William image

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)

Tootle Tree



NICHOLAS WADDINGTON. Nicholas brought up his family in Padiham. From his marriage date we should expect him to have been born around 1615. This makes it very likely that he is the Nicholas Waddington baptised in Altham, only a mile from Padiham, early in 1615.

Baptism. St James, Altham.
1614/5 Jan 25  Nicholas son of William Wadddington

His father was William Waddington, a yeoman farmer in the village of Altham, just west of Padiham. His mother was Anne Hancocke, from a Padiham family. Anne’s mother had married Nicholas’s grandfather after both of them were widowed.

Nicholas was the seventh of ten children, at least one of whom died in infancy. He was the second son.


The farm in Altham could not support three sons. The eldest, John, stayed in Altham at Waddington Gate. Nicholas moved to Padiham and Robert probably to Blackburn. Nicholas may have taken over the estate in west Padiham that his mother brought to her marriage.

We have no proof of his occupation, but his father and his son were yeomen farmers, so it is very likely that Nicholas was too.


ANNE STANWORTH. The couple were married in Whalley, so we should expect Anne to come from there, but we have not found her baptism there. The nearest is the baptism of Ann daughter of Joseph Stanworth on 24 Nov 1611 at St Bartholomew, Colne. Colne is 8 miles from Whalley. This is supported by a legacy from Thomas Stanworth of Colne.

Her mother was Anna Ingham.

She was the second of four children and the only daughter.

Thomas Stanworth, Anne’s brother, lived at Waterside, on the banks of Colne Water. This may have been where Anne grew up.


The couple married in Whalley, 5 miles from Padiham and 10 from Colne. Anne was presumably living there then.

Marriage. St Mary and All Saints, Whalley.
1638 Sep 19  Nicholai Waddington and Annae Stanworth.


Their first child was baptised in Colne.

Baptism, St Bartholomew, Colne.
1639 Aug 18  Johannes (John) filius Nicholai Waddington.

They may have begun their married life in Colne, but it was not unusual to take the firstborn child back to its mother’s parish to be baptised.

The likelihood is that he was already living in Padiham..

The country was now on the brink of Civil War. In 1641 every adult was required to take a Protestation Oath pledging loyalty to the King and the Reformed Church of England, though in practice few women are recorded as taking the oath. Nicholas Wadington was the only man of that surname on the Protestation Return for Padiham.

Surprisingly, no Waddingtons have been found in Altham. Robert appears to have left the village, probably for Blackburn , but John was raising a family there. It is possible that he refused to take the oath. It was assumed that only Roman Catholics would refuse, since the Oath was anti-Papist, but some Dissenting Protestants also refused. Given John’s later involvement with a Dissenting Church, he may be one of these.

.St Leonard’s church, Padiham, from Guy Street [1]

With war looming, there was one more baptism in Padiham.

In all the baptisms at St Leonard’s Nicholas’s residence is said to be in Padiham.

Baptism. St Leonard, Padiham
1641/2 Jan 16  William

The Civil War between King and Parliament broke out in 1642. Nicholas was in his twenties, his elder brother John was 30 and his younger brother Robert 20. We do not have evidence that they fought in the war, but they were certainly of the right age. A gap of four years in the baptisms could well be explained by Nicholas being away fighting.

He may have served under Captain Richard Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham.

This part of Lancashire was strongly Parliamentarian. There can be no doubt which side the Waddingtons would have fought on. John, in particular, was rewarded after the war with land sequestered from a Royalist.

The first phase of the war ended in 1646. This is the year when the baptisms of Nicholas’s children resume.

Baptism. St Leonard, Padiham
1645/6 Jan 3  Ann
1648/9 Feb 11  Mary. Mary was buried on 5 Apr 1671.

When the Republican Commonwealth began in 1649, births rather than baptisms were recorded. Many parishes do not have complete records for this period. There may have been more children for Nicholas and Anne. We have only this record.

Birth. St Leonard, Padiham.
1655 May 29  Jeremiah.

Burials in the 1660s show that there were other children.


Meanwhile, in nearby Altham, there were developments that affected the Waddington family, Nicholas’s brother John in particular.

In 1649, after the execution of Charles I, many High Church and Royalist clergy were ejected from their livings and more Puritan ministers installed. In Altham, the vicar Giles Clayton would probably have been approved by the new dispensation, but he died that year. He was succeeded by Rev Thomas Jolly, formerly a student at Cambridge.

Jolly found the parish of Altham “little, and its salary mean”. But he set about forming a society within the church to foster greater holiness. Twenty-seven people signed its founding covenant. They were: The Pastor, the Deacon, three Ruling Elders, including J. Waddington, Nicholas’s elder brother, and 24 members: 10 men and 14 women. These include: Elizabeth Waddington, Richard Waddington and Ann Waddington. Richard has not been identified. Elizabeth and Ann could be Nicholas’s sisters if they were still unmarried.[2]

At the end of the Civil War the property of leading Royalists was confiscated. County Committees were set up to distribute it to loyal Parliamentarians. John Waddington, Nicholas’s brother, was one of these.

