12. LEE

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)

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ABRAHAM LEE. In 1328 Gilbert de Legh obtained the manor of Hapton, which he held under the de Lacy family. In 1388 it passed to his great-grandson, John de Legh. John married into the Townley family and took their name. The Townleys held Hapton thereafter. It may well be that Abraham Lee of Hapton was descended from the de Legh family.

We do not have a baptism for Abraham LeIgh, who was raising his family in Hapton, on the outskirts of Padiham, in the 1660s and 70s.

But we do have the following:
Baptisms. St Leonard, Padiham
1628/9 Feb 8  Bridget Lee filia Abraham Lee de Hapton
1636 Jun 25  Ellena Lee filia Abrahami Lee de Hapton

We should expect the younger Abraham to have been born in the 1630s. He is almost certainly another child of this family.

John Leigh of Hapton was having children baptised at the same time as Abraham junior. It is likely that he is another son.

We have found no convincing marriage for the older Abraham.

Before the Industrial Revolution, Padiham was a small market town, west of Burnley, serving the countryside at the foot of Pendle Hill. Hapton was a township to the south of it, on the other side of the Calder River.

Abraham’s son, Abraham junior, became an attorney, or possibly steward of an estate. Clearly the Lees were able to provide a good education for their sons.

Abraham’s children were still young when the Civil War broke out in 1642.

The previous year all men over 16 were required to take an oath of allegiance to the King, Parliament and the Protestant religion. There are two Lees in the Hapton return: Abraham and Nicholas.

A leading family in the area were the Shuttleworths. They had earlier occupied Shuttleworth Hall near Hapton, but in Elizabethan times they built Gawthorpe Hall around a pele tower once intended to defend them from invading Scots.

Gawthorpe Hall [1]

An early occupant was Richard Shuttleworth, who inherited it in 1604. He was a patron of travelling actors, musicians and circus performers, who all entertained the folk of Gawthorpe.

At the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed colonel of the Parliamentary forces in the Blackburn Hundred. His five sons also fought for Parliament. One of them, William, was killed in the attack on Lancaster Castle.

In 1643 Colonel Richard Shuttleworth led a Parliamentarian troop of just 400 men, against a Royalist army of 4000. They met at the Battle of Read Bridge, a few miles west of Padiham. As the Royalists approached the bridge on their way to Padiham, they were met with a withering onslaught of musket fire and retreated in confusion.

Richard was wounded in action at Colne. Captain Ashworth took command of the colonel’s men and saved Gawthorpe Hall by victory over the Royalists at the Battle of Whalley.

We do not know what part Abraham played in the war, but he was of fighting age. He may well have served in Shuttleworth’s troop. Since we do not have his burial, it is even possible that he died in it, though there are other reasons why burials are not found in the early registers. A number of pages in the Padiham register have become illegible.

Reed Hall, near Read Bridge, was the home of the Nowell family. In 1612, Roger Nowell was a magistrate who sent the Pendle Witches to the Lancaster Assizes, where they were condemned to death.


We have not found a burial for either Abraham or his wife.


[1] https://www.burnleyexpress.net/webimg/QVNIMTE2ODEyMzAz.jpg?width=640&enable=upscale




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