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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)




Baptism. Skipton
1618 Oct 13  John ye so: of Anthonie Pettie of Calder House.[1]

John was the second child and the eldest son of Anthony Pettye and his wife Mary Jowett. He had three younger brothers and at least two sisters.

He grew up on the family farm at Cawder Hall, just south of Skipton, above the River Aire. As the eldest son, he inherited the farm when his father died in 1638, shortly before the Civil War. He was then only 20 years of age.

As a young, unmarried man, John would have been prime material for the recruiting officers when the Civil War broke out in 1642. It is very likely that he was a tenant of the Cliffords, who were lords of most of the land around Skipton. Whatever his personal sympathies, he was probably pressed into the Royalist army, as were many of the Clifford tenants. This may be the reason why he did not marry until 1649, the year of Charles I’s execution.

The Royalist Lady Clifford’s commander mounted a spirited defence of Skipton Castle. He hung sheep carcases from the walls to soften the impact of cannon balls. Skipton remained the only Royalist fortress in the North, finally surrendering in 1645.

Farmers in the Skipton area would have found their crops and livestock requisitioned to feed the army of whichever side was in control.


His mother Mary continued to live at Cawder after her husband’s death. She would have been keeping house for John and bringing up the younger children. If he did go to war, the responsibility for the farm would have fallen on her, with the help of whatever sons had escaped the recruiting officers.

Barn conversion at Cawder Hall Farm [2]



MARTHA AIRTON. The couple married in Skipton, but Martha’s baptism has not been found there. The only plausible baptism found is in Rylstone, a village 5 miles north of Skipton.

1629 Dec 22  Martha  John Airton  Yorkshire

If this is correct, she was 19 at the time of her marriage, and 11years younger than John.


John Petty married Martha Airton  on 3 June 1649, the year of the execution of Charles I.

Marriage. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1649 Jun 3  John Pettie and Martha Airton.

It was one of only three marriages recorded in the Skipton register that year. The Civil War and the subsequent Commonwealth resulted in some disruption to the parish registers.


The couple had a daughter and five sons. They raised their family in the Commonwealth period and on into the Restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.

Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1649/50 Jan 4  Mary fill John Pettie of Cauder
1652 Oct 24  Anthony fillius John Pettie of Cauder
1655 Apr 12  John the sonne of John Pettie of Cauder
1658 Oct 5  Christopher the son of John Pettye of Cauder
1661 Aug 17  William the sonn of John Pettye of Cauder
Their only daughter died aged 12.

Burial, Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1662 Apr 23  Mary the daughter of John Petyt of Cauder

Another son was born.
1666 May 20  Thomas the son of John Petty of Cauder


John’s mother Mary  stayed on at Cawder after John married. She lived with him, his wife and her grandchildren until her death in 1669 at nearly 70.


Nearly 30 years later, Martha died.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1698 Oct 11  Martha Wife of John Petyt of Caulder

If we are right about Martha’s baptism, then she too was nearly 70.

John survived for two more years.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1700/1 Mar 9  John Petty of Caldray  full oth Moon

It is not clear why this note was added. There is nothing like it against other entries.

He was 81. Apart from John’s father, most of the Petty men lived to a good age.

John was first cousin to William and Sylvester Petyt. Both became lawyers and both died without issue. They left money to many charities. Sylvester, in particular, provided for education, apprenticeships and libraries in Skipton, as well as a number of grants to poorer members of the extended Petyt family.

John’s eldest son Anthony married in 1678, long before the death of John. This is probably why we do not find him farming at Cawder Hall. We have not found the records of his early married years, which appear to have been spent outside Skipton parish, but we eventually find him farming at Skyrakes, to the north of Skipton town.


[1] BMDs from Yorkshire registers on Findmypast.
[2] https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/0e/55/74/2e/barnloft-cottage.jpg





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