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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)




THOMAS CATTERSON. Thomas was the second son of Thomas Catterson senior of Skipton. At his death, his father left a widow Margrett, but there is reason to believe she may not have been the birth mother of Thomas’s children. There is a suggestion in his will that relations between Margrett and her stepchildren may not have been happy.

His father’s will of 1612 shows that Thomas junior had an older brother Stephen and sisters Isabell, Jane and Elizabeth. There may have been others who had died earlier.

The Skipton registers have only survived from 1592, so we do not have Thomas’s baptism. His father was born around 1537, so is likely to have married in the 1560s. Thomas would have been born sometime in the following years. His marriage date of 1605 suggests a birth date nearer 1680 than 1660.


ISABELL PETTY. Gillian Waters, who has researched these families extensively, says Isabell was the second youngest child of William Petty of Embsay and Lucy. Embsay is a rural township in Skipton parish to the east of the town.

The Skipton registers have not survived for the 16th century, so we have not found her baptism there. There is, however, a baptism in the village of Kildwick, 4 miles south of Skipton. Gillian Waters believes this to be Thomas Catterson’s wife.

Baptism. Kildwick.
1586 Jul 25   Isabella Petty filia Willmi Petty et Lucia  uxor

A younger brother was also baptised in Kildwick, making it likely that this is where Isabell grew up. That brother, Francis, died young. There is no record of Isabell dying in childhood or marrying someone else.

Waters says she also had at least one older brother, possibly as many as four. Only the two youngest children were baptised in Kildwick.

St Andrew’s, Kildwick


If she is the daughter of William Petty of Embsay, this would make her the aunt of Mary Pettye who married Thomas Catterson’s brother Stephen and whose daughter by her second husband, a younger Isabell Pettie, later married the Cattersons’ son Francys.

This older Isabell would have been 19 at her marriage to Thomas, not unusual at this time for a high status family. She was living in Skipton at the time of her wedding.


Thomas and Isabell married in 1605, two years into the reign of James I. Both of them were born as Elizabethans.

Marriage. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1605 May 5   Thomas Cattersonne and Isabell Pettie both of this parish


In 1603 Thomas’s father had taken over the tenancy of the Red Lion inn and farm in the centre of Skipton. Thomas senior died in 1612. A clause in his will urging his children to be friendly to his wife Margaret and “use her as a mother”, suggests that she was their stepmother and that there had been some difficulties between her and Thomas’s children.  After Margaret’s death in 1616, the tenancy of the Red Lion passed to Thomas junior’s older brother Stephen.


We should expect Thomas and Isabell to have had children in the first decade of the 17th century. We have only found baptisms in the 1610s and 20s. The most likely explanation would be that Isabell died in the early years of their marriage, probably in childbirth, and that Thomas later remarried. We have found no evidence to prove or disprove this. The early Skipton baptism register does not name the mother. We have found no burial for Isabell Catterson either before or after the births of Thomas’s children. Waters believes she survived Thomas.


Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1616 Aug 6   Anne.  Anne was buried on 13 Feb 1623, at the age of six.
1618/9  Mar 18   Marie
1621 May 1   Thomas
1623 Jul 13   Francys
1625 Dec 29   Stephen


Thomas is always referred to in the register as “Thomas Catterson of Skipton”. This means the family were living in town, and not in one of the rural townships.


Thomas died in 1627.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1627 Oct 24   Thomas Cattersonne of Skipton.

There is an illegible note after this which may indicate where he was buried. Other Cattersons were  buried in the chancel or choir of the church. The initial letter could be Q for Quire.


Waters evidently believes that Isabell outlived Thomas, but she does not give a death date. I have been unable to find her burial.


In 1642, Stephen, their youngest son, aged 16, fought in the Civil War. He joined a troop of Royalist cavalry raised in Skipton. Skipton was a fiercely Royalist town. Under the Cliffords, the castle held out against the Parliamentarians until 1645.

Their son Francys married Isabell’s great-niece, also named Isabell Pettie.

In 1665 Francys took over the tenancy of the Red Lion







Riley Tree