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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. Gideon’s baptism has not been found in the parish registers, but there is a Bishop’s Transcript showing the baptism of Gedion Cowp on 24 Oct 1608 at St James, Haslingden, This is 4 miles from Holcombe Brook, where we find him in later life.

Gideon had a child baptised in June 1629, so must have married around 1628. The Haslingden baptism would make him 20. This is rather young, but not impossible.

If this baptism is his, then he was born in the early years of James I’s reign.

Unfortunately, the transcript does not name his father.

Alternatively,. he may have been born in a parish whose registers do not go back that far, or his baptism may be recorded on one of the pages of the Bury register which are now illegible.

The latter seems more likely. In the Protestation Returns of 1641-2 for Lower Tottington there are just two men named Cowpe: John and Gydion. Although the list is not alphabetical, the two names occur consecutively, suggesting that they are living together.

There is a lawsuit for the same date, 1641-2, in which one of the witnesses is John Cowpe husbandman of Lumcarr in Tottington. [1] At the end of his life, Gideon Cowpe was also farming at Lumcarr. John Cowpe says he is aged three score and ten (70) years. From the date of his first child’s baptism we would estimate that Gideon was in his forties at the time of the lawsuit. This makes it a near certainty that John Cowpe of Lumcarr is Gideon’s father.

Gideon named his eldest son John.

John Cowpe says in his evidence that about forty years since he was a servant and dwelled with the defendant’s grandfather, an older John Cowpe of Ashenbotham. He had known the defendant’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father. He left this service and became a husbandman.

Gideon rose above his father’s status to become a yeoman.

We do not have a record of his marriage.


Our first reliable record of him is in 1629, when he is fathering a family in Bury.

In the early registers his surname is spelt Coupe. In the Protestation Return and in Gideon’s will it is Cowpe. This is also the spelling for later entries in the register.

Bury is an ancient market town on the River Irwell in Lancashire, north of Manchester. It’s parish was extremely large, stretching almost as far as Blackburn. We find Gideon and his family in Lower Tottington one of the rural townships to the north.

One of the most northerly townships was Cowpe-Lench. The name may indicate where the Cowpe family came from.

At the time of his death Gideon was living in the hamlet of Holcombe Brook, in the manor of Tottington. Tottington was an ancient royal manor, which included the village of Bury, though by Gideon’s time, Bury had grown to become the dominant town.

Tottington remained a small agricultural settlement surrounded by open farmland and hunting grounds, where deer and wild boar were found. It lay in the northern part of the parish of Bury. St Mary the Virgin in Bury was the mother church, but there was a chapel of ease in Holcombe.


ALICE. It is not until Gideon draws up his will in 1681 that we learn that his wife’s name is Alice.

Since we do not have a record of their marriage, we do not know her surname or parish of origin.


It is likely that Gideon and Alice married in the late 1620s. We have not found a marriage for them. It may have taken place outside Bury.

We often find a wife’s name at her burial, but we do not have burial records for Bury going back this far.


Gideon and Alice had at least 7 children baptised, probably at Holcombe, where the chapel appears to have been maintained by the inhabitants. They are entered in the register for St Mary the Virgin, Bury.

Baptisms. St Mary the Virgin, Bury.
1629 Jul.  John.
It would seem that John did not survive. There is a burial in the same year for a child of Gideon Coupe of Holcombe.
1630 Oct  Alison
There is a similar burial record for a child of Gideon Coupe in 1630. We assume this is Alison.
1632 Jul  Anne
We know that Gideon had a daughter Alice, but in his will she is placed after Anne. There must be a missing baptism after 1632
1635 May  Catherine
1639 Jun  Gideon
In 1640 there is a burial for another child of Gideon Coupe. This is probably the first Catherine, since her name is repeated two years later.
1642 Jun 6  Catherine. The father’s name has been transcribed as Gillian. This is probably a misreading of Giddian, a spelling that recurs later.
1646 Feb 15  Dorothy.

Later generations typically spelt their surname Cowpe, but here the spelling is Coupe.

We know from Gideon’s will that there was a younger daughter Elizabeth.  There is a baptism for Elizabeth daughter of Gideon Cowpe in 1666. But this is 20 years after Dorothy’s birth and nine months after the marriage of Gideon junior. She is almost certainly the daughter of the latter.

There is no mention of John or Catherine in Gideon’s will. We believe John may have died in infancy, We do not know whether the second Catherine lived to be an adult.

It is not certain whether the later children were baptised at Holcombe. In 1650 the commissioners found Holcombe Chapel vacant “for want of maintenance”. They recommended that it be made into a parish church, though this did not happen until the following century. It was, however, brought back into use. From the time of the Restoration it was served by a curate.


In the 1641 Protestation Return for Lower Tottington, taken shortly before the Civil War, we find John Cowpe and Gydion Cowpe, whom we believe to be father and son living together at Lumcarr. John was then 70, so doubtless Gideon had taken on the heavier work of the farm.

