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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)




STEPHEN CATTERSON was christened on 15 November 1667 in Skipton. [1]He was the eighth of eleven children of Francys Catterson and Isabella Pettie. Only six of them survived infancy. Stephen was the fifth of these.

His father was a yeoman. He was also the landlord of the Red Lion Inn in Skipton High Street, which doubled as a farmhouse. Stephen would have grown up there.

 The Red Lion[2]

Stephen became an attorney-at-law.


GRACE HAWORTH. Grace was baptised at Holy Trinity, Skipton, on 28 March 1670/1, the daughter of John Haworth and Leah Mitchell of Skipton. “Of Skipton” means that the family were living in town, and not in one of the outlying hamlets. She was the eldest of four children, none of whom seem to have died in infancy.


We have not found the marriage of Stephen and Grace, but there is a marriage index which gives details of their marriage licence. This was issued on 11 Jun 1694. There is less information than usual. Stephen Catterson was of Skipton It does not give the bride and groom’s ages, nor the bride’s residence. Nor does it say where the marriage was to take place. We assume it happened shortly after the date of the licence.

Eleven children were baptised in Skipton. Three died in infancy.

Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1697  Aug 24   Leah daughtr of Mr Stephen Catterson. “Mr” denotes a gentleman.
1699 Dec 19   Mary
1701 Jun 16   Elizabeth, She was buried on 26 Jan 1714, aged 4.
1703 Aug 18   Thomas. Thomas was buried on 3 Mar 1725/6. He had lived to 22.
1706 Sep 19   Martha. This is the first baptism to give the mother’s name as Grace.
1707/8 Mar 23   John. John was buried on the 25 Sep 1709, aged one.
1710 Jan 31   Francis
1711 Aug 14   Grace
1712 Oct 21   Silvester
1715 Mar 29   Stephen. Stephen was buried 6 Feb 1716/7, aged nearly two.
1718 Jun 3   Stephen. This baptism names the father as Mr Stephen Catterson (Attorney-at-Law). Other fathers’ occupations are also recorded. This second Stephen only lived to be four. He was buried on 5 Oct 1722.

Scarcely had Stephen and Grace completed their family when their eldest daughter Leah married the farmer Edward Heelis.

The following year, Isabell married John Spencer of the nearby parish of Addingham. The wedding took place in the chapel of Bolton Abbey, which had survived the Reformation as a place of worship.


Stephen’s father died in 1701, when Stephen was 33. There are bequests to his two surviving daughters. The principal beneficiaries were his widowed youngest daughter Frances and her two sons. There is no mention of Francys’s sons. The likelihood is that he made provision for them during his lifetime.

Then, or earlier, Stephen took over the tenancy of the Red Lion, together with extensive land around it. For this he paid the Sackville Lord of Skipton Castle £42 a year. This was a substantial amount.

The Red Lion was the farmhouse of a considerable farm. It originated as a medieval 4-bay hall house.

Gillian Waters, who has done extensive research on these Skipton families, says:

“The current Town Hall car park covers the land that would have been the Home Croft of the Red Lion Farm. It was big enough to house at least forty horses and fifty milking cows. It is not certain whether Stephen Catterson ran the Inn himself, or whether he employed others to run the Inn for him.  Whatever the case the Inn must have more than covered its rental in the annual trade it turned. In a prime site, on the main Keighley to Kendal Road, the Red Lion would have certainly been busy.”

Stephen had been a favourite of his uncle Sylvester Petyt, who was well-known for his generous bequests to Skipton charities. He and his brother were successful lawyers in London, and Sylvester may have had a soft for the nephew who took up the same profession. Stephen was singled out for legacies in Sylvester’s will of 1719: “a long swing clock… and two portraits” which Sylvester sent to Skipton “to be placed in the Library there in the Church”.

He was also left property in Skipton, consisting of a day house, buildings and gardens. The house had one ground-floor room, one upstairs, a garret and a large kitchen. It also had a stable and a garden, and half a Garth (an enclosed yard or garden).

In 1725 Stephen Catterson “of Skipton, gentleman” acquired lands on Newmarket Street, Skipton, from Robert Pickering and his wife Mary of York. These comprised a barn, a garden and other buildings in a little close called The Croft. They were inhabited by tenants: Charles Toogood, William Fletcher and Thomas Deies.

In 1734 he leased lands at the Ings to a tenant farmer Thomas Chamberlain.

On 14 Jan 1735 Stephen, along with Henry Currer of Currer Hall in nearby Kildwick, witnessed the churchwardens’ accounts.

In 1737 he transferred lands at Bentley Bridge and Middle Bentley Brigg Close to his second son Sylvester. Probably his own father had handed over lands in this way before his death.


Stephen died in 1741, aged 74.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1741 Nov 29   Stephen Catterson Gentleman of Skipton.

His will, made the previous year, left bequests to all his children. The principal beneficiary was his eldest son Francis. Francis himself died three years later. He transferred some of his property to his sole surviving brother Sylvester, who was a yeoman farmer in Addingham, not far from Skipton.

Stephen left considerable property for a third son.



In the name of God Amen the seventeenth day of September in the year of our lord one thousand and seven hundred and forty I Stephen  Catterson of Skipton in Craven in the County of Yorke gentleman being infirm and weak but of sound and disposing mind and memory and understanding yet mindful of my mortality do make and ordain this my last will and testament in writing in manner and form following:

Principally I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Creator hoping in and through the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ  to have free pardon and remission of all my sins and my body to the earth to be decently interred at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named and desiring to be buried by my dear father and mother if I shall dye there and as touching  such temporal estate wherewith God hath been pleased to bless me I give devise bequeathe and dispose thereof as followeth.

