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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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LEONARD WADDINGTON was the second son of Ralf Waddington and Anna Ingram. His parents held land in Clayton le Moors and Altham, villages close to each other between Blackburn and Burnley in Lancashire. Leonard himself is said to be of Altham.

He was born around 1553, when Mary I succeeded to the throne and changed the official religion of England from Protestantism back to Roman Catholicism. Five years later, her half-sister Elizabeth I returned it to the Reformed Church of England, which her father had set up twenty years earlier.

Altham stands on the River Calder, on the road between Clayton le Moors and Padiham. The road crosses the Calder at Altham Bridge.

The parish church of St James was built in 1512 on an older foundation. The tower is later and the chancel has been rebuilt.

The font where the Waddingtons were baptised was a gift from the last abbot of Whalley Abbey, John Paslew. He was hanged at Lancaster in 1536 for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, an insurrection against Henry VIII’s institution of the Church of England in defiance of Rome. The abbey was dissolved.

The octagonal font is carved with the symbols of the Passion.

If Leonard was baptised there, his name would have been in the parish register, but Altham’s earliest registers have been lost. They survive only from 1596.

Font, St James, Altham [1]


While Leonard is associated with Altham, his brothers are found in documents relating to Huncote, Clayton le Moors and Padiham, as well as Altham. Leonard may also have had land in Padiham.


Around 1578 he married, but we do not have the name of his first wife and the mother of his children.

We know of six sons from this marriage, but nothing about their daughters.

William 1578. Married 1603. Buried 1635 in Altham.

Nicholas 1583.Married 1608.  Died 1640.

Ralph 1585 . On 24 Sep 1616 he married Ellen Wood of Whalley parish in St Leonard, Padiham.

Robert 1586. On 29 Oct 1621 he married Jenet Wright at St Helen’s, Garstang.. Died 1647.

Richard 1587. Died 1640

Leonard (sometimes appearing as Renold). 1590.


On 19 Dec 1594 Leonardus Waddington de Altham married Isabella Hancocke widow in St Leonard’s, Padiham. This is much too early to be Leonard junior. The likelihood is that Leonard senior’s first wife died and he remarried. The fact that his bride was a widow gives weight to this belief.

She was originally Isabel Seller, who married John Hancocke in Whalley in 1578. Her husband was buried in Padiham on 7 Sep 1592.

Padiham is adjacent to Altham.

Isabel brought with her to Altham her 15-year-old daughter, Anne Hancocke. Nine years later, Anne married Leonards’s eldest son, William Waddington.

We know of no children from Isabel and Leonard’s second marriage.


Leonard is given a death date of 1591 in Altham, but that is clearly too early.

We do not know when Isabel died.

Their lives, and those of their first spouses, were lived almost entirely in the reign of Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558-1603.


Leonard may have owned land in Altham, but he was not lord of the manor. That was for many centuries in the hands of the Banaster family.

Leonard’s forbears were landed gentry, but over the generations their estates were shared out over many sons and daughters. Without another marriage to a wealthy heiress like Leonard’s great-great-great-grandmother Alice Grimshaw, the holdings of each member of the family, other, perhaps, than the eldest son, were dwindling. It is doubtful whether Leonard could be classed as a landed gentleman. We do not have a list of estates for him. His eldest son William was a yeoman, and it is likely that Leonard was too. This was still a respected role in 16th and 17th-century society, but Leonard would have earned his living as a farmer of some substance, rather than living off the rents from his estates.


[1] https://martintop.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/DSC_0153%20%281%29.JPG?itok=ApUJ8mYM




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