In Caterfield Hamlet, Bury, we have Henry Cowpe, John Cowpe, Fran: Cowpe, another John Cowpe, another Henry Cowpe. In Shuttleworth Hamlet there is Roger Cowpe, and in Ratcliffe there is yet another John Cowpe and Thos: Cope. It is likely that these Cowpes are related, though we do not know how closely.

There is a return for Cowpe Hamlet, but no Cowpes live there.


Gideon and Alice were raising their family before and during the Civil War of 1642-9.

We have no information about which side the Cowpes took. Most Lancashire towns were pro-Parliament, but Bury was deeply divided. Nor was it simply a case of cloth workers tending to be Puritan and Parliamentarian, and the farming community more traditionally High Church and Royalist. In Bury, the Presbyterian elders were predominantly yeoman farmers like Gideon.

The nobility and gentry of the county were overwhelmingly Royalist, but 60 of the Earl of Derby’s tenants in Bury and Pilkington not only refused to render him military service but  “joyned with the wel affected in and about Manchestr, serving the Parliamt ffaithfully”.[2]

By 1644 Bury was in the hands of the Royalists. the After the storming of the Parliamentary stronghold of Bolton, where over 1000 defenders and civilians were killed, Prince Rupert’s army rested at Bury.

In 1648, a Royalist force fleeing the Battle of Ribblesdale, took shelter in the ruins of Bury Castle. This was completely destroyed by a pounding from Parliamentary canons before the defenders  submitted. Only a wall a few courses high remains.

Both Gideon and Alice lived to see the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles II in 1660.

Although we do not have his burial, we know when Gideon died. His will was written on 14 Oct 1681, when he was already ill, and proved on Apr 15 1682.

At the time he was a yeoman farming at Lumcarr, Tottington, where we find his father John Cowpe as a husbandman in 1641-2.

Lumb Carr Farmhouse is in the hamlet of Holcombe Brook, a little way south of Ramsbottom. It is on the left of Lumb Carr Road, just north of the junction with Bolton Road. The present building is thought to be 18th century, but probably replaces the farmhouse where Gideon and Alice lived.

View from Lumb Carr Farm [3]

 This may be where Gideon was born.

 In his will Gideon commends his spirit to God and his body to Christian burial.

For his worldly goods, he wishes his personal estate to be divided into three equal parts. The first part goes to his wife Alice. The second part is to be divided equally between his children Gideon, An, Alice, Dorothy and Elizabeth. After his debts are discharged and his funeral expenses paid, the remainder of the third part is to be divided equally between his daughters.

The rest of the will concerns the surrender of properties (termination of the lease). Gideon surrenders the lease of Woodhey in the manor of Tottington to the lord of the manor of Tottington. This consists of a messuage, barn, four acres of  land, a cottage and garden with a parcel of land. Woodhey lies to the east of Holcombe Brook, not far from Lumb Carr. The money obtained from the surrender is to be administered by the feoffees John Bridge, Thomas Howarth and Gideon junior, who are to hold the proceeds in trust. From this, Gideon junior is to pay his four sisters equal shares in a sum of £20 over a four year period. The rest is for his own use.

The second concerns the surrender by Lawrence Rawstourne of Newhall of a messuage, other buildings and 20 acres of ancient copyhold land, one horsegrass on Holcombe Moor and Turbery with all ways, waters and watercourse, orchards, gardens, folds, edifices, herbage on the waste at Holcombe Brook, with their appurtenances, known as Lumcarr. The copyhold lease is for Gideon Cowpe, with succession for the lives of John Cowpe, Gideon Cowpe junior and Elija Scholefeild, son of Edmund Scholefield.

John Cowpe may be Gideon’s father, or his elder son, who predeceased him. The second named is Gideon’s younger son. Elija Scholefield is his grandson. Gideon’s daughter Alice married Edmund Scholefield in 1662.

In 1609 the curate of Holcombe Chapel was Thomas Scholefield. He may be related.

At the time of his death Gideon was living at Lumcarr. He leaves the house and garden, half its barn and fold, and a third of its lands and tenements to his wife Alice for her lifetime. The remainder goes to Gideon junior.

He appoints his wife and son as executors.

He signs the will with his mark, which appears to be a G.

The witnesses are Thomas Nabbs, Amos Aysworth and John Warburton Clerk (clergyman).


Gideon was probably around 80 when he died.

The following inventory shows the extent of his property.

A true inventory of all the Goods Cattell &Chatells of Gideon Cowpe Senr late of Tottington in the parrishe of Bury & County of Lancs yeoman deceased. Taken the seventh day of ffebruary Anno Dm 1681-2.

