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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)



In his History of Skipton, William Dawson tells us: “The first member of the [Petyt] family connected with this district appears to be Henry Petyt, who died at the beginning of the 16th century. He lived at Guiseley, and was buried at Bolton [Abbey]. His will … is dated 1509.” [1]

Guisely is a small town 10 miles SE of Bolton Abbey, on the outskirts of Leeds.

Gillian Waters, who has extensively researched this family, estimates his birth date to be within the range 1438-68. This is the reign of Henry VI or Edward IV. [2]

Waters adds: “He may have been born towards the beginning of that year range as there is a Henry Petyt who was appointed a king’s commissioner in 1471 to investigate the exact landholdings of ‘George Neville Knight, Lord Latymer, Henry Neville, knight, and Joan his wife.; – when they died, their heirs and what their lands were worth’. This marks the period when Henry VI briefly regained the throne in the Wars of the Roses and may indicate that Henry Petyt was a Lancastrian sympathizer. If this were so, it would explain the appointment of a William Petty to the Treasury in the first year of Henry VII’s reign.”

We do not know whether this was the same  Henry Petyt.


Henry Petty bequeathed his son John Petty his ‘good sweard, bowe and arrows’. Ownership of bows and arrows was commonplace, but the sword was a high status weapon, used mainly by knights. It says something about the Pettys’ social status.

Waters does not discuss this when she says: “This would mean that Henry Petty was one of those Tudor foot soldiers that could be mustered for war. Henry may have fought as part of a contingent of Yorkshire men in the border wars against the Scots, or perhaps been involved in the victory of Henry VII over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1487. The Clifford overlords of Skipton Castle fought on the side of Henry VII at Bosworth and were highly rewarded for their loyalty to the Lancastrian cause. If Henry Petty served the Clifford lords he, or his father, may well have fought on the winning side in this victory. His services may also have been required in the musters against the pretenders at the beginning of Henry VII’s reign.
“Henry Petty lived at Guiseley and may also have had lands at Otley. A George Pettie of Farnley in the parish of Otley left a will proved on 28 April 1547 … It is interesting to note that a Christopher Petty was named as an attorney in the will of Richard England of Pool in the parish of Otley which was proved on 27 November 1543. These Petyts may be related to the Petyts of Storithes, but the connection has yet to be proved.”

Otley is 3 miles north of Guiseley.


We have no information about when, where and whom Henry married.

We know from his will that he had at least one son John. Since John was a yeoman farmer, we may assume that Henry was too.


The fact that Henry was buried at Bolton Abbey points to his having moved from Guiseley to Storiths, which stands on the hillside across the River Wharfe from the priory. We find his son John living at the Stedehouse there in the next generation. Today, most of Storiths is part of the Bolton Abbey estate, and this would have been so in Henry’s time. The evidence points to the Pettys being hereditary tenants, rather than landowners.

Both before and after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, the church at Bolton Abbey served as a place of worship for the local community.

Bolton Abbey [3]

Henry’s will is dated 1509 and it is likely that he died soon after making it.

1509 was the year that Henry VIII ascended the throne.


[1] Dawson, William Harbutt,, History of Skipton. 1882
[2] http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/petyt6.htm
[3] http://bridesupnorth.com/wp-content/upload-new/2017/05/Bolton-Abbey-2-580×386.jpg




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