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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)

 14. PETTY


In researching his history of Skipton, William Dawson used the Visitation of Yorkshire by the Herald William Dugdale in the 1660s to trace the ancestry of William and Sylvester Petyt. [1]The brothers were born in Storiths in the 17th century, raised in Skipton. They became prosperous lawyers in London. Since Jack is descended from their sister, Isabell, this is his ancestry too.

Dawson quotes their earliest known Yorkshire ancestor as Henry Petty of Guiseley, who was buried at Bolton Abbey, close to Storiths. He goes on to tell us about Henry’s son John, who married Alice Moone, sister of the last prior of Bolton Abbey.

He goes on to say “Three generations later we come across William Petyt, of Storiths, Bolton, who married Maria, daughter of one William Petty (or Petyt) [actually Thomas Petty] of Embsay.”

Unfortunately, he does not list those two intervening generations. We know from other research that the father of William Petyt of Storiths was Christopher Petty, also of Storiths. [2] What we do not know is the name of Christopher’s father, who was the son of John Petty and Alice Moone.

John died before 1539 and Christopher in 1612. The gap is too wide for these to be father and son, confirming Dawson’s statement that there was another generation between them.

We have access to Dugdale’s first and second Visitation, but not the third, which presumably contained this information.

The continuity of residence in Storiths makes it fairly clear that this missing Petty ancestor and his wife also lived in that hamlet, which lay within the larger parish of Skipton. We can assume that they were farmers, like the generations either side of them. The likelihood is that they rented land from the Bolton Abbey estate, in secular hands since the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Storiths stands on a hillside across the River Wharfe from the ruined priory. Much of the land is still part of the Bolton Abbey estate.

Their children’s baptisms and the family burials would have taken place in the church of Bolton Abbey, which unusually had been spared demolition at the Dissolution of 1540. The early registers have not survived.

We know the couple had at least two sons: Christopher, who died in 1612, and his brother Henry whom Christopher mentions in his will. We would estimate that they were born around the 1560s or earlier, suggesting that their parents were born around the 1520s or 30s, during the reign of Henry VIII.


Back O’ Th’ Hill Farm in the photograph is said to have been built by their son Christopher.



[1] Dawson, William Harbutt,, History of Skipton. 1882
[2] 13. PETTY
[3] https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2630/5790725841_c28de82150_b.jpg




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