Imprimis: Two old horses & a Colt with packsadles                                           04: 0: 00
Item. Foure Cowes                                                                                                    10: 00: 00
Item. One other Cowe & three Calves                                                                    03: 06: 08
Item. Three bullocks                                                                                                 08: 00: 00
Item. Seven yong beasts                                                                                         10: 13: 04
Item. Two Cowes more & three Cowes more                                                        09: 15: 00
Item. In hay & straw                                                                                                   03: 10: 00
Item: In winnowed corne                                                                                           07: 00: 00
Itm. Four sheep 15s. Two flitches of Bacon 1.06.08.                                           02: 01: 08
Itm. In Meale & Malt                                                                                                   01: 07: 00
It. A bedstid & bedding & lynen, with a Chest & truncke in the Lower Parlor   03: 00: 00
It. Another bedstid & bedding in the upper parlor                                                03: 00:00
It. An Arke, a Chest & two litl Trests                                                                       01: 04: 00
It. A bedstide & one bolster                                                                                     00: 06: 00
It. A paire of bedstides & bedding in the loft belowe                                          00: 06: 00
It. In woollen Yarne & wool                                                                                      01: 04: 00
It. A Cupboard                                                                                                            02: 00: 00
It. A table & trest 6s 08d. An Arke & two chests 1l                                              01: 06: 08
It. In pewter 1l  15s. In brasse 3l 10s                                                                     05: 05: 00
It. A pair of Loomes with furniture                                                                         00: 16: 00
It. In Chayres & stooles 7s. A dozen of Quishions 6s                                         00: 13: 00
It. In Butter & Cheese                                                                                                01: 05: 00
It. In wooden vessels 13s 4d. In earthen vessels 3s 4d                                      00: 16: 08
It. Scales & Measuring 3s. Backstone, bakebread & spittle 18d                        00: 04: 06
It. Fyre iron, tongs, dripping pan, Chafeing dish, spitt
Chopping knives, frying pan &c                                                                              00: 11: 00
It. In Loose boards 2s, iron teames & treases 10s                                               00: 12: 00
It. A spade, hacke & other worklooms                                                                    00: 07: 06
It. 2 plows & irons 8s, An Arke & hogshead 5s                                                      00: 13: 00
It. In sacks & pokes 10s, harrows & yoke 18s                                                        01: 08: 00
It. Sleds, ladders, pitchforks & stone troughs                                                        00: 07: 06
It. A Cartsadle & other horsegear, Wounteys & Oreleys                                       00: 04: 00
It. Spinning wheels & other huslement                                                                   00: 02: 06
It. In Money & the Decedents Apparrell                                                                  03: 00: 00
Itm. Oweing by bonds from Ester Wiglesworth & Margaret Gorton                  02: 00: 00
It. Oweing by Joseph Emerson                                                                                11: 00: 00
It. Oweing by Arthur Kaye & Robert Haworth                                                         20: 00: 00
It. Oweing by Anne Spencer the Deced[en]ts daughter                                        01: 00: 00
It. By Dorothy Booth                                                                                                    01: 18: 06
It. By Abraham Marsden                                                                                             02: 08: 06
It. By Edward Gathorne                                                                                                01: 05: 03
It. By John Warburton of Stubbings Clerke                                                              07: 10: 00
It. The reversion of a terme in a tenement in Shuttleworth called Rogers Gryme
& yet unexpired                                                                                                             24: 00: 00

Sum[m]atotal[is] 159l 08s 3d     Apprized by us

15 Apr 1682                                     Tho: Browne
Tho: Nabbes
Richard Duerden
John Bridge

Some of the terms are obscure. They may be local dialect.

An arke is a wooden chest. A trest is probably a trestle. A backstone may be a bakestone, similar to a griddle. A bakbrade is a board use to prepare bread, etc. A team can mean a harness. A trease has not been identified. Perhaps it is trace, as in horse harness. A wountey is probably a wanty, a rope put round a horse’s belly to attach it to a cart. An oreley is an unidentified item of horse-gear. Huslement is hustlement, an article of furniture or household goods.

Gideon was not rich, but comfortably off. He was able to lend over £47.

Roger Grym, who holds the tenement in Shuttleworth, is the husband of Gideon’s daughter Anne.


We learn from his will that Alice outlived him. We do not know when she died.

In 1685 there is a surrender by a number of people, headed by Lawrence Rawstorne of Newhall, esq., who was named in Gideon’s will, of a large list of properties. They include “messuage and 18 ac. called Lumcarre late in the tenure of Gideon Coupe, decd., and now of Thomas Goolding of Pendlebury, gent.”[4]

We do not know if Alice and Gideon junior continued to live there under the terms of the copyhold lease.


[1] National Archives: DL 4/99/18  Greenhalgh v Cowpe.
[2] B.C. Blackwood, “Parties And Issues In The Civil War In Lancashire”. https://www.hslc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/132-7-Blackwood.pdf
[3] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Converted_farm_Lumb_Carr_road_-_geogrh.org.uk_-_372259.jpg
[4] Lancashire Archives. DDFO 42/3. Surrender for £1500. 2 Apr 1685.




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