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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)

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WILLIAM WADDINGTON was the eldest son of Leonard Waddington of Altham in Lancashire. We do not know his mother’s name.[1]

His father was probably a yeoman farmer. Though he was descended from landed gentry with a number of estates, Leonard held very little land.

William is thought to have been born in 1578 in Altham. This is a village on the River Calder just west of Padiham.

He came from a large family, with five brothers and probably sisters as well

His eldest son John lived at Waddington Gate in Altham. We have found no further information about this, but it may have been the family home of the Waddingtons in earlier generations too. It is possibly where William grew up.

His mother died in, or soon after, 1590, possibly when his youngest brother was born.

William was 16 when his father remarried in 1594. His new stepmother was the widow Isabel Hancocke, née Seller. She brought with her 15-year-old daughter Anne.


William grew up to be a yeoman. Generations of Waddingtons had been landed gentry. William earned his own living from his farm, rather from rents on his estates.

River Calder, Atham [2]


 ANNE HANCOCKE was the daughter and heir of John Hancocke of Crouckshey, born in 1579

Her mother was Isabella Seller of Whalley.

Cronkshey is a surname found in Padiham, but we have not identified it as a place name.

We know of one brother, Radulf. We do not have a death date for him, but Anne is said to be her father’s heir, so he presumably died in childhood.

Anne’s father died in September 1592, when Anne was13.

Two years later, her mother married William’s father, Leonard Waddington, who was also a widower. We assume that 15-year-old Anne came to live in Altham with her mother..


In 1603, at the age of 23, Anne Hancocke married her stepbrother William Waddington. The wedding probably took place at St James, Altham, but the marriage register is not available for that year.

This was the year when Queen Elizabeth died and was succeeded by Mary Queen of Scots’ son, James I of England and VI of Scotland.

In the same year Anne and her mother Isabel prevailed upon Richard Hancocke de Cornfield to surrender lands in the west part of Padiham to Anne.

Richard Hancock of Cornfield has not been identified, but he may be John Hancocke’s brother.  Since Anne’s father had died, it would be reasonable for Isabel to appeal to her brother-in-law to provide a marriage portion for Anne. Anne was John’s heir and Richard may have been holding this land during her minority,

Cornfield House is to the north of Padiham, not far from Gawthorpe Hall. Lands in the west of Padiham would have been close to Altham, and therefore a suitable estate to bring to William Waddington’s land in Altham.

Richard  Hancocke of Cornfield was a man of some standing. He was lieutenant of Lancashire in 1592.


 We know of ten children of William and Anne. Some were baptised at St James, Altham, others at St Leonard’s, Padiham. We can be sure these are the same family because William is said to be “of Altham”.

1603 Mar 31  Elizabeth. Altham
1604/5 Feb 10  Margaret. Padiham.
1606/7 Feb 7  Elizabeth. Altham.
1609 Jul 9  Ann. Altham.
1611/2 Mar 9  John. Padiham.
1614/5 Jan 25  Nicholas Altham.
1615 Aug 10  Nicholas. Altham
1619/20 Feb 20  Isabel. Padiham.
1621/2 Feb 24  Robert. Altham.
1625 Apr 25  Martha. Altham.

Their use of these two churches suggests that the Waddingtons lived between them. They are 1½ miles apart.

We assume that the first Elizabeth and Nicholas died, but burials in Altham are not available for that period. There may have been other infant deaths too.

In 1617 there were 28 copyhold tenements in Altham. One of these was held by William Waddington. It was rented from the lord of the manor.


William was buried in Altham on 25 April 1635.

On 10 June 1635 the will was proved of William Waddington, yeoman, of Altham. He would have been 57.

He left land and buildings in the West End of Padiham and land upon the late Common of Padiham to his sons. The land in West Padiham may have been the estate Anne brought to the marriage.


On 20 Oct 1637 there is a burial in Altham of the wife of William Waddington, first name not given. It is unusual for a woman to be described as someone’s wife after their husband had died. They would usually be designated as a widow. Anne was 58.

They had died too soon to see the Civil War of the 1640s. There is no doubt that they would have been on the side of Parliament. Their son and heir John received land sequestered from Royalists after the Civil War. Several members of the family were active in a Dissenting Church set up in Altham in 1649. John was one of its first ruling elders.[3]


[1] Genealogical information from Early Grimshaw Family History, anon. http://grimshaworigin.org/miscellaneous-grimshaw-individuals/early-grimshaw-family-history/ and Waddington, John, Who’s Who in the Family of Waddington. Wada Ltd, 1934. http://www.seekingmyroots.com/members/files/G007475.pdf. 1589 Ralph Waddington.
[2] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/River_Calder%2C_near_Altham%2C_Lancashire_-_geograph.org.uk_-_11418.jpg
[3] The note book of the Rev Thomas Jolly AD 1671-93. Extracts from the church book of Altham and Wymondhouses , 1649-1725. And an account of the Jolly family of Standish, Gorton, and Altham. https://archive.org/stream/notebookofrevtho00manc/notebookofrevtho00manc_djvu.txt






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