On 28 July 1653 he complained to the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents.[3]

John Waddington of Altham, co. Lancs, complains that he is disturbed in his possession of the two-thirds of the lands at Martholme – sequestered for the recusancy of Lady Jane Houghton, which he farmed from the County Committee – by Lucy Hesketh, who farms the other third. She stops up the ways, pulls up the plants etc. He also farmed two-thirds of the water corn mill on the premises, but Mrs.Hesketh, being formerly farmer thereof, has taken away divers materials belonging to the mill, etc. Begs redress.

The judgement went in his favour.

The County Committee to see that the petitioner enjoys his bargain, and is quieted in his possession.

However, he was back  before the Committee in December.

 John Waddington petitions the County Committee of Lancaster that he farmed two-thirds of the estate and mill of Lady Jane Houghton, sequestered for recusancy for seven years from 1652 at £5.2. 0. rent, but was opposed, the fences pulled down by George Croane, servant to Mrs. Lucy Hesketh.
Appealing to the County Committee, he was put in possession in June 1652 by their agent. Croane, for again opposing and seising the tenant’s goods, was summoned before the County Committee 8 October 1652 and ordered to restore the goods; this he did not do, but again broke open the mill, and took away the hopper, so that petitioner has spent £2.7. 1l. in repairs. Begs quiet possession and recompense for his great losses.

 The mood changed diametrically after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Thomas Jolly was ejected from the living in 1662. He continued to minister to his society in Altham as a Dissenting Church. He was imprisoned for several months in 1664.

It was now John’s turn to be accused of being a recusant – one who did not conform to the Church of England. In 1665 Colonel Nowell ordered his home to be searched for arms. The search was successful and the arms were seized. In 1669 the charge of recusancy was laid against him. We have no record of the verdict or of any punishment.

The 1660s saw two burials for Nicholas and Anne’s children.

Burials. St Leonard, Padiham.
1661 May 30  John? sonne of Nicholas Waddington of Padiham
1665 Dec 18  Elizabeth daughter of Nicholas Waddington of Padiham.

We do not have baptisms for either of these. They were probably born during the Commonwealth period of the 1650s, when there are often gaps in the parish registers.

The Rev Thomas Jolly’s notebook for Feb 1675 records that there was :

 “a special return of prayers on behalf of sister Margarett Waddington who was in much darkness as to her spiritual estate upon her dying bed and her understanding taken from her, before I came to her, yet did the Lord restore her understanding and cleer her conditions before he took her away:also a special return of prayers on brother Robert Waddington’s recovery.”

It is possible that Margaret is Nicholas’s sister. Robert is John’s son.

In Dec of that year it was the turn of John’s son Robert to be selected as an elder of the church in Altham. “Brother Robert Waddington manifested much averseness to undertake the work but upon admonition hee was inclined to accept the call to it.”


Anne died in 1676, during the reign of Charles II. She was buried in Padiham on Mar 29.

In 1679 Thomas Jolly records that Nicholas Waddington was under admonition by the Church, for an unspecified misdemeanour. We have no other evidence that Nicholas of Padiham had joined this Dissenting Church in Altham, but nor have we identified another Nicholas Waddington.

The will of Thomas Stanworth of Waterside, Colne, was proved in 1681. He left a legacy of 20s to Nicholas Waddington of Padiham. He was Anne’s older brother.

In 1680 Jolly tells us that Isabel Waddington “died comfortably”. The text at her funeral was Psalm 119, v.92. She was the wife of Nicholas’s nephew William Waddington.

In 1683 John Waddington, Elder, was admonished for omission of duty. He promised amendment.

In 1689 the house of Nicholas’s nephew William Waddington in Altham was registered as a Dissenting meeting place. This followed the replacement that year of James II by William of Orange and James’s daughter Mary. Soon after, Parliament passed the Toleration Act, which gave freedom of worship to non-conformists (but not Roman Catholics) provided they took an oath of allegiance to the Crown. They could now set up their own meeting houses, provided they left the door open during services as a safeguard against sedition.[4]

John had died four years earlier. William was his eldest son. He may have inherited Waddington Gate, so the house licensed for Dissenting worship may be Nicholas’s childhood home.

On 30 Aug 1693 Nicholas Waddington of Padiham was buried at St Leonard’s, Padiham.


[1] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/St_Leonard%27s_Church%2C_Padiham%2C_from_Guy_Street.jpg/256px-St_Leonard%27s_Church%2C_Padiham%2C_from_Guy_Street.jpg
[2] The note book of the Rev Thomas Jolly AD 1671-93. Extracts from the church book of Altham and Wymondhouses , 1649-1725. And an account of the Jolly family of Standish, Gorton, and Altham. https://archive.org/stream/notebookofrevtho00manc/notebookofrevtho00manc_djvu.txt
[3] Waddington, John, Who’s Who in the Family of Waddington. Wada Ltd, 1934. http://www.seekingmyroots.com/members/files/G007475.pdf
[4] Lancashire Archives QSP/668/28





Tootle Tree