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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. We do not have a record of Thomas’s baptism, but we know that he was 75 when he was buried in 1612.[1] This gives him a birth date around 1537, the time of the English Reformation under Henry VIII. The Skipton parish registers have only survived from 1592.


MARGARET? Thomas’ wife Margaret survived him by four years and was a principal beneficiary of his will. We do not have a record of their marriage, so we do not know Margaret’s maiden name.

There is a clause in Thomas’s will which suggests that Margaret may not have been his first wife or the mother of his children.


Thomas is likely to have married in the 1560s, in the reign of Elizabeth I. There is a marriage in Knaresborough, 22 miles E of Skipton, between Thomas Catterson and Maria Whittekers on 11 Nov 1571. There are some similarities in the naming of his children, but this Thomas Catterson appears to have died in Knaresborough in 1604. It is much more likely that the marriage and the baptism of his children are in the missing Skipton registers.

Similarly, we have no record of the death of his first wife or a second marriage.


Thomas’s will shows that he had at least five children: Stephen, Thomas, Isabell, Jane and Elizabeth. There may have been others who died earlier.

There is a marriage in Skipton in 1615 between Stephen Catterson and Mary Pettye. This could be Thomas’s oldest son, though it seems a little late. More feasible is the marriage in Skipton in 1603 between his second son Thomas Catterson and Isabel Pettie. His daughter Isabell married Edward Smyth of nearby Kildwick. Jane married William Goodgion in 1609. Elizabeth married Henry Fothergill in 1611.


In 1603, Thomas Catterson leased the site of Red Lion in the centre of Skipton from the Lord of Skipton Castle. This was the year that Queen Elizabeth died and the throne passed to James I of England and VI of Scotland.

This is the first record we have of the Cattersons’ connection with the Red Lion. There may have been older Cattersons who were tenants.

The Red Lion site had once belonged to the lords and people of Skipton and was a leper hospital. The original building dates from 1205.


It appears from an inquisition as to the extent of the manor of Skipton in Craven taken in 1310 that this was a free chapel within the castle of Skipton, and that the advowson belonged to the lord of the castle. The chapel was called the Hospital of St Mary Magdalene, and had been founded by the alms of the said lord and the freemen of Skipton for the support of lepers. In 1327, John, Prior of Bolton, was attached to answer Thomas of Gargrave, the master of the hospital, for seizing goods belonging to it, valued at 20 marks in 1306, the hospital at that time being vacant. The goods taken consisted of corn, barley, oats, and brazen cups and plates. The master claimed 100 marks damage, and the case was sent to a jury.” [2]

It became part of the estates of the Priory of Bolton Abbey, 5 miles from Skipton. The takeover was partially reversed in 1536, when the land was seized by the Crown at the Dissolution of the Monasteries and handed to the Clifford Lords of Skipton Castle.

The Red Lion was built on the site in the 15th century as both an inn and a farmhouse, as was typical with Skipton inns. It is the oldest pub in Skipton. The 16th century timber frame survives on the inside. To the rear is a large 17th century barn and a rear yard with outbuildings of the same period. Behind it lay Jerry Croft, part of its extensive farmland. This became the market place and is now a car park.


 Rear of the Red Lion showing 17th century window over door[3]


On 3 Jul 1609 we have the burial of “Ould William Wayte servant to Thomas Catterson of Skipton”.


Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton
1612 Jun 23   Thomas Catterson of Skipton aged about 75 years was buried in the Chancel.

Ages at death were not usually given at this time. Thomas must have been considered unusually old.

In his will, he left to Margaret his wife “my messuage, tenements and grounds, which I hold of my right honourable Lord earl of Cumberland”.

There is an interesting clause directed to his children. Thomas charged them to be friendly to his wife Margaret and “use her as a mother and please her who hath taken great care of me as a very honest wife could do”.

This suggests that Margaret was not their birth mother and that there may have been strained relationships between them.


Margaret died four years later, in 1616.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1616 Jul 7   Margrett wiffe of Thomas Catterson late of Skipton deceased.

This entry is followed by a circle containing a cross, which occurs in a few other entries. It may indicate a burial in the church.


At Margaret’s death the tenancy of the Red Lion passed to Thomas’s oldest son Stephen.


[1] BMDs from Findmypast. Other biographical information from Gillian Waters, http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison10.htm
[2] A History of the County of York. Vol 3. Victoria County History, 1974. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/vol3/pp330-336#p19
[3] The Red Lion Inn, Skipton, and the Catterson family http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~petyt/redlion_files/image002.png. © Angela Petyt. Not for commercial use.




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