First I will and direct that all and singular  my personal estate of what nature or kind soever be applyed towards the payment of my debts funeral expenses and charge of proving this will (except what is hereafter disposed of) ITEM I give and devise unto my dear wife Grace Catterson during the term of her natural life all those two closes situate in Skipton aforesaid called the two far Bailleybrigg closes and Crookes in the possession of Master John Swainson and Mr. Alcock with three roods of freehold land in Narrlamber Hill lying east of three acres of land belonging to the grammar School there and from and immediately after her decease I give the reversion of the said three roods of land to my son Francis Catterson his heirs and assigns forever.

ITEM I give and devise to my said son Francis Catterson his heirs and assignees forever all that Messuage, farm or tenement with the appurtenances called Gawflatts farm or tenement and the lands thereunto belonging or commonly occupied therewith situate lying  or being in Skipton aforesaid Sturton and within the parish of Skipton aforesaid or in any of them upon trust nevertheless and upon this express condition that the said Francis Catterson his heirs or assignees pay or cause to be paid to my daughter Martha the wife of Mr. Henry

Mitton attorney at law the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money at the end of two years after my decease without interest for the residue of her portion for which I stand bound to Mr. Fawkes of Farneley in the said county in trust and for the benefit of my said daughter with which one hundred pounds my will is that that estate shall stand chargeable.

ITEM I give unto my son Francis Catterson his executors, administrators, and assigns all my tenant right and term of years yet to come and unexpired in and to the lands which I hold of the master and feoffees of the said School. Item I give to my son Silvester Catterson his heirs and assigns forever all that my Messuage or Burgage wherein I and Mrs. Jane Swier now dwell with Barns and stable and garden thereunto belonging and also

the Orchard which I purchased of Mr. Henry Mitchell in Skipton aforesaid and the reversion of the said Closes called far Bailley Brigg House and the Crookes herein before bequeathed to my said wife from and immediately after her decease upon trust nevertheless upon this condition that my said son Silvester his heirs and assigns shall pay unto Edward Heelis who marryed my daughter Leah the sum of forty pounds at the end of two years after my decease without interest for the residue of her portion for which I stand bound to the said Edward Heelis with which forty pounds my will is that the said premises devised to my said son shall stand chargeable.

ITEM I give to my said son Silvester Catterson his executors, administrators and assigns all my tenant right and term of years yet to come and unexpired in and to all and singular the houses barns buildings lands and tenements in Skipton aforesaid which are demised and leased to me by the right  Honourable Thomas late Earle of Thanet.

ITEM I give to my daughter Mary Paley,widow, her heirs and assigns forever all that my Messsuage a dwelling house  and the lands now inhabited by and in the possession of Mrs. Catherine Parker in Skipton aforesaid and the moiety or half part of the garden with all the rights members and appurtenances to the same belonging  

ITEM I give to my said son Francis Catterson his heirs and assigns forever all that messuage house in the newmarket in Skipton aforesaid now in the possession of Richard Oldfield my tenant together with all the barns buildings outhouses garths and gardens thereunto belonging provided always and I do trust order and direct that my said son Francis his heirs and assigns shall pay satisfye and discharge all such sum and sums of money as shall be due and unpaid to my daughter Isabell Spencer and Mrs. Jane Swier their executors, administrators or assigns upon any bonds, bills notes or otherwise  howsoever entered into by me to them respectively with all the interest that shall or maybe due to the same, with which sum or sums of money debt or debts and interest in my will is that the said last above mentioned premisses shall stand chargeable for the  more sure payment thereof. ITEM I  give to my said loving wife all the household goods of what nature or kind forever in the parlour which myself and my said wife do now use for lodgings, my golden spoon, six pewter plates, six pewter dishes of the middle sort and pewter salver and my silver Gill marked with S.C. To her own and proper use and disposal which said lodgings my will is shall be enjoyed by my said wife for her life with free entry egress and regress into and out of the same.

ITEM I give to my said son Silvester Catterson my silver pint with my uncle Mr. Sylvester Petyt’s coat of arms upon it and also the picture of my said uncle  and the picture of my brother Mr. Thomas Catterson.

Lastly I give one silver tankard, six silver spoons, two plain silver oval salts, my pocket watch, my long swinging clock and also my uncles Mr. William Petyt and the said Mr. Silvester Petyt’s two pictures in the chamber over the house and all the residue and remainder of my real and personal estate whatsoever not herein before disposed to my said son Francis Catterson his heirs and assigns forever  whom I make sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made in witness

whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Sealed, signed published and ordained, by the  testator to be his last will and testament in the  presence of us who have subscribed our names in the presence and at the request of the said testator…

William Smith, Jane Benson, Christopher Benson.


Grace outlived him by just over a year.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1742/3  Jan 12  Mrs Grace Catterson widow of Skipton.

“Mrs” was a term of respect only given to women of the gentry.


[1] BMDs from Findmypast. Other biographical information from Gillian Waters. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison10.htm
[2] http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2796/4321403389_d0603fd53e.jpg
[3] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~petyt/redlion.htm. © Angela Petyt. Not for commercial use.







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