John Grey of Dilston was helped in his youth by his neighbour George Culley.

"After his return from Richmond, John was sent to Lorton, in Cumberland, and lived two years in the house of a Mr. Sewell, a good, but not active nor enlightened, clergyrman. The letters which he wrote to his mother from there became very interesting ; there were descriptions of mountains, lakes, clouds, footchases on steep hillsides after the Lorton hounds, homely feasts and country gatherings, with occasional reflections, and many quotations from English and Latin poems. After two years he returned home and at the age of eighteen took the responsibility of managing a wide concern. It is not very long since my brother told me that he was grateful to George Culley, who was the leading agriculturist of the day, for taking a kind of charge of him. It was the custom in those days for all the gentlemen to go to Wooler market on horseback, and dine together after business was done. Mr. Culley always ordered his own horse and John Grey's to be brought out together as soon as they had dined, and they rode home together, only to part at our gate, the youth deriving many useful advices from the experienced man. I remember how pleased mamma was when she saw him return so early with so wise a man. He thus began his farming studies." From Memoir of John Grey by Josephine Butler page 11

" Men of intelligence, activity, and industry were attracted from other quarters to settle in the fertile vales in the northern parts of this county, of whom none bear a more distinguished name in the annals of agricultural improvement, or are more deserving of the praise and gratitude of their countrymen, than the late Messrs. Culley. The example set by these and other energetic and spirited agriculturists, together with the signal success which at- tended their exertions, gave a stimulus to the surrounding district, and in a few years the inexpert operations and languid system of husbandry which had previously prevailed gave place to others of extraordinary expedition and efficacy. From Memoir of John Grey page 41

From a speech made by John Grey "when he resigned his office at Dilston, in 1863 : — " I am placed in circumstances of unusual difficulty and embarrassment, because you have called me to speak on a barren subject — that of my own very inconsiderable self. But as you have summoned me here today to recognise with extreme kindness the results of my stewardship, I feel myself in some measure called upon to explain to you what you have a right to know — what were the circumstances to which I ascribe any beneficial results and advantages which may have been derived from it. Mr. Stephenson has just reminded me that I have now been in harness for sixty years. That dates from the beginning of this century. At that time you will all know that there was a great impulse given to agricultural improvement, such as had not been known before. That stimulus has been acting, and that improvement has been progressing, ever since ; and it has mainly been accelerated in the last years that have gone by; From my very earliest youth I was initiated into the business of agriculture. Family circumstances required that I should, at the age of eighteen, take the management of extensive farming concerns, including amongst them that patrimonial property which very adverse circumstances in this neighbourhood have but recently deprived me of. I was then settled as an inexperienced youth, with much work on my hands : but do not allow yourselves, gentlemen, to conceive that I think it was a hardship that a young man should be put thus early into harness. On the contrary, I believe that it gives him earnestness of character and an aptitude for business, and probably preserves him from many temptations to idleness which he otherwise might be subject to. Those great veterans and leaders in agricultural improvement, the Messrs. Culley, who saw me, a youth, inexperienced, and yet in circumstances of great responsibility, bestowed upon me much kindness and much valuable instruction. To them I was indebted for the parental advice which otherwise I would have been deprived of . From Memoir of John Grey page 46

""Whenever I am at Fowberry, I am struck with astonishment, when I reflect on our beginning in Northumberland 43 years ago. To think of my son now inhabiting a Palace! altho' his father less than 50 years since worked harder than any servant we now have, & even drove a coal cart!" George Culley quoted in The Culleys, Northumberland Farmers, 1767-1813 by D.J. Rowe.
John Grey's son, George Annett Grey's first wife died young and he remarried a descendant of the Culley family: Elizabeth Jane Morton. When George died she lived with her brother and sister at Fenton House, Nesbit.

The Culley Brothers, Mathew and George: Agricultural Improvers.
Fowberry Tower, near Chatton, photographed in 2007 by Philip Banks © Copyright philip banks and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence