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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 my own as (1)



LAWRENCE BUCKE.  Lawrence was the youngest of three sons of William Bucke of Idle Mills. Nevertheless, it is through him that we can trace the ownership of the mills.

He was baptised on 28 December 1595, near the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. His baptism appears in the Calverley registers, but it is likely to have been conducted at the chapel of ease in Idle, which was another village in this large parish.

He was the sixth and last child and the third son of William Bucke. His father began as a miller, but by 1595 he had embarked on an almost obsessive purchase of land, which would see him rise to the rank of property-owning yeoman.

The year after Lawrence was born, his eldest brother, John, died.

As soon as his second son William reached maturity, William the elder began to involve him in property transactions. When Lawrence achieved adulthood, he too became part of this process. On a single day, 28 Mar 1620, we find the father and William the younger jointly buying East Wood, William the younger buying in his sole name part of the corn and fulling mills at Idle with nearby lands, and, for the first time, Lawrence’s name appearing with his father’s on a deed.

Bargain and Sale (with livery of seisin)   28 Mar 1620  [1]

From Judith Cage of Freetherne and John and Anthony Cage (sons) to William Bucke of Idle and Lawrence Bucke (younger son) of East Wood in Idle, in occupation of William Bucke and George Craven, cottages, &c.
Rent: 4d p.a.


     The map is orientated with S at the top.[2]


Bargain and Sale   28 Mar 1620[3]

From Judith Cage and John and Anthony Cage (sons) of Freetherne, co.Glouc. to William Bucke the elder and Lawrence (younger son) of Idle, of the Eastwood and a cottage in Idle.

Like his father, William the younger is designated as a yeoman.

The East Wood is more or less intact, incorporating Buck Wood, Field Wood, Hollins Wood, and the slightly detached Poggy Wood and Dawson Wood.

Two years later William the elder and Lawrence are selling property in Thorpe. This was a hamlet just east of Idle village.

Bargain and Sale    14 Feb 1622 [4]

From William Bucke of Idle Milne and Lawrence his younger son to Richard Lillie of Thornton yeoman and Elizabeth his wife, of a moiety of a messuage and appurtenances in Thorpe in tenure of Thomas Hogge and Robert Dawson, with barn, croft commons, tithes, &c.
Rent 10d. p.a.

We have only one baptism for a child of William the younger. On 30 April 1620, a daughter Marie was baptised. Probably William’s wife died.


ANNE.  Lawrence married before 1621. His wife’s name was Anne. The marriage has not been found in the Calverley registers, but there is a gap from 1607 to 1626. We do not know her surname.

We have records of one son followed by five daughters baptised in the parish.

1621 Sep 16  John   Lawrence Bucke
1628  Oct 19  Sara   Lawrence Bucke of Idle
1630  Oct 24  Dina   Lawrence Bucke
1632  Nov 11  Mercie   Lawrence Bucke
1634  Oct 9   Grace   Lawrence Bucke
1636  Feb 26  Elsabeth   Lawrence Bucke

Parts of the Calverley registers are missing or illegible. Lawrence’s will shows three more children: another son William and daughters Jane and Mary.  This would account for the long gap between John and Sara.

The fact that none, or at most one, of Lawrence’s children died in infancy is a measure of the family’s prosperity.

Sometime between Aug 1622 and Feb 1630, William the elder died. He had risen from a tenant of part of Idle Mills to become a considerable landowner. By 1630, his younger son is now designated as a yeoman. We may assume that the oldest surviving son, William the younger, inherited the larger share of his father’s estate, But Lawrence is again in a position to sell part of the family land, though he retains some rights over it.

Bargain and Sale   22 Feb 1630 [5]

From Lawrence Bucke of Idle yeoman, to Henry Roydes of Idle yeoman, of 3 parts of a close (divided into 4) called Nether broome close (6 acres) in Thorpe and a right of way [boundaries delineated] belonging to his late father William Bucke who purchased from William Grenehall, paying 2s. p.a. to said William Grenehall and 5d to the King for tithes &c.; also a moiety of Colepitt yngs and ffaltis, but these latter to be held to the use of Bucke if Roydes be allowed to hold the other premises without disturbance.

