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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 BURNE. We have traced our Burne line back to William Burne, who was raising children in Sneaton from 1614.

Sneaton is an elongated inland parish, stretching south from Whitby on the N. Yorks coast, and separated from it by the River Esk.

The present village gives little impression of what it was like in William’s time. It is now dominated by Sneaton Castle, built in the 19th century. Also in Victorian times a new church of St Hilda was built on the site of the ancient church of St John. One of the few things that remain of the old church is the Norman font where the Burne children were baptised.

Font, St John’s, Sneaton[1]

 We should expect a baptism for William around 1588. None has been found in Sneaton or the surrounding parishes. It may be that he was born in a parish whose registers do not go back that far, or that the page of the Sneaton register is no longer legible.

He would have been a child of the late Elizabethan age and seen the coming of the Stuart monarchy with James I in 1603.


The parish registers for Sneaton go back to 1581. Entries for the Burne family begin in 1600. In the first decade of the 17th century we have Stephen Burne bringing his children to be baptised.

At the start of 1614 we have the first of three baptisms for children of William Burne. He may a younger brother of Stephen.

Baptisms. St John, Sneaton.
1613/4 Jan 18  William
1617 Jun 10  “William Burne had a child christened.”
1620/1 Feb 4  Anne

We believe the middle unnamed child to be Thomas, who was raising children in Sneaton from 1639.

We have not found William’s marriage and do not know the name of his wife.

There is no evidence of a wider extended family. It may be that Stephen and William were not born in Sneaton, but came there later in life, or that their parents were the first generation to live in Sneaton.

Later gazettes for Sneaton show the principal occupation to be farming. The parish is too far inland for fishermen. Thomas Burne, farmer, was raising children in the neighbouring parish of Fylingdales in the early 17th century.

Sneaton village stands high, with views over Whitby and out to sea.

View of Whitby Abbey from Sneaton[2]


William did not live to see the accession of Charles I. The baptisms end abruptly after Feb 1621. There is a burial for William Burne three months later. He was probably in his early 30s.

Burial. St John, Sneaton
1621 Apr 3 William Burne.

We must hope that Stephen Burne helped to raise the three children William left. He died 20 years later.

There are subsequent burials for Margaret, Anne, Jane and Susanna Burne, any one of whom could be William’s widow.


 [1] University of Michigan
[2] Cottages.com





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