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)
THOMAS MAYER and MARGARET (10)
We have traced our Mayers back to the village of Horton in Staffordshire in the first half of the 18th century.
Horton is 4 miles west of Leek and 6 miles west of the Peak District. The village stands on a spur of Grindlestone Edge, with a steep drop to the west and east. The River Trent rises there and forms the western boundary of the parish.
The home of the village squire was the Jacobean manor houSe Horton Hall
Horton was formerly a chapelry of Leek, but became an independent parish in 1745.
THOMAS MAYER. From the birth dates of his children, we would expect a baptism for Thomas around 1707. No such baptism has been found in Horton. The nearest is:
Baptism. St Peter ad Vincula, Stoke on Trent.
1706/7 Feb 3 Thomas Maire Elizabetha spuri ap Longton.
This Thomas was a base born child. Longton is just south of Stoke on Trent, and 9 miles from Horton. There are baptisms for the children of Thomas Moor/Meare from 1731 onwards in nearby Burslem, so this is unlikely to be the Thomas who was raising a family in Horton.
There are only a few Mayers in the Horton register before the baptism of Thomas junior.
In 1665 Ralph Mayer of Baddley married Alles Sharrot of ?Hodge Green in the parish of Horton. Baddeley Green is 4 miles south of Horton.
The following year, 1666, there is the burial of Richard Moyer of Horton Hey. Horton Hey/Hay was a largely wooded area in the NW of the parish. In 1740 a gallery was added to St Michael’s church in Horton to accommodate the folk from Horton Hay.
It is sixty years before the next occurrence in the registers.
In 1727 we have the baptism of Ann, daughter of Hugh and Mary Mayor. This is shortly before the baptisms of Thomas’s children, so Hugh could be Thomas senior’s elder brother. Mary died two years later.
This is followed by baptisms for Thomas’s children.
There was a burial for Elizabeth Mayer in Horton in 1735 and for Thomas Mayer in 1735/6. These could be Hugh and Thomas’s parents.
Hugh married again in 1749 and had more children.
The scant evidence of an extended family gives the impression that the Mayers had recently moved to Horton, rather than being from a long-established family.
There were many Mayers in nearby parishes. In the earlier 17th century, the Mayers are found locally predominantly in Biddulph, and later in Norton le Moors, then in Leek, and in the early 18th century back in Norton le Moors. Norton is 5 miles SW of Horton, just north of Stoke on Trent. Thomas may have come from there, but we have no evidence of this.
MARGARET. We do not know Margaret’s maiden name, or where she came from.
Margrett Godwin, daughter of Thomas and Mary, was baptised in Horton in 1707, and Margaret Symcocke, daughter of William and Sarah, in 1709. Thomas and Margaret’s granddaughter married a Symcocke. But there are many other Margarets in surrounding parishes.
We have not found a marriage for Thomas and Margaret.
The baptisms of their children begin in Horton, then move elsewhere before returning to Horton.
Horton. 1732 May 21 Thomas
Horton. 1734/5 Mar 31 William
Rushton Spencer. 1736/7 Jan 23 Margaret
Astbury. 1739 Jul 1 Mary
Horton. 1741/2 Feb 28 Martha
Horton. 1749 Apr 20 George
Rushton Spencer is 3 miles north of Horton. Astbury is 6 miles NW.
We have no record of any of these children dying in infancy.
We have not found Thomas’s occupation, but the frequent moves suggest that he was an agricultural labourer, moving from farm to farm at the annual hiring fairs. We know from his will that Hugh was a husbandman, farming on a small scale. If Thomas was a younger brother, it would not be unusual for him to move further down the social scale.
The 18th century was a time of religious unrest and suspicion. In 1689 the Catholic-leaning James II had been replaced by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. In 1715 and again i 1745 there were uprisings to restore, first the old King James, and then his son,, the young Pretender, to the throne. Both were unsuccessful, but plots against the new Hanoverian kings made Catholics objects of suspicion, and oaths of loyalty were required in 1723. Catholicism was generally weak in the Stoke on Trent area in this century.
We don’t know where the Mayers stood religiously.
Thomas died in 1757
Burial. St Michael, Horton.
1757 Mar 3 Thomas Mayer of Parkhouse.
There is a later burial for Thomas Meyer in 1785, but our Thomas’s son William and daughter-in-law Jane were both living in Parkhouse at the time of their deaths, so this is likely to be the right burial. If so, then he was around 50 when he died.
Parkhouse is a little to the west of the village.
We have not found a burial for Margaret.
 Craig Thomber.
NEXT GENERATION: 9. MAYER