We find both William the younger and Lawrence associated with the Old Chapel in Idle. This was a chapel of ease of the parish church in Calverley, built to save the residents of Idle a long Sunday journey.

Idle Chapel was built in 1630, replacing an earlier building known from 1584. It was a “chapel of ease” of  Calverley’s parish church St Wilfrid’s. Sunday services, christenings and burials would be carried out here, but marriages took place in Calverley.

The name “Old Chapel” was given to it later, as non-conformist denominations built their own chapels.

The parish church normally returned six churchwardens annually, two for the parish church at Calverley and two each for Pudsey and Idle chapels.

We find Lawrence Bucke as churchwarden for Idle Chapel in 1616, when Lawrence of Idle Mills was just 21. This seems surprisingly young, so there may have been another Lawrence Bucke. He appears again in 1626.

The Old Chapel, Idle [6]

In some parish churches, the incumbent and his churchwardens entered upon a system of selling seating in the church, rather like a season ticket. This was an illegal practice but despite that, the parish church of Calverley, St Wilfrid’s, successfully leased its seating, or where the parishioners themselves provided the seating, charged ground rent. Among the records of seat registration for the 17th century we find:

By the consent of the Churchwardens, 1626, John Rawson of Priestropp, Lawrence Bucke, of Idle, John Smith, of ffarsley, being three of them, Richard Midgley, dwelling in Wrose, is to have a place or rowme to buld a seat or stall, on side of the little alley, toward the north Dore, against the stall adioyning upon the wall, which Rowme belongeth unto John Smith, of ffarsley, and Willm. Wilson, of Calverley, and when it is bulded and sett downe, the said Richard Midgley, is by this Regester to have and possesse vnto him and his assignes for ever.
   One thousand sixe hundreth twenty sixe, by the consent of the Churchwardens, John Rawson, and John Nettleton, being two of them, William Bucke, and Lawrence Bucke, bothe dwelling within the towenshippe of Idle, are to have one seatt as it is now placed vpon the south side of the middle alley, before Mr. Thorneton’s seat towards the chancell.

1628         Buck      Lawrence            Idle
1628         Buck         William                 Idle
1628         Bucke        William
1633         Bucke     Lawrence                        Jordinge Waterhouse seat, one roome
1633         Bucke     Lawrence                        2 seats

In 1634, he and his brother, or others of that name, are again listed as seatholders at Idle Chapel. [7]

1634 Old C hapel Idle. Seatholders
Quire or Chancell.  Lawrence Buck
South Side. Lawrence Buck. William Buck

This List or Platform doth agree with the original Paper
Draught under the Hands or Marks of Richard Welfett, Edward
Welfett, Clerks, William Buck, Robert Craven,  William Stable, Anthony Slater, etc.

It is possible that where two Lawrence or William Bucks are named they are different men.

In 1638 Lawrence  is occupying other property in Idle.

Bargain and Sale (with livery of seisin)   28 Dec 1638 [8]

From Thomas Hopkinson of Thornton in Bradforddale milner, to Richard Lillye of Thorpe in Idle, of a moiety of 2 closes Netherhole and Barrclose in the tenure of Lawrence Bucke, John Ogden and Edward Whitehead, in Idle.

The Civil War between King Charles I and Parliament broke out in 1642.

Anne died in 1643.

Burial. Calverley.
1643  5 Jan  Anne   wife of Lawrence Bucke  of Idle

The Calverleys of Calverley Hall were papists and Royalists. With the victory of the Parliamentarians under Cromwell, they suffered sequestration of their property. We do not know where the Buckes stood in the war, but there were many weavers in Idle, and Idle Mills fulled cloth for them. Those engaged in wool production generally supported Parliament, because Charles’s foreign wars were bad for overseas trade and brought heavy taxation.

In July 1644 after the battle of Marston Moor, in which the Parliamentarians defeated the Royalists, a large number of troopers with their horses were billeted in Calverley. They were drawn from all three Parliamentary Armies. Some of them were probably quartered in the parish church. No doubt the Buckes, like other parishioners, were called upon to provide food for them.

William, Lawrence’s brother, died shortly before Feb 1659.  He was born in 1588, the year the Armada was defeated, so he would have been around 70.

Release   24 Feb 1659 [9]

From Peter Sunderland to Lawrence Bucke of an annuity of £30 lately granted to him by William Bucke deceased (brother of Lawrence) issuing out of Idle Mills and Halfhall ing which had descended to Lawrence Bucke as uncle of the late Marie Sunderland; he also released all his interest and rights in the messuage and mill, in consideration whereof Lawrence Bucke granted to Peter Sunderland his heirs and assigns, an annuity of £30, plus £10 during his life, to issue out of the said mills.

Peter Sunderland was the husband of Marie, only child of Lawrence’s brother, William Bucke the younger. She had died before this.

Now in his 60s, Lawrence, who was the youngest of William the elder’s three sons, was able to take possession of Idle Mills.

“In other deeds relating to the property, William Buck the younger created an annuity of £30 on the house and mill property when his daughter Mary married Peter Sunderland. After Mary’s death, Lawrence Buck (William’s brother) inherited the mill and house, but the annuity continued when Lawrence’s daughter in turn married Peter Sunderland. When her husband died, she married secondly Richard Shuttleworth; they sold the annuity to the Slater family, who in turn sold it to William Rookes of Esholt Hall. This did not affect the ownership, but the deeds add to descriptions of the property.”

The following day, Lawrence and Peter made a new arrangement to convey the mills to two other men, in return for an annuity. Lawrence may have felt too old to manage them. We do not know the relationship of Peter and Samuel Sunderland.

Deed of Covenants   25 Feb 1659  [10]

Between Lawrence Bucke of Idle and Peter Sunderland of Fairweathergreen in the parish of Bradford, whereby in consideration of the release of an annuity of £30 it was agreed to convey to Samuel Sunderland of Harden and Edward Parker of Browsome the messuage &c. in Idle in tenure of Lawrence Bucke with 2 fulling mills on the Aire and all appurtenances, and the Halfhall Ynge, to the use of Lawrence Bucke subject to payment

Bargain and Sale (with livery of seisin)   25 Feb 1659  [11]

In fulfilment of the above.
1658/9                 25 February     Covenant concerning annuity: Lawrence Bucke to Peter Sunderland; security of:
House with barns, buildings, folds, gardens, closes, woods, underwoods etc.
‘Two ffullinge Milnes with ffoure Stockes’ called Idle Milns standing on the river of Aire. With buildings, dams, goits, floods, streams, millraces, water, watercourses; privileges; etc
– both occupied by Lawrence Bucke

Later that year, the widowed Peter Sunderland married Lawrence’s fourth daughter Grace.

Feoffment   19 Oct 1659 [12]

From Lawrence Bucke of Idle yeoman, to Samuel Sunderland of Harden and Thomas Slater of Wrose, of a watercorn mill on the Ayre and all appurtenances, being a Settlement on the marriage of Peter Sunderland of Fairweathergreen and Grace, daughter of the said Lawrence Bucke.

1682     5 October     Letter from Richard Shuttleworth and his wife Grace [former wife of Peter Sunderland, daughter of Lawrence Buck] to John Stanhope of Horsforth, offering to sell him the annuity coming out of Idle millnes  [13]

The annuity was eventually sold to Thomas Slater, with the reference to Buck Mills, but at present these references are only known from Preston’s transcriptions. [14]

Many people in Idle showed a strong non-conformist streak, and Idle Chapel passed out of Anglican hands. In 1660 the Reverend Thomas Smallwood, Congregational, became its minister. The Act of Uniformity ejected him in 1662, and although a licence was granted to the Congregationalists in 1672, the Chapel reverted to the Church of England in 1689.

Charles II had been restored to the throne in 1660, following the republican Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. On 24 Aug 1668, an assessment was made on the inhabitants of Idle, “issued for his majesty’s maintainance of the present war, to be raised in eleven month”.

