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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)



JOHN PETTY. His father Henry Petty died soon after 1509. Since John appears to have been of full age when his father died, he must have been born not later than 1488, the year after the Battle of Bosworth, when Richard III was killed and which brought the Tudors to the throne.

In the early 16th century, this John Petty lived at the Stedehouse in Storiths, near Bolton Abbey. This is now Park House Farm. He was a tenant farmer on the Bolton Abbey estate.

His father Henry left John his ‘father’s good sweard, bowe and arrows’.

The researcher Gillian Waters believes he may be the John Petty of Estby (modern Eastby), four between Storiths and Skipton, who was a bowman at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. King James IV of Scotland invaded Northumberland, but was defeated by the English in a decisive victory. James became the last British monarch to be killed on the battlefield. He suffered a serious arrow wound. Waters’ reason for identifying John Petty of Storiths as this archer is that his father Henry Petty left him a bow.

In those times, every able-bodied man was expected to train in the use of a weapon: pike, harquebus (an early form of musket) or longbow. Practice took place every Sunday. It took great strength to draw a longbow to its full extent. English archers were feared across Europe. If they were captured, their enemies usually cut off two fingers, so that they could no longer use a bow. The practice of sticking up two fingers is thought to have been a gesture of defiance, showing the enemy that they could still draw a bowstring.

Since archery was so widespread, the link between John Petty of Storiths and John Petty of Eastby must remain speculation.

Perhaps more significant was the bequest of his father’s ‘good sweard’. A sword was not a common weapon in medieval times. The ownership suggests a family of higher social status.



ALICE MOONE. William Dawson, historian of Skipton, also tells us that “John, the son of this Henry … married the sister of Richard Moon (written Moyne), Prior of Bolton Abbey at the time of the Dissolution.” [1]

We know from tenancy documents that the name of John Petty’s wife was Alice, so it follows that her maiden name was Alice Moone.

Richard Moone’s will names three more brothers: Henry, William and Edmund.

Gillian Waters says: “Prior Richard Moone originated from Long Preston, and most of the Moone family, present in the Bolton Abbey area in 1539 seem to have moved to Bolton from Long Preston at the time when Richard took up his vocation at the Priory. [There are no Moones in the 1473 rental for Bolton Abbey.]  Long Preston is 11 miles NW of Skipton.

The religious house by the River Wharfe is commonly known as Bolton Abbey. In fact, it was an Augustinian priory, headed by a prior. The name of Bolton Abbey is also given to the adjacent village.

Bolton Abbey was dissolved in 1539 as part of Henry VIII’s Protestant Reformation.

Richard Moone fared better than some of his contemporaries. The last abbot of Glastonbury refused to hand over the abbey and was hung, drawn and quartered on Glastonbury Tor.

Richard attempted to negotiate with the king’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell on behalf of the priory and its tenants. He was not entirely successful, but he managed to secure the right of the local community to continue worshipping in the nave of the priory church. He was granted an annual pension of £40, making him a man of some means.

There is a plot of land in the priory graveyard fenced off for descendants of the Moone family.

Bolton Abbey graveyard [2]


John and Alice  lived at the Stedehouse in Storiths. Waters writes:

“The Stedehouse was quite a wealthy grange, part of the estates of Bolton Priory, and administered by the canons of Bolton. It was situated north of the village of Storiths, separated by Pickles Gill from the village. Hazelwood Moor rose behind it, and two fields on either side called Westfield and Eastfield may denote that the fields were used in rotation. When Bolton Priory was dissolved in 1539, the last Prior of Bolton Abbey, Richard Moone, rented out the lands to local farmers to maintain continuity in the economy of the local region. John Petty’s widow Alice was recorded as the tenant at the Stedehouse in 1539, in the Bolton Priory rentals of that year. Therefore it would appear that her husband John Petty died before 1538-9.”

We know from William Dawson that John Petty and his father Henry Petty are direct ancestors of William and Sylvest Petyt of Storiths, Skipton and London. Our own Petyt line comes through their youngest sister Isabell. Unfortunately, Dawson does not list all the intervening generations. We know that John and Alice were grandparents of Christopher Petty of Storiths, but we do not know the names of their children, including Christopher’s father.

