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)

Bray Tree



GILBERT ANNINGSON was a yeoman. He probably came from yeoman stock, but we are unable to trace his parents. The Whitby registers go back to 1608. Gilbert first comes on the scene when he had a son baptised in 1609, the second year of the registers. His own baptism would be in the last quarter of the 16th century, too early for these registers.

The impression we have is that he was the only Anningson having children baptised in Whitby in the early 17th century, so he may have come from another parish whose early registers have also been lost, though we have the wills of four Anningsons living in Whitby in the 1550s.

The same is true for his marriage, which is likely to have been near the start of the century, too early for the registers. We know that he remarried in 1629, but we have no record of Anningson burials earlier than that, so we cannot guess his first wife’s name.

Gilbert and his wife had at least six children baptised in Whitby. In the following years there is a marriage for Dorothie Anningson. In the absence of evidence for another Anningson family, it is likely that she is the child of this same couple, born before the start of the registers in 1608.

Baptisms. Whitby.
1609 Dec 3  Gregorie
1612 Apr 28  Joseph
1614 Apr 17  Elizabeth
1616 Jul 28  Mary
1619 Oct 31  Isaac
1622 Jun 18  Anne

In later years, the surname was commonly written as Annison, but in the earlier records it is always Anningson, or a variant of this containing a g.

Whitby stands either side of the mouth of the River Esk. The older part is the East Cliff, with St Mary’s church and the ruins of the Benedictine abbey on the cliff above.

The church where the children were baptised is reached by a long flight of steps from the cobbled streets below.

As well as being a port, Whitby is also known for some of the finest jet in the world that can be found on the beach. Jewellery crafted from Whitby jet has been found from as far back as the Bronze Age.

The Anningsons were a family of some standing in Whitby, On the east bank, Sandygate and Church Road run parallel with the river. Connecting them is a narrow side street of some antiquity, now known as Ellerby Lane, but formerly Anningson’s Lane. It took its name from the people who lived there.

Ellerby Lane, formerly Anningsons Lane, Whitby[1]

But Gilbert and his wife farmed outside the town of Whitby. In 1657 the will of his landlord William Cleaveland, gent, lists “lands in the occupation of Isaac Anningson in Ruswarpe”. This was two years after Gilbert’s death, and may reflect the place where he had farmed.

Ruswarp lies a mile south of Whitby, on the edge of steep hill leading down to the River Esk.

He had substantial house, with a “great parlour” and bedchambers over it, including a “best chamber”. There was wainscotting in at least one room.

Gilbert was particularly proud of his “great table”, bedstead and ceiling and wished his grandson Gregory to keep them as family heirlooms.

Gilbert was not himself classed as a gentleman, but he numbered at least one of the gentry as his “very loving friend and neighbour”.

Although Gilbert was a farmer, none of his three sons followed in his footsteps. Joseph and Isaac became ship’s captains, and Gregory was a deputy searcher working for the Customs House.

Sometime before 1629, Gilbert’s first wife died. He married again.

Marriage. Whitby.
1629 Sep 17  Gilbert Anningson and Maudlen Couper.

Probably Maudlein was a widow.

We come across Gilbert’s son Gregory in 1639.[2] He was now overseeing ships using the port of Whitby.

“Henry Warmouth, Francis Wynne, Gregory Anningson. v. Richard Scarth: Port of Whitby, in the county of York. Resistance made by defendant to the execution of the offices of searchership and deputy searchership in the port.: York.”

Searchers worked for the Customs House, overseeing cargoes. Richard Scarth was evidently unwilling to have his ship searched.

Whitby was known to be a haunt of smugglers, who often dodged the Customs men in the narrow lanes of the old town.

A year later, Gregory died.

The present Market Place in Whitby opened in 1640, when it replaced an older one on the west bank. The new one stands on the east bank at the end of Church Street, not far from Anningson’s Lane.

Gilbert lived to see the Civil War of 1642 to 1649, ending in the execution of Charles I. In his will he speaks of his life as “my Pilgrimage” and leaves money to pay the Minister to preach a sermon at his burial. This suggests that he may have had Puritan leanings. If so, then he would have supported the Parliamentarian cause.

He died in 1655, during the Republican Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.

Burial. Whitby.
1655 Dec 26  Gilbert Anningson.

At time of his death he owned a substantial dwelling house and three nearby cottages.