We find these familiar names:

Mr Peter Sunderland                                                  £0.1.9
Lawrence Buck                                                        £0.17.11
William Bucke                                                             £0.3.0

Lawrence’s brother William was now dead. This may be Lawrence’s son, or another man of that name.

Lawrence Buck’s tax assessment is considerably higher than any of the others on the list, save for one man who pays the same. This reflects his wealth. Caution needs to be exercised, however, since there was at least one other Lawrence Buck who lived on after the one at Idle Mills.

The wealth of the Bucks is again evident in the Hearth Tax of 1672 for the West Riding. One person in Idle had 6 hearths (Jeremy Welfitt); four people had 5 hearths – Lawrence Buck; William Buck; Robert Carrock and Thomas Ledgard.  This suggests that the mill House was one of the larger houses in Idle, but it is not clear whether the hearths might also have included those in the mill building or outbuildings as well. [15]

Lawrence died in 1673, aged 79. He was then living at Idle Mill.

Burial. Calverley.
1673 2 March  Lawrence Bucke of Idle Mill   aged 79

Thanks to his father’s assiduous purchase of land, Lawrence was a prosperous yeoman, as well as the owner of the corn and fulling mills. We do not have evidence that he added to the family estate, nor that he involved his own sons in property transactions, as his father had done for him.

 The will of Lawrence Buck, of Idle, yeoman, is dated 24 Oct, 25 Ch 2 (1673) and was pr. 9 June, 1674, by Tho. Slater, John Slater, and Dina Brooke [Bucke?]. By it he wills that his personal estate be kept among his younger children. Having already estated his lands and tenements to his two sons John and William, he bequeaths to Dinah Bucke, his dau. £50 and these goods, bedstead, &c, standing in the heck [back?] chamber, four pewter dublers, three flagons, &c, and one dozen of quishions (cushions), one brasse; pott, and one little brasse panne. To Grace his dau, wife of Peter Sunderland, Esq, £10. To Jane, his dau, wife of William Topham, £20. To Mary, his dau, wife of Tho. Slater, £5.  To Mercy, his dau, wife of James Slater, £5. To Elizabeth, his dau, wife of Abra. Nicholls, £5. To William Bucke, my son, £5. To John B., his son, three milne-stones. The residue of his goods, &c, to Peter Sunderland, Esq. (after paying funeral expenses, &c)  Martin Dawson, Tho. Slater, Wm Topham, John Slater, Abra. Nicholls, and Dinah Buck, to be equally divided, and they are all appointed joint executors.

Witnesses. Samuel Stable, junr., John Pontefract. [16]

Dinah appears to have remained unmarried. She was 13 when her mother Anne died in 1643. Probably she acted as her father’s housekeeper, and was rewarded with some his best household goods.

Sara does not appear in her father’s will.  She may have been married to Martin Dawson, whose presence in the list of beneficiaries is not otherwise explained. Or she may have died young.

We do not know how Lawrence divided his lands and tenements between his two sons. Significantly, he bequeaths John his three millstones. Lawrence is always referred to as a yeoman, never a miller, but it is evident that the management of Idle Mills is still being passed down through the family.

Only, Grace’s husband, Peter Sunderland, is distinguished as “Esq.”. The Sunderlands were a leading family in Calverley.


[1] WYL500/375
[2] www.bradfordhistorical.org.uk
[3] WYL500/277
[4] WYL500/146
[5] WYL500/164
[6] Photograph: Tim Green, www.flickr.com
[7] www.calverley.info.This website is the source for information about the parish registers and church accounts for Calverley and Idle.
[8] WYL500/175
[9] WYL500/283
[10] WYL500/284
[11] WYL500/285
[12] WYL500/286
[13]Bradford Archives: SpSt/5/2/13
[14] PP/Box 5/5 (p. 47)
[15] transcript document in Bradford Archives: MMC/29, pp. 105 and 106
[16] www.calverley.info/wills_8.htm




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