esq., of Chippenham, Wilts, and whom he married in 1780.

He had married previously apparently in Virginia, a daughter of Rev. John Watson, and niece of Jonathan J. C. Watson.

  • Born 1745 in England
  • Ordained a priest in the Church of England
  • Recruited to come to Virginia to teach at William & Mary
  • Died 1815
  • British-born professor left England in 1769

Samuel Henley was a British-born professor of moral philosophy at the College of William & Mary from 1770-1775. He was teaching near Cambridge in 1769 when Dr. Burton, an old friend of Lord Botetourt's who had been commissioned to "ransack the universities" in search of faculty for William and Mary, recruited him for the post. Henley was then ordained a priest in the Church of England, and sent with the bishop of London's blessing to instruct the youth of Virginia in rhetoric, logic, ethics, and literature. He received 60 pounds from the Bishop for his traveling expenses.

Befriended influential men of Williamsburg

Once in Williamsburg, Henley won the friendship of men such as George Wythe, Peyton Randolph, and Thomas Jefferson. He was highly respected and admired by students St. George Tucker, James Madison, Edmund Randolph, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson's younger brother, Randolph Jefferson.

Outspoken man of opinions

Henley seemed always to have an opinion and rarely an entirely conventional one. His sermons reveal him to have been a man of liberal and enlightened views, but they were not universally popular, and Henley developed enemies as well as friends. Robert Carter Nicholas was among those who had grave doubts about Henley's orthodoxy. Nicholas was responsible for Henley's failure to become the rector of Bruton Parish Church, even though he was the most likely candidate.

Returned to England prior to the Revolution

Henley returned to England in May 1775, because of the widening rift between England and Virginia. Once he returned to England, he served many years as an instructor at the Harrow School. He also married and raised a family. He died in 1815 at the age of 70.

view all

Rev. Samuel Henley's Timeline

Age 48
Age 54
December 29, 1815
Age 70