Reader letter: Family history

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Culimites

My eighth maternal grandfather, David Culy, lived at Guyhirn in the latter half of the 17th Century.

He founded at Guyhirn a religious sect known as the Culimites. The sect had about 900 members from a very wide area and lasted 150 years, making inroads into the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire. His inspiration begun at Christchurch, March, in about 1680. I possess a list of members of the original church at Guyhirn, founded in 1693. It comprises 22 brethren and 18 sisters. Do some local names relate to descendants living in the Fens to this day? Relevant surnames are given here: Males - Evans, Francis, Lucane, Nutty (all of Guyhirn); Gamble, Elm; Pierson, March; Rawlins, March; Thompson, March. Females - Croston, March; Dust, Wisbech; Green, Wisbech; Grounds, Tholomas Drove; Johnson, Elm; Pierson, March; Sidge, Guyhirn; Delahoi, Upwell. The Culy family originated from Flanders, 16th Century. David Culy wrote two books and 50 hymns and liked to preach against the Anglican Church. The Bishop of Ely covertly arranged to lure him to King’s Lynn and he was seized by a press gang and put on a ship! He sang hymns with such vigour he was put ashore at Yarmouth and walked back to Guyhirn. A plot of land was given to him at Rings End to secure his safety from being deported. David Culy died and was buried at Billinghay, Lincolnshire, in 1725.

Trevor Bevis

March