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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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RICHARD DICKINSON. Since Richard was married in 1656 the most likely baptism for him is the following.

Baptism. St Mary the Virgin, Whitby.
1631 Jul 18  Richard Dickinson filius Frauncisci.

We have found no other children for Francis Dickinson around this time, but there is another baptism for a daughter of Francis Dickinson in 1618. Given the patchy nature of the Whitby registers this century we believe him to be the son of Francis Dickinson and Isabell Russell, who were married in 1614. There were probably other children between these, whose baptisms have been lost. Richard called his second son Francis, which helps to confirm this supposition.

Richard’s home was Whitby Laithes, which was once a grange, or outlying farm, of Whitby Abbey. This stands out on the high ground between the south of Whitby town and the cliffs above the sea. Today there are the remains of a medieval moated site, enclosing a modern farm. There was a manor house there from at least the 14th century. The remains of a fishpond have been found.

View from Whitby Laithes with the Abbey ruins[1]

 Richard became a husbandman, farming on a small scale.


JANE BIGGIN.  Jane was the daughter of John Biggin and, possibly, Elizabeth Hoggard. Their home was in Fylingdales, a cluster of hamlets south of Whitby, including Robin Hood’s Bay.

Baptism. Fylingdales.
1636 Dec 13  Jana  filia Johannes Biggin

Jane is the eldest of three known daughters. There is a gap of eleven years between her birth and the marriage of John and Elizabeth. Either there were other children, whose baptisms have been lost, or there was another marriage of John Biggin that we have not found.

The will of Edward Harrison, yeoman, in 1667 leaves a bequest to “Jane Dickinson daughter of my brother John Biggin”. The exact meaning of “brother” is unclear, but John Biggin may well have held a similar status as a yeoman farmer.

In 1637 Edward Harrison married Jane Dickinson in Fylingdales, which further complicates the relationships.


Before Richard and Jane reached their teens, the Civil War broke out. Whitby was originally a Royalist port, until it was captured by the Parliamentary commander Lord Fairfax. We cannot know what side the Dickinsons or the Biggins favoured.

They married in the Commonwealth period, under Oliver Cromwell. Marriage was then a civil ceremony.

Marriage. Whitby.
On 21 April 1656 the marriage was solemnized between Richard Dickinson of Whitby Laithes, aged four and twenty, and Jane Biggin, daughter of John Biggin of Filingdales, aged one and twenty.

The witnesses were: John Will, John Robinson, John Smith, Matthew Russell, and John Wilbourne, all of Whitby Laithes.


We have the baptisms of four sons.

Baptisms. Whitby.
1661 Dec 30  John
1663 Aug 16  Francis
1666 Dec 2  Richard
1680 Dec 27  Ralph
Ralph was buried on 4 Mar 1680/81.

Richard Dickinson died in 1694
Burial. Whitby.
1693/4 Mar 5. Richard Dickenson. Whitby Laithes.

Richard Dickinson Husbandman made his will on 2 Sep 1693.

He gave his son Francis Dickinson 20s  “in full of his filial part and share of my estate having already preferred him in the world.”
All the rest of his estate he gave to his well-beloved wife Jane Dickinson and his son John Dickinson.
He appointed Jane and John as his executors.
He signs his name with a firm, if slightly clumsy, hand.
The witnesses were: Tho: Whytchard, George Ware and Wm. Bagwith.

Evidently he had previously provided Francis with money to set himself up with a farm, so he received only a token legacy. The eldest son John had probably remained on the family farm at Whitby Laithes.

There is no mention of his third son Richard. He had probably died, though we have not found a burial for him.


Jane outlived him by 26 years.

Burial. Whitby.
1720/1 Feb 1  Jane Dickenson  Widow  Whitby Laithes.


[1] Richardson and Smith





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