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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)



WILLIAM HEELIS. William was christened in the village of Kildwick, the eldest  son of Edward Helesse and his wife Thomazine. He had two brothers and two sisters, all younger.

Baptism. St Andrew,  Kildwick.
1586/7 Mar 12   Williemus Helesse filius Edwardi Helesse et Thomazine uxor.

This was the year when Elizabeth I had her rival Mary Queen of Scots executed.

Kildwick is a village 4 miles south of Skipton.

While still a young man, William left his home in Kildwick and moved to Draughton, a hamlet in Skipton parish. He had no large extended family in Kildwick, suggesting that the Heelises had recently arrived there. Half a century earlier, in 1543, a Thomas Heelis of Draughton was paying tax of 40 pence for land worth 40 shillings, which waas a sizeable holding. [1] It is possible that William was going back to an earlier family home. We do not know William’s occupation but he was probably a farmer.

Draughton [2]


MAUDE. We know from Boyd’s Marriage index that a William Heeles married Magd(alene) Currer in Skipton in 1605. The problem with this is that there appear to be two men of this name having children baptised in Skipton in the early 17th century. One is “of Skipton”, the other “of Draughton”. The first baptism for William of Skipton is in 1606, and for William of Draughton in 1608. This means that Magdalene may be the wife of the former. The burial in 1656 of “Maude Heelyes widdow of Draughton” makes it likely that she was William of Draughton’s wife.

The fact that we have not found their marriage in Skipton suggests that Maude may have been from another parish.

They were probably married round 1607, in the early years of James I’s reign.

The Skipton baptisms for William Heelis are as follows:

Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1606 Sep 10   Marie “of Skipton”
1608 Nov 12   Anne “of Drau…”
1608/9 Mar 13   Thomas” of Skipton”  bur.1622
1610/11 Jan 20   Thomas “of Draughton”. bur 10 Mar 1611
1617/18 Jan 10    Cristofer “of Draughton”.
1621 Nov 4  Richarde” of Draughton”

It would appear that Anne, the younger Thomas, Cristofer and Richard are William and Maude’s children.

There is a burial on 9 Mar 1611 for Christofer Heelis of Draughton. This is too early for it to be William and Maude’s son of that name and the burial register does not name the father. He may an adult of that family living in Draughton before William arrived.

The Heelises brought their children up in the reign of the first Stuart king James I.

William Heelis of Draughton was buried in Skipton on 27 Mar 1636/7/, shortly before the Civil War. He was 50 years old.

If we are right about Maude being his wife, then she outlived him by twenty years, dying during the Commonwealth period under Oliver Cromwell.

Burial. Holy Trimity, Skipton
1656 Dec 23   Maude Heelyes widdow of Draughton.

She is likely to have been around 70.


 [1] Gillian Waters. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison8.htm
[2] https://www.draughton.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/draughton-slider-7.jpg




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