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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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ABRAHAM LEIGH raised his family in Hapton, across the Calder River from Padiham in Lancashire. We do not have his baptism ,but he was probably born in the 1630s.

Hapton, Padiham and Pendle Hill [1]

There are two baptisms for Lees of Hapton in the Padiham register around that time: Bridget in 1629 and Ellena 1636. Both are daughters of Abraham Lee. It looks very likely that Abraham junior is their brother. Pages of older registers can become mutilated or illegible. There appears to be another brother, John.


ALICE. We know from her burial that Abraham’s wife was Alice. We do not have their marriage, so we have no record of her surname.

Both of them would have grown up during the Civil War of the 1640s. This area of Lancashire was strongly Parliamentarian. Their father may even have served in the troop of Colonel Richard Shuttleworth of nearby Gawthorpe Hall.

They appear to have married in the early 1660s, soon after the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles I.

Baptisms. St Leonard, Padiham
1663/4 Feb 7  Abraham
1666 Nov 11  Joshua. FindMyPast has this as a baptism. The register is faded, but seems to confirm this. The Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project records it as a burial on the same day. It is possible that both are right, but that the latter may be a misreading. We have, however, been unable to find any records for an adult Joshua Lee.
1671/2 Feb 18 Thomas. Thomas was buried the following year, on 12 Jul 1673
1674 Jun 8  George. George was buried the same day,
1677 Apr 19  Edward

For all of these the abode is Hapton.

The high rate of infant mortality might lead us to assume that this was a poor family. In fact, Abraham was considerably more than a labourer. In 1671 we have the following document:

Copy of court roll of admittance of John Brennand of Padiham per Abraham Leigh to Stockbridge,
surrendered by Richard Lowe, of Stockbridge and Jane his wife per Bernard Parker, 27 Nov. 1671
Fine: 2s.[2]

This was a document passing copyhold tenure of Stockbridge from Richard and Jane Lowe to John Brennand. Abraham’s role was to represent John Brennand before the court as his attorney or perhaps his steward.

In 1602 Stockbridge was held by Hugh Roe . John Brennand had married Jane Roe.

Gawthorpe Hall stands on the northern outskirts of Padiham, on the banks of the River Calder. One of the entrances is on Stockbridge Drive. Stockbridge may derive its name from a river crossing.

That leads us to wonder why so many of Alice and Abraham’s children died at birth or in infancy. It may be that Alice had a gynaecological condition that caused her to give birth prematurely. Another possible reason may be that Abraham had syphilis and had passed it on to her.

As often happens, we learn the name of Abraham’s wife only at her burial.

Burial. St Leonard, Padiham.
1683/4 Mar 12  Alice wife of Abraham Leigh. Hapton.

We have found no burial for Abraham in Padiham. It must have occurred in or after 1684. He may well have lived to see the accession of James I in 1685, and perhaps of William and Mary in 1689, when this Protestant couple replaced Mary’s Catholic-leaning father.


[1] http://www.haptonheritage.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/450-1024×786.jpg
[2] Lancashire Archives DDKS 9/1. Accessed through National Archives website.




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