The First Deputy Chief Constable

Charles Keily

Charles Keily was the first Deputy Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary.  He is believed to have come from Ireland with Chief Constable Lefroy  in December 1839 as Head Constable and he was then promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in July 1840.

The Limerick Chronicle 1st January 1840 reported the appointment of Chief Constable Lefroy and Head Constable Keily although his initial is given as M not C. It states that 250 men were appointed with the Chief Constable being paid £300 a year the Head Constable of Deputy Chief Constable £120 a year and the constables 18/- a week.

By 1841 the Keily family arrived from Ireland and settled in St Georges Place Cheltenham. It appears that Mrs Keily had to wait for the birth of her youngest son in Ireland before travelling to join her husband in Gloucestershire.

In 1845 a servant in the Keily household alleged that Mr Keily’s conduct towards her was not appropriate.              Ann Seaborne was the daughter of a serving police officer and we know that she died soon afterwards. 


According to the 1851 Census the family were still living in St Georges Place  Cheltenham but in a different house and with several more children and a  different servant.

In 1853 Charles Keily disappeared with the wages for the constabulary which amounted to about £400. It appears that at the time he was short of money. The Cheltenham Examiner on 25th June 1853 tells the story.


No one is sure where he went or how he manged to leave Cheltenham as he was so well known which was reported in The Gloucester Journal on 2nd July 1853.

A reward was offered as seen in  The Gloucester Journal 16th July 1853.

Despite lots of research we have been unable to find out much about Charles Keily and his life before his police career except that he came from Ireland.

There is a report in the Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties on 5th November 1852 when Keily applied to be Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire that tells of his background and career in Ireland but again we are unable to find out if what he said was true. We have also been unable to find a report in a newspaper linked to his application to be Chief Constable of Staffordshire

We may never know what happened to Deputy Chief Constable Charles Keily but we do know that his wife and children left for America in 1854 but tragically the ship sank and there are no reports of survivors among the passengers.


Was Charles Keily on board the Favourite or were the family going to join him in America to start a new life using the Constabulary Money?


This page was added on 01/08/2023.

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