Only three of his six known children are named in his will – Elizabeth, who was married to George Goddard and living in York, Joseph and Isaac. We assume that the others had died.

Wills were often written when the testator was ill and realised that death was approaching. Gilbert says that he is “in good health” and is only making his will because he is calling to mind the mortality of man and how few the days of my Pilgrimage here may be. Yet he died a month later.

He appoints his wife Maudlein (Magdalen) and his son Isaac as his executors.

He leaves Maudlein his dwelling house and three cottages, together with stables, garths and the income from them for her lifetime. Out of this income she is to pay his daughter Elizabeth Goddard 20s every August. Maudlein will be responsible for keeping these houses in good repair.

After Maudlein’s death, the dwelling house, with its great parlour and chamber over it, will pass to his grandchild, Gregory Anningson, son of Isaac, who is to pay Elizabeth £7.10s.

Two of the cottages, with a stable and back garth, will go to another grandchild, Alice, daughter of Joseph Anningson. She too is to pay Elizabeth £7.10s.

Maudlein is to be paid £3.10s and two cows, with whatever fodder is there at the time, and all the food and fuel. She is also to have most of the furniture for her lifetime. An exception is made for the great table and bedstead, which are to go to Gregory, along with the “Seileing”.  This may be a moulded plaster ceiling. It is Gilbert’s wish that these remain as heirlooms.

Elizabeth, Alice. Gregory and Isaac’s two daughters Elizabeth and Ann, each receive £3.10s.

Elizabeth Goddard’s husband George gets Gilbert’s best suit of clothes.

There are bequests of 5s to Henry and Margaret, children of Richard Linskell of Bagdale, tanner.

To the poor of Whitby he gives 20s.

There is also 10s for the parish clerk and the bellringers who toll the bells at his decease, as well as 10s for the minister who preaches a sermon at his burial.

Maudlein gets a third of all the goods, chattels, debts, credits, etc, not otherwise disposed of. The remaining two thirds are to be divided equally between Elizabeth, Joseph and Isaac.

He appoints his “very loving friends and neighbours” William Cleaveland and William Jackson, draper, as supervisors of the will to assist his executors. William Cleaveland was a gentleman and Attorney of the Common Bench at Westminster. In a nice touch, he leaves them each 6s 8d as a token of his love, to buy a ring to wear for his sake. It is very likely that the stone in such a ring would be Whitby jet.


