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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)

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HENRY CLAYTON. We should expect a birth date for Henry around 1670. This fits well with the following.

Baptism. St Peter, Burnley.
1674 July 7  Henry son of Leonard Clayton.

Leonard was the name Henry gave his eldest son, The older Leonard was a blacksmith. Since Henry became a blacksmith too, we can be confident we have the right baptism.

His mother may be Alice, who was the wife of Leonard Clayton of Burnley when she died in 1699. But, without the record of their marriage, we cannot be sure that this was before Henry’s birth, or whether she was a second wife.

We have found no siblings for Henry, which increases the likelihood that his mother died following his birth.

Henry followed his father in the blacksmithing trade.


SUSAN SCOLEFIELD. We have not been able to establish Susan’s baptism. There is a possible one 8 miles away from Burnley in Todmorden. Susan, daughter of WW Scolefield,

was baptised there in 1679. She would only have been 15 when she married, but this was possible at the time.

Alternatively, considerable parts of the registers have become illegible. Susan’s baptism may have been nearer to Burnley, where she married, but the record of it may no longer be readable.

The transcript of her marriage tells us that she was living in Ightenhill when she married Henry. But this is accompanied by a “?” We only know the year of their marriage, not the month or day, so evidently this entry was hard to read.

Ightenhill is an area just NW of Burnley.


Marriage. St Peter, Burnley.
1694  Henry Clayton of Burnley and Susan Scolefield of Ightenhill (?).

The baptism of their first child gives their abode as Burnley, and Henry’s occupation as Blacksmith. The remainder do not state Henry’s occupation, and give their abode as Burnley Wood.

Baptisms. St Peter, Burnley.
1695 Jul 23  Leonard
1697 Apr 7  Dinah. This first Dinah was buried on 9 Apr 1698, just after her first birthday.
1699 Apr 22  Richard
17001/2 Mar 15  Susan
1702/3 Feb 2  Alice
1704/5 Feb 13  Dinah
1707 Jun 7  Elizabeth
1709/0 Jan 29  Henry
1712 Sep 20  Mary
1715 May25  John

The move to Burnley Wood matches the date of 1696, which the Burnley Wood Community Action Group gives for the building of Hufling Hall.

“Hufling Hall is now hemmed in by Victorian houses, but when it was built in 1696, Burnley Wood really was a wood. There were acres of fields and open countryside around the house. With its spilt stone roof, thick walls and mullion windows, it looks somewhat out of place in its present setting. As it is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Burnley Wood today.”

Ken Spencer takes us further: [1]

“Hufling Hall was never a hall in the sense that Towneley, Gawthorpe, Barcroft or Royle was. It was never more than a middle sized building, no bigger than the average farmhouse, either in itself or in the extent of its estate. I suspect that it was named Hufling Hall in affectionate derision, on account of the man who built it, Henry Clayton, a blacksmith. Oakleigh, built much later of course, was nicknamed Teapot Hall after its first owner, Abraham Altham the wholesale tea merchant. Hufling, a word unique in place names so far as I know, had an old meaning to fan a fire. This is of course exactly what a blacksmith did. It is important to note that the lane we call Hufling Lane was named after the Hall, and not vice versa. Its earlier name was Hufling Hall Road. I regard Hufling Hall as a real gem.”

Hufling Hall is a Grade II Listed Building.[2]

Hufling Hall

Farmhouse, now 2 dwellings. Late C17 or very early C18; altered. Coursed sandstone rubble with quoins, the front rendered and painted white, stone slate roof and hand-made brick chimneys. Double-depth double-fronted plan, slightly set back from road between Nos 67 & 73 (not included) which adjoin to right and left respectively. 2 low storeys and 3 windows, almost symmetrical. The ground floor has an added gabled porch offset left of centre, with a
doorway which has a plain surround, and an inserted doorway at the left end; both floors have double-chamfered stone mullioned windows, that to the right at ground floor of 3+3 lights with a king mullion and all the others of 4 lights. Gable chimneys (that to the left truncated).
Rear: altered openings including 2 plain doorways and rectangular windows with C20 glazing.
INTERIOR not inspected.
HISTORY: an unusual combination of C17 features and a full double-depth plan characteristic of the C18; and, in its setting among later C19 terraced houses, a striking
illustration of historical change.

