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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)




FRANCYS CATTERSON was the second son of Thomas Catterson and Isabella Petty of Skipton. He was baptised on 13 July 1623, towards the end of the reign of James I. [1]

Baptism. Holy Trinity, Skipton
1623 July 13   Francys the sonne of Tho: Catterson of Skipton

Francys was the third of four surviving children and the second son.

His father, Thomas Catterson, died in 1627, when Francys was only four. We do not know how long his mother lived.

In 1642, at the start of the Civil War, Francys’s younger brother Stephen fought with a troop of Royalist cavalry raised in Skipton. He was only 16.

Francys was a yeoman farmer. He married when he was 30. By that time, the Royalists had lost the Civil War and Charles I was executed. There followed a ten-year period of Republican rule under Oliver Cromwell, and later his son.

It is a measure of the complexity of these families and the frequent intermarriages between the Cattersons and the Pettys that Francys and his father chose brides with the same name. His uncle, Stephen Catterson, also married a bride from that family, Isabell’s mother Mary Pettye.


ISABELL PETTIE. Isabell was the youngest in a large and complicated family. Her father, William Pettie of Storithes near Bolton Abbey, had an illegitimate daughter and another daughter from his first marriage. He then married Isabell’s mother Mary Pettye, who was the widow of Francys’s uncle Stephen. Mary also had two children from her first marriage and another illegitimate child from the man she was engaged to marry, but who died before the wedding.

We do not have Isabell’s baptism. It is likely that she was baptised at Bolton Abbey, near her father’s original home of Storithes. From the age of the next youngest child, Sylvester Petyt, she would seem to have been born around 1642, at the outbreak of the Civil War.

William and Mary had nine children, the first of whom died in infancy. They moved from Storithes to the Red Lion in Skipton High Street, the tenancy of which had been in Catterson hands for two generations, including Mary’s first husband, Stephen Catterson, who was also Francys’s uncle. Isabell grew up at the Red Lion. She would have been particularly close to her youngest brother, Sylvester Petyt. He became a well-known lawyer in London, and a notable benefactor of Skipton.

Isabell was the great niece of Francys’s mother, another Isabell Petty, and hence his cousin.


Francys and Isabell married in Skipton on 30 Jan 1654, during the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. This was a time of civil marriage. The banns were read on market days and not at the Sunday service.

Uppon these three market dayes notice was given at Skipton that Francys Catterson and Isabell the daughter of William Pettie both of the town of Skipton did intend (God willing) to take uppon them the honourable estate of marriage and no let appeared to hinder their proceedings.

There was a considerable age difference between them. Francys was around 30 and Isabell about 12. It was no doubt a marriage of convenience, uniting families.


In 1655, Francys took over the lease of the Red Lion. This was both an inn and a medieval farmhouse. There was extensive farmland behind it. He is described as an inn holder.

The couple did not move back into Isabell’s childhood home immediately. They waited until after the death of her father, William Pettye, and of Stephen Catterson’s daughter Margaret Cookson.

In 1660, the year of the Restoration of the Monarchy, they took up residence there with their two young daughters.

Francys and Isabell had eleven children.

Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton
1656 Apr 13   Mary
1657 Oct 20   Margaret
1660 Apr 7   Ann. Ann was buried a year later, on 1661 Apr 28.
1661 Nov 24   Francyes
1662 Nov 16  Thomas
1664 Dec 26   Silvester. He was buried on 10 Mar 1664/5.
On 18 Jan 1665/6 an unnamed child of Francis was baptised and buried.
1667 Nov 15   Stephen
1669 Jul 23   William
. William was buried on 26 April 1670
1671 Jun 16   Izabell. Izabell was buried the same day.
1673 Jan 27  Frances

Only six of their eleven children survived infancy.


In 1664, Francys Catterson is recorded as a churchwarden.[2] For some time the church of Holy Trinity had been at been at work renewing its bells.

