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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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RALF WADDINGTON was a younger son of Robert and Margaret Waddington of Edisford near Clitheroe.[1] He may have grown up in this village on the banks of the Ribble.

He is thought to have been born early in the 16th century, around the time that Henry VIII came to the throne.

Some websites equate him with Ralph Waddington of Nether Darwen, near Blackburn, but the details do not tally. That Ralph was the son of Henry Waddingon and left only daughters as his heirs.

For the same reason, we can discount references to Ralph Waddington as a trustee of the chantry in Blackburn church, founded in 1514 by Thomas, Earl of Derby.

We have very little information about Robert and Margaret’s son, compared with earlier generations.

There is a record of Peter and Ralph Waddington appearing befoe the Halmote (manorial court) in Ightenhill in 1514 over surrendering lands in Padiham. They were fined 20 pence.

Ralf did have an elder brother Peter, and his father, mother and brother appeared before the same halmote in 1528, so this seems plausible. The only objection is that, if the approximate date given for Ralf’s birth is right, he would only have been about four in 1514. He may have been born earlier than thought.


Unusually, we do not even know the first name of his wife, let alone her surname. A Grimshaw Family History website says they were married in Whalley. [2] No source is given. Whalley itself is 5 miles south of Clitheroe, so it seems plausible. In addition, the parish of Whalley was huge, stretching from Clitheroe in the north, through Burnley and Padiham, to Haslingden in the south.

Whalley Abbey, JMW Turner 1799 [3]

But it is strange that we would have the place of the marriage but not the bride’s name. It is possible that this came from a document that is only partly legible.

We know of one son, Ralf junior, born around 1530.

The Waddingtons had grown rich in lands through marriages with the Grimshaw and Towneley families. But as the generations passed, younger sons could find their inheritance dwindling. Ralf Waddington was one of the landed gentry, but we have little information about the lands he held.

His son is credited with having lands in Waddington, Altham, Clayton le Moors and Aynsworth. The first three match the areas where we know Ralf’s forbears held land, so it is likely that these were also his estates.

Waddington is their ancestral village, across the River Ribble from Clitheroe. Altham is a village just outside Padiham. Clayton le Moors lies between Burnley and Blackburn.


We do not know when or where Ralf died. It is likely that he lived through the turbulent times of Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the 1530s, the dissolution of the monasteries, including Whalley Abbey, and the founding of the Church of England.

We have no information about where the Waddingtons stood on the issue of the Reformation. Lancaster was the most Catholic of the English counties. Ralf’s grandmother was from the Towneley family, many of whom remained resolutely Roman Catholic, and suffered penalties as recusants.

Whether Ralf lived into the 1540s and 50s is uncertain. If he did, he would have seen the reigns of Henry’s children, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.


[1] Most information is from Early Grimshaw Family History, anon. http://grimshaworigin.org/miscellaneous-grimshaw-individuals/early-grimshaw-family-history/
[2] Early Grimshaw Family History
[3] https://i.pinimg.com/originals/01/d3/63/01d363b8ccee4e582c6effe1cf0a8994.jpg




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