After the Dissolution, most of the Bolton Abbey lands came into the possession of the Cliffords, who were lords of Skipton Castle.










“The Stedehouse was rented to Alice Petty for a term of 41 years at a rent of £6 18s 3d to be paid biannually, in ‘equal portions’, to Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, and lord of Skipton Castle on the feasts of Invention of the Holy Cross and St Michael the Archangel. This rent was partially paid in kind. Twenty-four calves were deemed to be worth £4 rent, 50 stone of cheese as 29 s 2d, and 25 stone of butter as 18s 9d. This, however, only made up a total of £6 7s 11d worth of rent. The deficit was paid in cash, a further 3s 4d for the use of browsing rights at ‘the holles’, and the last 7s for tithes of grain. This farm was one of the wealthiest farms in the township of Storiths and Hazelwood in the 1539 rentals. It would not only have produced enough stock and dairy products to cover the rental in kind, but also a surplus which would have been sold at Skipton Market to gain the monies needed to pay Lord Clifford.”

Waters points out that the farm must also have produced enough food to feed the family of Alice Petty. There was probably a considerable household of family, farm servants and dairywomen.

“In addition to dairy farming, the family grew some kind of grain, either wheat or barley, as they paid 7s a year for the tithes of grain as well… To farm such a substantial tenement would have required a body of men and women.” In Tudor times rye was more common than wheat in Yorkshire.

These rentals were for 1539. Following the break with Rome, Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries between 1536 and 1541. The buildings were either dismantled or sold off to his friends. Henry also took over the lands and income of the monasteries, providing him with much needed revenue.

Waters tells us: “It is interesting to note that in leasing the Abbey’s property on the eve of the Dissolution, Prior Moone’s family seem to profit quite comfortably. Apart from the major landowners such as Henry Clifford, the lesser farmers who seem to profit the most are Moone’s family or related to Prior Moone by marriage.”

The churches of monasteries were usually demolished at the Reformation. Alice’s brother Prior Moone negotiated with Thomas Cromwell to secure the nave of the priory as a continuing place of worship for the local community. Though most of the abbey is now in ruins, the church continues to meet here for worship to this day.

“If John Petty had indeed married the Alice Moone, sister of Prior Richard Moone, it would have certainly helped his family acquire lands at the Dissolution. However, the Pettys had lived in the area of Bolton Priory for generations and may have been able to acquire lands through judicious marriages and good service to their lords.” We have already seen that Richard Petty and Thomas Petty held land in Hazlewood and Storiths in 1473.
“Although Hazelwood and Storiths were villages closely associated with Bolton Abbey and housed the farm workers and labourers on the Abbey’s vast estates, it is possible that these Pettys may be associated with our Petty line. Perhaps these Pettys had extended their land holdings by 1538-9 by close acquaintance with the Prior of Bolton Abbey, as the priory’s grange at Stead near Storithes was not leased until the eve of the Dissolution.
“However, these landholdings may have been of a temporary nature. By 1652 the Stedehouse was in the hands of the Cliffords of Skipton Castle who used the Stedehouse for their stockman… It is possible that the Pettys of Stedehouse also served a similar purpose for the canons of Bolton priory.”
    “Family ties with Prior Richard Moone may also have helped the Petty family increase their landholdings on the Bolton Abbey estates in the wake of the Dissolution. However, in the will of Sir Richard Moone, proved in 1541, there is no reference to Alice or John Petty.”

We know that John Petty died before 1541, so he would not be a beneficiary of that will. Alice may also have died by then.


[1] Dawson, William Harbutt,, History of Skipton. 1882
[2] http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jKnJY2a-_E8/TGGkkg7-LfI/AAAAAAAABkw/UxgDn33UoJw/s1600/Bolton+Abbey+blog.jpg
[3] https://static.artuk.org/w944h944/WYL/WYL_LU_LMG_LU_092_28.jpg





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