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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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LEONARD CLAYTON had a son in Burnley in 1674 and died there in 1699. We have not found his baptism in Burnley. It is possible that his baptism is in a part of the Burnley register now illegible.

Or he may be the Leonard Clayton who was baptised in Whalley in 1650. We have not found a burial in Whalley for him.

Whalley is a village 7 miles west of Burnley. There was once a huge parish of Whalley, of which Burnley was a chapelry.

There were no Claytons in the 1642 Protestation Returns for Burnley, two in the outlying district of Habergham Eaves, one in Briercliffe and one in Extwistle. There were two in Whalley. The largest concentration was in neighbouring Padiham, where there were five, but we have not found Leonard in the Padiham records.

It is therefore possible that Leonard moved from Whalley to Burnley.

If so, then he was born in 1650, at the end of the Civil War, and the year after Charles I was executed.

Baptism. St Mary and All Saints, Whalley.
1650 Jun 7  Leonardus Clayton filius Henrici Clayton.

 We have found two brothers for this Leonard. John was born in Feb 1655 and died seven months later. His father was a husbandman. A second John was baptised in 1657. His father too was a husbandman.

We do not have a record of his father Henry’s marriage, and the 17th-century registers do not give the mother’s name. But on 10 Oct 1671 there was a burial in Whalley for Ellinor, wife of Henry Clayton, who may well be Leonard’s mother.

Whether or not Leonard was the son of a husbandman, he became a blacksmith.

17th-century blacksmiths [1]


ALICE. Since we do not have the record of Leonard and Alice’s marriage, we cannot be sure that she is the mother of his son Henry, and not Leonard’s second wife.

Baptism. Burnley.
1674 Jul 12  Henry son of Leonard Clayton of Burnley.

“Of Burnley” means that they lived in the town, and not in one of the outlying districts.

Henry appears to be the only child, unless there are other illegible entries. The most likely reason for this would be that his mother died at his birth. If so, then Alice would be his stepmother.

Henry too became a blacksmith, and no doubt learned his trade in his father’s smithy.

In 1690, we have an example of the sort of client Leonard dealt with.[2]

1689/90 Jan 21.
Thomas Kay of Burnley, gent, to Leonard Clayton of Burnley, blacksmith: bond in £120 to perform covenants in indentures of same date.

Ten years later, Alice and Leonard did within a month of each other.

Burials. St Peter, Burnley.
1699 Oct 28  Alice wife of Leonard Clayton of Burnley.
1699 Nov 22  Leonard Clayton of Burnley  Blacksmith

If we are right about his baptism, then he was 49.

Leonard did not leave a will. His son, Henry Clayton of Burnley, was given letters of administration for his estate.[3]

The same year, there was document relating to the maintenance of Henry Clayton by Henry his grandson of Burnley.[4] If Leonard was indeed the son of an older Henry Clayton, he would appear to have been supporting his father financially. The older Henry may have been too infirm, physically or mentally, to maintain himself. At Leonard’s death, this responsibility fell to the younger Henry, who had to take on the maintenance of his elderly grandfather.

There is a burial of Henry Clayton in Whalley in 1705, which would support this.


[1] agefotostock
[2] Lancashire Archives. DDX 591/12
[3] Lancashire Archives.  272/83. Will of Leonard Clayton of Burnley 1700
6  Lancashire Archives. QSP/843/3




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