Hufling Hall[3]

Fireplace, Hufling Hall

 The term “hall” may seem rather grandiose for a house this size. The writers of River Calder explain.[4]

“Fulledge House …gave its name, as Fulledge Road, to the early Todmorden Road, though another early name of Burnley Wood Road is also known…Higher up the track… was the little handloom hamlet near Huffling Hall, now lost, though the small hall itself has survived. Huffling Hall is a reminder that the term ‘hall’ does not always apply to grand buildings like Townley; the term is descriptive of the English hall house, many of which are much smaller.”

The Lancashire Telegraph tells us about a map of 1857.[5]

“The map also gives an insight into how the town has expanded over the generations. Huffling Hall, which is still in existence in Moseley Road is surrounded by fields and trees on the map.

“Now the building sits in the middle of several streets in the Rose Hill area of the town.”

Six years after their marriage, around 1700, there was a document relating to the maintenance of Henry Clayton by Henry his grandson of Burnley. We believe that Henry’s father Leonard was the son of an older Henry Clayton of Whalley. Leonard died in 1699, so this may mark the point when the blacksmith Henry became responsible for the maintenance of his elderly grandfather.[6]

Henry had gone to Hufling Hall as a blacksmith, but he seems to have made use of the substantial acreage around it to become a yeoman farmer. This is how he is designated from now on.

Thus we have the following document of 27 July1719.[7] Edmund Townley, of the family of Townley Hall, proposed to give £200 to augment the living of St Peter’s, Burnley, if others did the same. Among those responding were:
“Surrender to specified uses and admittance: for £400 5s: Henry Clayton of Burnley, yeoman, and Susannah his wife, to Rev. Edmund Townley, rector of Slaidburn, and Richard Kippax, curate of Burnley — two messuages and land in Burnleywood.”

And on the same date:
“Henry Clayton and his wife, for the sum of £100, surrendered the estate called Moiseley Hill, or Huffling Hall, containing 21 acres 19 falls of land to the ‘use and behalf of Richard Kippax, curate, and his successors’.”

The fact that the land is given jointly by Henry and Susan, suggests that it may have come to the couple from Susan’s family.

We have a clue as to where the Claytons went next.

“In 1727 Leonard Clayton, son of Henry Clayton of Pendle Hall, yeoman, was described as ‘of Lodge.”
Pendle Hall is NW of Burnley.

By the time they died, both Henry and Susan were living in Burnley, meaning the town.

Burials. St Peter, Burnley.
1750/1 Jan 10  Henry Clayton of Burnley. Buried in Church.

There was a higher charge for being buried inside the church, rather than in the churchyard. This is evidence that the Claytons were a well-to-do couple.

A number of burials on this page are of ‘papists’. In the previous century, everyone over 18 was required to sign a Protestation Oath of loyalty to “the true Reformed Protestant religion, expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations”. In fact, few women signed, though more in Lancashire than elsewhere.

“Recusants” who refused to sign were usually Roman Catholics. There were so many in Burnley that their names were entered in a separate register – something not found in any other parish. There were 58 of them, including members of the influential Townley family of Townley Hall.

No Claytons have been found amongst the recusants.

Henry left a very simple will, in which he left everything to Susan, and made her his sole executrix.

Given the size of his family, this seems surprising. We would expect there to be a number of bequests to his children, and possibly his grandchildren. It may be that by then he was too weak to make a complicated will, or he that had already given them generous sums, perhaps when they married.

The following month, Susan also died. Three days before she had been seized with ‘a dumb palsy’, probably a stroke.

Burial. St Peter, Burnley.
1750/1 Feb 24  Susan Clayton Widow of Burnley. Buried in Church,

Susan had not had time to carry out her duties as executrix of Henry’s will. The task was taken on by their eldest son Leonard, who was granted letters of administration.

Susan’s own will, dated 18 Feb 1750, was almost as simple. She left £30 to her grandchild Susan, wife of William Hartley. This is probably Richard’s daughter. Everything else she left to Leonard, whom she made her sole executor. There was no bequest to any of her other children.

Not surprisingly, Leonard’s siblings contested the will. A case was brought against Leonard by the two oldest of the siblings, Richard and Alice, now the wife of John Smith. By then, Leonard had been granted probate, but his siblings asked for this to be revoked.