October the first – The chime (of bells) was made at the charge of the parish when Robert Sutton was vicker, being aged four score and three, and his sonn Thomas Sutton Lecturer, and Edward Goodgion p’ish clarke, and the churchwardens at that time John Staynton, Samuell Green, ffrancis Catterson, – cost twelve pounds besides expense.”

Ten years later the parish accounts record: “a new pulpit and reading-desk was made in ye church att the charge of the parish”. The entry is attested by the signatures of “Francis Cattarson, Robt Lund, and Will’m Barrett, churchwardens.”

In the 1680 valuation of Skipton, Francys Catterson held “lands by assignment” from George Goodgion. His aunt Jane had married William Goodgion. The total value of this and other lands he leased was £20. This included a house with stables and a stackgarth valued at £15 and half a messuage with one building, a stable and half a garth worth £4.

Francys’s initial F C and the date 1681 can still be seen carved over one of the fireplaces in the Red Lion.


On 1 Mar 1680/1 Francis Catterson, gent, apprenticed his son Thomas to Robert Stevenson of the Clothmakers Company for seven years.

In 1690 Francys was given powers of attorney to prosecute the heirs of Thomas Watkinson by John Wilson of Eshton Hall.


Francys died in 1702. He was buried in the choir of Holy Trinity Church, as his father had been, a mark of social status.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1701/2 Feb 25   Franciss Catterson of Skipton. Quire.


The lease of the Red Lion was taken over by John Cork, who had married Francys’s youngest daughter Frances.

His will, made a week before he died, does not mention his sons. Francys had probably made provision for them during his lifetime. The principal beneficiary was his youngest daughter Frances.



In the name of God Amen. I Francis Catterson of Skipton in Craven in the county of Yorke, yeoman, being sicke in body butt of sound and perfect mind and memory praised be allmighty God do this seventeenth day of February Anno Domini 1701(2) make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following;

First I committ my soule into the hands of almighty God my Creator and hoping through the mercy of Jesus Christ my saviour to have free pardon of all my sins. And my body I committ to the dust to be buried att the discretion of my friends and executrix hereafter named 

And as touching the disposition of my generall estate  my will and mind is as followeth.

That is to say first my will and mind is that my just debts bee paid and funerall expenses.

ITEM my will and mind is that I doo hereby give and bequeath unto Frances Cooke widdow my daughter and her two sons all my right tytles and interests which I have or ought to have of or in or to all that farme or tenement and all my lands thereabout belonging situate and being in Skipton aforesaid which I hold by vertue of a lease under the Right Honourable Thomas Earle of Thanet to have and to hold the same farme unto my said daughter Frances and her two sons their executors, administrators and assigns for the remainder of the term yett to come and expired in the said lease with all my further interest therein 

ITEM my will …….. hereby give and bequeathe unto my daughter Mary Ferrand, widdow, twenty shillings per annum to be paid to her by my executrix hereafter named yearly so long as the term in my said lease continues.

And lastly revoking all former wills by and heretofore made. I nominate and appoint the said Frances my daughter sole executrix of this my last will and testament  to whom I give all my goods and personal effects whatsoever.

And lastly I doo desire Mr. Christopher Grendorge and Mr. William Banks to be supervisors to bee assisting to my said daughter Frances in the execution of this will.

I witness thereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale this day and year first above written.

Sealed, signed published and ordained, attested by us (being witnesses) in the presence of the said testator. In memoranda that the words (and her two sons) were first subscribed in the presence of ..

John Wheatley
John Lupton
Henry Hoghton

Signature of Francis Catterson on his will of 1701


Their daughter Mary married Thomas Ferrand, headmaster of Skipton Grammar School. She was left a widow with four young children. Margaret married the apothecary William Kitchen. Frances, the youngest, married John Cooke.


[1] BMDs from Findmypast. Other biographical information from Gillian Waters. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison10.htm
[2] Dawson, William Harbutt,, History of Skipton. 1882. https://archive.org/stream/historyofskipton00daws/historyofskipton00daws_djvu.txt
[3] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~petyt/redlion_files/image004.png
[4] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~petyt/redlion.htm. © Angela Petyt. Not for commercial use.





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