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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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RALPH BEANE. In 1773, John Buck, who was in Tadcaster training to be a doctor, married a local girl Sarah Bean. We have traced Sarah’s ancestry back to Ralph Beane, who married Elizabeth Heighley in 1636.

Their marriage is the earliest record we have found that we can securely link to Sarah Bean. But records of this family in Tadcaster go back to 1571. From the number of entries, and the variety of names, they must have been in the town long before that.

In the 1570s and 80s, James and John Bean are having children baptised. In the 1590s it is Bryan, Thomas, Christopher, Richard, William, Robert and Bartholomew. The 1600s give us Richard, Willliam, Edward, Christopher junior, John of Oxton and Bartholomew. In the next decade we have Bartholomew, Edward and Bryan. Ralph’s father is likely to be among them, especially in the last two groups, but we cannot say who he is.

Ralph’s marriage date puts his birth around 1610. We have not found his baptism, probably because it in a part of the register no longer legible.


Tadcaster is a market town in North Yorkshire, halfway between Leeds and York. Until modern times it was the lowest crossing point of the River Wharfe. For centuries, it had been known for its breweries, helped by the quality of its water, which is rich in lime sulphate.

We know from his marriage licence that Ralph became a maltster. This was someone who extracted malt from barley for the brewing of beer. He may have worked for a brewery, or independently.

Malting  barley[1]



ELIZABETH HEIGHLEY. We have better information about Elizabeth’s birth. There is a baptism for Elizabeth Heighley in Kirkby Wharfe, a village 2 m south of Tadcaster

Baptism. Kirkby Wharfe.
1613 Jan 30  Elyzabethe daughter of Willm Heighley of Kirkby War(fe).

As its name suggests, Kirkby Wharfe stands on the northern bank of the River Wharfe.


In 1604 there is a baptism for Thomas son of William Heighley. Then in 1606 we have a marriage in Kirkby Wharfe between William Heighley and Hester ?.

It is possible that William’s first wife died and Elizabeth is a child of his second marriage. Or this may be a different William. Brothers Robert and Mychaell were born in 1611 and 1612, but Mychaell died before Elizabeth was born. She was the youngest child.


Both Ralph and Elizabeth grew up in the early years of the Stuart dynasty, which began with the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James I in 1603.

 Marriage. Tadcaster.
1635/6 Feb 11  Ralph Beane and Elizabeth Heighley.

We know from their marriage licence that Ralph was a maltster and Elizabeth a spinster.


We have found only two baptisms for this couple.
Baptisms. Tadcaster.
1636 Sep 17  William.
This was only seven months after the wedding. They must have married as soon as they realised that Elizabeth was pregnant.
1638/9 Jan 20  Christopher.


In 1642 the Civil War broke out between King Charles and Parliament. Across Yorkshire as a whole, Royalists outnumbered Parliamentarians by 2 to 1, but the towns tended to back Parliament. Charles’s overseas wars had interfered with foreign trade.

At the start of the war, Sir Thomas Fairfax held Tadcaster for Parliament. Sir Thomas Glemham’s Royalist army marched upon it and the Battle of Tadcaster was fought in December 1642 on and around Tadcaster Bridge. Houses near the river were fired, to improve the defences. Although Fairfax held a strong position, he was running short of gunpowder and was forced to withdraw. The Royalists took over the city.

We do not know whether Ralph fought in this war, or, if he did, on what side.

TADCASTER: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.

“TADCASTER, a parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 9 m. from York, 142 cm. 182 mm. from London, is well provided for travellers, it being situate near the meeting of the road from Chester, and that from Cambridge to York, and gave title of Visc. to the E. of Thomond. In the civil wars it was seized by captain Hotham for the Pt. but abandoned on the approach of a superior force under the E. of Newcastle. Dr. Oglethorp, Bp. of Carlisle, who crowned Q. Eliz. but was afterwards deprived of his Bpk. for adhering nevertheless to popery, founded and endowed a hos. and a fr. sc. here, which he called the sc. and hos. of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The hos. he endowed with a revenue for 12 poor people, to have each 1 s. a week. Great plenty of lime-stones is dug up here, which are reckoned very good and strong, and are conveyed to York and all the country round for building. Many coins of Roman emperors have been dug up here, and quite round the T. there are the marks of a trench, besides the platform of an old castle; out of the ruins whereof a fine stone bridge was built, 140 years ago, over the r. Wherf, which not far from it glides into the Ouse. There was heretofore a wooden bridge, the remains of which are yet to be seen; but when that was broke down, and the Wherf was not fordable, the passage was turned by Wetherby.”

Ralph survived the Civil War, the Republican Commonwealth and the Restoration of the Monarchy  in 1660.

In 1670 he was assessed for Hearth Tax. The number of hearths in Tadcaster ranged from 1 to 6. Ralph Beane had 2, which was the most common figure. This makes it highly likely that he was employed as a maltster, rather than owning his own business.

We have a burial in 1673.
Burial. Tadcaster.
1672/3 Mar 7  Ralph Beane of Tadcaster.
This means that he was living in the town, and not in an outlying part of the parish.

 Elizabeth’s may be the following burial.
Burial. Tadcaster.
1680 Oct 11  Elizabeth Beane of Tadcaster widdow.


[1] Alamy




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