They said that Susan had been seized with a ‘dumb palsy’ on the day the will was supposed to be made, and so was unable to speak.

They alleged that the will was drawn up either at the office of the Mr James Aspinall or at a public house, both a quarter of a mile from where Susan lay dying. They said that Susan could not have made her mark, but that one of her neighbour Anne Towers, one of the witnesses, put the pen in her hand, then took hold of it and guided it to make a cross. They accused Anne and the other witness, Leonard’s son-in-law Richard Barrowclough, of accepting the promise of payment for their part in the fraud.

The case came to court in Chester. Testimony was taken from Anne Towers, wife of Richard Towers of Burnley, butcher, aged 50; Richard Barrowclough of Burnley, butcher, aged 29; Ellen Barrowclough, wife of Richard Barrowclough and daughter of Leonard Clayton, aged 20. Richard and Ellen lived with Leonard Clayton.

Between them, they told the following story:

Anne Towers was a near neighbour of Susan Clayton, and often visited her. On the Saturday before the date of the will, at 8 or 9 in the evening, she visited Susan and found Leonard Clayton there. They were discussing Susan’s affairs. After Leonard left, Susan said to Anne, of her own accord, “I’d give all to Leonard and let him order as he pleased”.

The following Monday, Susan was seized with the palsy and fell. Anne was called to the house, and helped undress her and get her to bed.

The palsy affected her speech for several hours, but she recovered this long before the writing of the will, and spoke very intelligibly and cheerfully.

Hearing of her illness, Richard and Ellen Barrowclough went to Susan’s house around 7 in the evening. They found her perfectly able to speak intelligibly, though not for long. Leonard asked Richard to go with him and Anne Towers to the attorney Mr John Aspinall in Burnley and ask whether a will could be drawn up in accordance with the wishes Susan had expressed to Anne Towers.

About 7 that evening, Anne was sent for to a public house in Burnley, where she met the attorney Mr John Aspinall. He had been busy most of the day and had not been able to come to Susan’s house. He drew up a short will and gave it to Leonard, telling him to take it back for Susan’s approval and get it signed. Leonard paid him.

Leonard then took the will to Susan’s house. Anne Towers had gone to her own house, but was called back to Susan’s. She found Susan in bed. Also present were Richard Barrowclough, his wife Ellen, Laurence Halsted, his wife Dinah, who was Susan’s daughter, and their daughter Susan.

Leonard explained the substance of the will to his mother and asked whether she was willing to sign the paper giving all her assets to him, apart from the bequest to her granddaughter. She answered, “Yea, marry, that I am.” Leonard then knelt down and said, “God reward you, Mother for what you have done for me”. Weak though she was, she put her arms about his neck and kissed him. She then sat up in bed, and had the paper laid before her and pen and ink given to her. Anne guided her hand to the paper. At first Susan was angry because there was not enough ink in the pen. When more ink was found, she made a cross for her mark without any help. She then affixed her seal, impressing the wax with a thimble, which was given to her for that purpose.

All those present, with the exception of Dinah, took the signed will back to Mr Aspinall in his office, assuring him that at the time Susan Clayton was of perfect mind, memory and understanding, and very capable of making her will. He asked whether it had been read over to her, and was told that it had been. Anne Towers and Richard Barrowclough then added their names as witnesses. Mr Aspinall told them that only two witnesses were needed.

Afterwards, Leonard told the Barrowcloughs he did not believe the validity of the will would be disputed. Richard Barrowclough affirmed that Leonard had never promised the witnesses any of Susan’s effects should the will be proved.

Susan died at about six o’clock on the following Thursday morning.

Frustratingly, we have many pages of testimony, but not the verdict. Leonard submitted an inventory of Susan’s effects on the same day as the case was heard, 30 July 1751. This may indicate that he had won the case and had probate restored to him, but the evidence is not conclusive.


[1] Flickr. Robert Wade (Wadey), Huffling Lane, Burnley
[2] English Heritage Legacy ID. 467085.
[3] British listed Buildings.
[4] River Calder. Roger Frost, Ian Thompson, Victoria Dewhurst
[5] https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/5940404.librarys-got-past-mapped/
6  Lancashire Archives. QSP/843/3
[7] Lancashire Archives. DDBD 10/2/12




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