In the name of God Amen. I Gilbert Anningson of Whitby in the County of York yeoman being in good health and perfect memory praised be God yet calling to mind the mortality of man and how few the days of my Pilgrimage here may be and being desirous to dispose of the estate which it hath pleased God to give mee Do this nineteenth day of November in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand six hundred fifty and five make this my last will and testament in manner and forme following. And of the same will and testament I do hereby make and appoint Maudlein my wife and Isaack Anningson my sonne executors. And first I give and bequeath to the said Maudlein my wife all that messuage or tenement with its appurtenances in Whitby aforesaid wherein I now dwell together with all the three cottages or tenements now in the tenure of occupation of ?Gavin Noble mariner William Smalls and John Mathews and the stable and two little garthes or backgarthes to my said messuage or tenement belonging or appurtayning to have and to hold the same and every of them and the rents and profits thereof to take have and remaine to her now and so forward during the tyme of her natural life and my will is that after my decease she shall pay yearly fourth of the profits of the said premisses to Elizabeth my daughter now wife of George Goddard of the city of Yok twenty shillings upon the five and twentieth day of August during the life of the said Maudlein if the said Elizabeth shall soo long live. And my will is that she the said Maudlein at her charge shall repaire the said messuage or tenement and other the aforesaid houses with thatch and walling during her natural life. And after her decease I give and bequeath the said messuage and tenement wherein I now dwell together with the great parlour and the chamber over it and the upper part of the yard as it is now walled in and divided on the backside of the said messuage with the wainscot and seiling in and about the said messuage parlour chamber and all the appurtenances to Gregory Anningson my Grandchild sonne of Isaacke Anningson and to his heires for ever provided that he the said Gregory his heires guarantors or assigns shall and doo pay unto the said Elizabeth Goddard the sum of seven pounds ten shillings at the end of six months next after the death of the said Maudlein my wife in case the the said Elizabeth be then living. Also after the death of Maudlein my said wife I give and bequeath to Alice Anningson my grandchild daughter of my sonne Joseph Anningson two of the aforesaid cottages or tenements neare to my said dwelling house now in the generall tenure and occupation of the said William Smales and John Mathews and the stable thereto adjoining and also the little garth on the backside thereof as the same is walled in and divided to have and to hold the same to her the said Alice Anningson for and during the terme of her natural life and after to the heires of her body lawfull begotten and for want of such issue to the right heires of mee the said Gilbert Anningson for ever provided shee the said Alice and her heires garantors or assigns shall and doo pay or range to be paid to Elizabeth Goddard my said daughter the sum of seven pounds ten shillings of like lawfull English money at the end of six months next after the decease of Maudlein my said wife if the said Elizabeth be then living. And in case the said Gregory and the said Alice their or either of their heires garantors or assigns shall or doo fail to pay to the said Elizabeth the said generall sums soo by won or bequeathed as aforesaid then my will is that my said executors aready named in this my will shall hold and injoy the said premisses until they have satisfied the said sumes together with the interest for the same out of the rents issues and profits of the said premisses. Allsoe I give to Maudlein my said wife three pounds and ten shillings in money and two cowes together with what hay or ffodder I shall have in or about the field or fields house which I farme of William Cleaveland of Whitby aforesaid Gentleman att the tyme of my decease and all the corne beefe fish and other victuall and all the coales and other fewell which shall be in and about my now dwelling house at the tyme of my decease. And my will and mynd is that my said wife shall have the use of all my bedsteads tables chairs stooles cupboards forms and all the wooden vessels in and about my said house for and during of her natural life. Allsoe I give and bequeath to my said Grandchild Gregorie Anningson the great table and the bedstead now in the best chamber. And my will is that they and the Seileing about my now dwelling house may remayne as heirlooms in the said house. Allsoe I give and bequeath to the said Elizabeth Goddard my daughter three pounds ten shillings in money. And to the said Grandchild Alice Anningson three pounds ten shillings. And to the said Gregory Anningson my Grandchild three pounds and ten shillings. Also to Elizabeth and Ann Anningson daughter of the said Isaacke Aningson my Grandchildren three pounds and ten shillings to each of them. Allsoe I give to the said George Goddard my best suite of clothes which I shall leave at my decease. Allsoe I give to Henry Linskell and to Margaret Linskell children of Richard Linskell of Bagdale Tanner ffive shillings to each of them. Allsoe I give to the poore of the parish of Whitby aforesaid twenty shillings to be disposed of as my executors shall think fit or appoint. Allsoe I give to the parish clerke and to the ringers that shall ring at my decease ten shillings. Allsoe I give to the Minister that shall preach at my burial ten shillings. Allso I give to Maudlein my wife a full third part of all my goods chattels debts rights and credits not formerly bequeathed and disposed of. And as for the other two third parts of my goods chattels rights and credits not hereby disposed of I give and bequeath the same to Joseph my sonne and Isaacke and the said Elizabeth Goddard my daughter to be equally divided amongst them. And lastly I hereby constitute and make the said William Cleaveland and William Jackson of Whitby aforesaid Draper my very loving friends and neighbours supervisors of this my last will and testament desiring them and being confident that they will be ayding and assisting to my executors to see that this my last will be carefully performed according to the true meaning thereof. And I give six shillings and eight pence to each of them as a testimony of my love to buy a ring to weare for my sake to be paid by my executors. And I do hereby revoke annul and make voyd all former wills and testaments by me formerly made. In testimony whereof I hereunto sett my hand and seale the nineteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred fifty and five first above written. Gilbert Aningson,

Read sealed signed and published in the presence of Hannah Bagwith Mary Cleaveland John Kirke William Jackson William Cleaveland.

 This will was proved att London before the Judges for probate of wills and granting administration lawfully authorised the ninth day of ffebruary in the yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred and ffifty ffive English stile by the oaths of Magdalen Aningson the Relict and Isaacke Aningson the sonne executors named in the said will to who administration was committed of all and singular the goods chattels and debts of the said deceased they being ffirst sworn by Commission well and truly to administer the same.

 * Until 1752 Britain kept the Julian calendar, in which the new year begins on March 25. By modern reckoning, this will was proved in February 1656.

Throughout the will the surname is written Anningson


[1] On the Market. Ellerby Lane, Whitby.
[2] National Archives. E 134/14Chas1/Mich33,




Bray Tree