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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)



JOHN HAWORTH. There is a marriage for Isabell Haworth in Skipton in 1622. The next entry for Haworth in the Skipton registers is John’s marriage in 1670. Clearly, the family were newcomers to the town.

He gave his age at 24 on his marriage licence, which would put his birth at 1645-6. No such baptism has been found for him in a 10-mile radius of Skipton.

His baptism may be in a parish whose registers do not go back that far, or on a page that is now illegible.

John became an apothecary. By the 17th century, this was a well-established profession. Apothecaries were chemists, mixing and selling their own medicines. They sold drugs from a shop, catering to other medical practitioners such as surgeons, but also to lay customers walking in from the street.

A seven-year apprenticeship, followed by an exam, was needed to join the Company of Apothecaries. It was necessary to know some Latin.

Apothecary’s shop [1]


LEAH MICHELL. There is a question mark over Leah, too. The age she gave for her marriage licence means that she should have been born in 1647-8, but the distinctive name makes this baptism credible.

Christening. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1651 Dec 19  Leah filia Henry Michell of Skipton.

There is no evidence of an older Leah Michell or Mitchell.

If this is correct, then her mother was Izabel.

This Leah was the fourth of twelve children, though one had died at birth.

She was eight in 1660 when disaster struck the family. Four of her siblings died within two months. They were probably the victims of infectious disease.

Her family were comfortably off, since they paid for their children to be buried inside the church. They owned several properties in Skipton. By 1672, her father was living in a house with 12 hearths.

John and Leah spent their childhood during the Commonwealth period under Oliver Cromwell. This ended in 1660, when Charles II ascended the throne of his executed father.

The couple married ten years later.

Marriage Licence.
1670  John Haworth, apothecary, 24, and Lea Mitchell, spinster, 22, Skipton – there.

 If we are right about her baptism, the most likely reason for Leah giving the wrong age is that she would have needed to be 21 to marry without her parents’ consent. But John had a respectable profession, so it is hard to see why they would have refused.

Marrying by licence meant that the banns did not need to be read publicly in church.

 Marriage. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1670 Apr 14  John Haworth and Leah Mitchell, both of Skipton.

Seven children followed.

Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1670/1 Mar 28   Grace
1672 Nov 4  John
1673 Dec 1   Elizabeth
1675 Apr 18   Henry
1677 Nov 6  Isabell. Isabell was buried on 6 Dec, aged 1 month. Her family paid 1s 8d for her to be buried in the church.
1681 Dec 5  Peter
1683 Sep 1  Thomas.

A year later, Leah died. She was buried, not merely in the church but in the chancel, on 21 Nov 1684, at the cost of 3s 4d.

Dawson’s History of Skipton tells us:[2]
“Among flagstones perhaps the most ancient is one within the chancel. Unfortunately portions of the stone were cut away when the heating apparatus was placed in the church, and the surface is also very much worn. The following is the inscription; in some cases the illegible letters are shown in italics.”

THE 19TH, 16[84]


Her eldest child was only 13, and the youngest one year old

The following month, baby Thomas died too and was buried on 30 Dec 1684. He, also, was buried in the church for a fee of 1s 8d.

John Haworth had a shop at 10 Sheep Street.[3] The wide High St leads up to the church and the castle. Sheep Street is a narrower road parallel to it. It is still cobbled, as it doubtless was in John and Leah’s time. This was a street of shops, an advantageous position for an apothecary. John appears in the Tenants Call Book of 1691 between John Boocock ap. and Jane Austwick widow. John Boocock “ap” may be an apothecary too.

John Haworth/Howarth had taken over the tenancy of 10 Sheep Street by 1677. We find his name in rent books for 1680, 1678-85, 1689 and 1691, with the tenancy passing from him to his son Peter Haworth, apothecary, in 1702.

Sheep Street, Skipton[4]

 We do not know what occupations John junior and Henry followed, but Peter became an apothecary like his father.

In 1680, we find a valuation for other properties in Sheep Street: “John Haworth at will. Messuage, 3 cottages, 2 barns, stable, 2 gardens, backside. 1685 Lease to Daniel Fenton.”

John Haworth junior died in 1698.

John Haworth senior had gone up in the world. In 1701 we find “John Haworth of Skipton in Craven, co. York, gent” as one of two trustees for a mansion house, with other buildings and land, to administer for Henry Currer of Kildwicke, who had inherited them.[5]

John died the following year.

Burial. Skipton.
1702 Jan 19  John Haworth of Skipton.

John Haworth left a flagon of Britannia silver to the Parish Register. The Haworths were clearly not without means.

When Peter died eight years later, he left a similar bequest. Among the Parish Church plate is a flagon inscribed “The gift of Mr Peter Haworth, late of Skipton, deceased, to ye Parish Church of Skipton afsd by Mrs Mary Banks his Relict and Sole Executrix Pursuant to his last Will and testament. Anno Domini 1710”.

The title ‘Mr’ was only used for the gentry and some professions.

Mary Banks was an attorney’s daughter. Peter had only been married for three months, and left no children.

John and Leah’s eldest child Grace married Stephen Catterson, an attorney from a prominent Skipton family.


[1] Intoxicating Spaces- Intoxicating Pharmacies?
[2] Dawson, William Harbutt, History of Skipton. 1882
[3] This, and much of the information that follows come from a notebook, detailing the people who lived in the High Street and Sheep Street in Skipton. P.G. Rowley, Notebook 1: High Street, Sheep Street, Properties, owners, tenants, Notebook, Skipton Reference Library
[4] Alamy. Skipton Street.
[5] National Archives. DDX/22/277




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