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Jack Priestley’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Jack’s as (1)



FRANCIS DICKINSON. Francis’s marriage date around 1729 gives him a likely birth date soon after 1700. No suitable baptism has been found for him in the Whitby area, though the ink of the register is sometimes faint.

It is highly probable that he was the son of an older Francis Dickinson, who was living at Whitby Laithes in 1700 when his son George was baptised. This is close to the younger Francis’s  anticipated birth date. The younger Francis was farming at Whitby Laithes at the baptisms of his first two children in the 1730s.

Francis Dickinson Senr Farmer died at Knipe Howe in 1740. That same year the younger Francis was farming at Knipe Howe when his third daughter was baptised.

There are a number of baptisms in Whitby for children of Francis Dickinson  in the late 17th century. It is not clear whether there was one man of that name or two. Francis junior would appear to be a younger son either of a small family or a larger one.

His mother’s name was Ann, but we do not know her maiden name.

Whitby Laithes Farm, where Francis grew up, is less than 2 miles SE of the centre of Whitby and under half a mile from the sea. It was formerly a grange, or outlying farm, of Whitby Abbey.

Francis became a farmer like his father.


ELIZABETH BURN.  Elizabeth was married in Fylingdales, making this her probable baptism.

Baptism. Fylingdales.
1706 Apr 28   Elizabeth daughter of William Burne

Her mother may have been Ellis Porret of Whitby, but this is not certain.

Elizabeth had an elder and a younger brother.

Her father is listed simply as a Householder at his burial, so we do not know his occupation.

The parish of Fylingdales lies south of Whitby. It includes the villages of Robin Hood’s Bay and Fylingthorpe.


Marriage. Fylingdales.
1729 Jun 3   Francis Dickinson and Elizabeth Burn

The entry in the register gives no information about the parish of the bride and groom.

The couple set up home at the farm in Whitby Laithes where Francis had grown up.

Their first year of marriage was not uneventful. York Castle Prison has the following record:  [1]

Alexander Smith, husband of Rose Smith.
Date: Lent 1730
Stealing jewellery and linen from the house of Francis Dickinson and his wife Elizabeth Dickinson of Whitby Laithes; transportation 7 years Lent 1730.

The fact that Elizabeth had jewellery worth stealing says something about their status.

We have not been able to find out more about Alexander and Rose Smith. It is quite likely that Rose fell into poverty after Alexander was transported.


We have the baptisms in Whitby of three daughters.

1730 May 1  Ann daughter of Francis Dickinson Farmer Whitby Laths.
1736 Jan 5   Elizabeth daughter of Francis Dickinson Farmer Whitby Laths
Before the next baptism the family had moved to another farm.
1740 Jul 13   Margaret daughter of Francis Dickinson Farmer Knipehow

 Knipe Howe, or Gnipe Howe, Farm is in North Hawsker. This is now an independent parish, but used to be part of Whitby. It is just under a mile south of Whitby Laithes and only a few hundred yards from the shore.

The same year we have the burial of Francis Dickinson Senr, Farmer of Knipehow. This looks very much as though Francis’s father had moved to live with them after the death of his wife.

High Hawsker, near Whitby [2]

The same year there was another baptism.

1740 Mary daughter of William Dickinson Sailor Whitby

William Dickinson may be Francis’s brother or cousin.

1752 marked the beginning of the whaling trade from Whitby. It became a major whaling port. Today there is still an arch made from the jaws of a whale.

1762 saw the nave of Whitby Abbey collapse. It had been a ruin since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.

Francis junior was buried on 16 Feb 1764. Like his father, he is recorded as a Farmer of Knipehow.

Elizabeth’s burial has not been found in Whitby. She may have moved back to her birth parish of Fylingdales. There is a burial at St Stephen’s church.

Burial. St Stephen, Fylingdales
1789 Jun 4   Elizabeth Dickinson (Widow) aged 82 years  Raw

Her age matches the birth date of Elizabeth Burn.

Raw is a hamlet a mile inland from Robin Hood’s bay.


[1] http://www.yorkcastleprison.org.uk/family-history.html/transports/horse%20stealing/page49.
TNA: ASSI 41/2-81,84; ASSI 45/18/7(54-6).
[2] Ruth Gregory (Gallery). http://www.picturesofengland.com/img/L/1064536.jpg





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