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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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GIDEON COWPE was the son of the yeoman farmer Gideon Cowpe senior and his wife Alice.

He was baptised at St Mary the Virgin, Bury, in June 1639. The family farm was Lumb Carr just outside the hamlet of Holcombe Brook 4 miles north of Bury, but within the boundaries of Bury parish.

He was the fifth of eight known children, at least one of whom died in infancy. His elder brother John predeceased their father, but we do not know whether this was as a child or an adult. Gideon had five sisters, one of whom may also have died as a child.

He was born three years before the Civil War. We do not know what part the Cowpes played in this. The landowners were Royalist, but the larger population of Bury was divided.


ALICE LYON. There is a baptism on 17 Apr in the same year for Alicia Lyne daughter of Johannis Lyne at St Katherine, Blackrod.  But this is 11 miles SW of Holcombe, which makes it unlikely.

A nearer baptism is on 23 Mar 1644/5 at St Mary, Radcliffe, for Alice daughter of Henery Lyon. Radcliffe is 6 miles south of Holcombe and close to Bury. But the six year difference in ages is rather more than usual.

Her baptism may be in a register no longer surviving or illegible.

She was married in Bury, so it is likely that she was living in the parish then.


Gideon Cowpe and Alce Lyon married at St Mary the Virgin, Bury, on 18 Feb 1665/6. Both were of this parish.

By now, the monarchy had been restored under Charles II after ten years of the Republican Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell and his son.

Gideon and Alice survived the severe outbreak of plague in the mid 1660s.

There is a story from Lumb dated 1664.

Oliver Heywood tells the following story, which illustrates a popular superstition: ‘Mr. Rawsthorne of Lumb and Mr. Thomas Bradshaw walked out and after they had drunk a cup of ale returned home. Going in the night by a pit side Mr. Rawsthorne (being troubled with the falling sickness) fell in; Mr. Bradshaw leapt after him to take him out, because he could swim, but they were both drowned. Mr. R. swam at top, but Mr. B. could not be found. A woman bade them cast a white loaf in, and they doing so it would not be removed from over the place where he was; so they took him up, and they were buried together. A sad family it was, my brother being eye-witness thereo.’ Diaries, iii, 89.

The Rawsthornes were the local landowners. Elizabeth Rawsthorne had married Thomas Bradshaw four years before the tragedy.

Lawrence Rawsthorne surrendered the tenure of Lumb Carr to Gideon’s father shortly before the latter’s deathin 1681.


St Mary the Virgin, Bury, was the mother church for this large parish, but there was a chapel of ease at Holcombe. It was probably here the Cowpes brought their children to be baptised, although their names were recorded in the register for the mother church.

Baptisms. St Mary the Virgin, Bury.
1666 Nov 30  Elizabeth
1671 May 8  John
1679  Gideon son of Gideon Cowpe of Holcombe.

Holcombe [1]

Gideon junior’s baptism is found on a family tree on Ancestry.[2] It does not appear on FindMyPast or Lancashire Online Parish Clerks. But the fact that the family abode is given as Holcombe makes it credible. The baby’s grandfather, an older Gideon Cowpe, held the lease of Lumb Carr farm just north of Holcombe Brook , until his death in 1681. It is likely that Gideon and Alice and their young family were living there when the youngest Gideon was born.

It is maybe that the entry on Ancestry was deciphered from a page of the register that other transcribers had written off as illegible. The fact that no day or month are given would be consistent with that.

Given the large gaps between these three children it is likely that there were others whose baptisms have also been lost.


In 1681, Gideon’s father died. He divided his estate into three equal parts. One third was to be divided equally between his five children, including Gideon junior. Gideon was to oversee the sharing of the third part equally between his sisters. He was appointed joint executor with his mother.

Gideon inherited the lease of Lumb Carr, though his mother was to have use of the house and a proportion of the land until her death.

The family may well have been already living on the farm.

Gideon was named as the second life on a three-life copyhold tenancy for Lumb Carr. The first-named, John Cowpe, was already dead.

By 1685 the tenure was in the hands of Thomas Goolding of Pendlebury, gent. It is not clear whether the Cowpes continued to live at Lumb Carr under the copyhold tenancy.

It is likely that Gideon was a yeoman like his father, whetheror not he continued farming at Lumb Carr.

Gideon and Alice’s eldest son John raised his family in Tottington, a township of Bury that included Holcombe. Their younger son Gideon junior raised his in the town of Bury. This makes it likely that Gideon and Alice stayed on in Tottington and that John took over from them.


We do not have a burial for Gideon, but he appears to have died before Alice.

There are two possible burials for her.

Burials. St Mary the Virgin, Bury.
1721/2 died  Jan 21, bur. Jan 23  Alice Cowpe, Widdow
1725/6 died Jan 3, bur. Jan 5  Alice Coope, Widdow.

She had lived beyond the Stuart monarchy into the reign of the first Hanoverian king George I [1714-27]


[1] https://media.onthemarket.com/properties/1771682/1045175389/image-0-480×320.jpg
[2] https://www.ancestry.co.uk/genealogy/records/gideon-coupe-24-211m8qt





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