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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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ROBERT WADDINGTON was the son of Thomas Waddington and Alice Towneley.

He was born in the latter half of the 15th century.[1]

He married twice. His first wife was Alice, maiden name unknown.

We know of only one child from this marriage: Thomas, born around 1493.

In 1504 there was a dispute with Richard Mercer over Robert’s lands in Edisford. Their grandparents are thought to be related by marriage.

Edisford is on the western outskirts of Clitheroe. There was a medieval leper hospital here, but it fell into disrepair and the land was taken over by Whalley Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s. Robert appears to be one of the abbey tenants. Whalley Abbey lies to the south, between Clitheroe and Padiham.

Edisford Bridge. JMW Turner 1799 [2]

Robert Waddington is said to have died at Edisford, and these lands occur frequently in the records about him. If this was the Waddingtons’ home, then they would have had views like this of Edisford Bridge, with Clitheroe Castle in the distance. The bridge was an important crossing point of the River Ribble, built in 1339. It was widened in the 1800s, but retains some of its original features.

In 1507 Robert was Greave of Haslingden, a town south of Padiham.

A greave was similar to a reeve. He was a local official or constable nominated by the principal landowners to see that the laws were enforced.

Among Robert’s duties was fining an owner who had allowed their stock to eat the herbage in Musbury. Musbury is a township 3 miles SW of Haslingden.

In 1509 there was another dispute with Richard Mercer over an estate in Edisford, this time with Thomas Waddington, Robert’s eldest son.

We have no information about the death of Alice.


Robert’s second wife was Margaret. Again, we do not know her surname. They are thought to have married around 1516.

We know of four children from this marriage: Peter, Ralf, Edward and Thomas. Doubtless there were daughters as well.


In 1524 we find Robert Waddington among a small number of taxpayers in Horrocksford assessed for land, rather than goods or wages. Horrocksford is on the northern edge of Clitheroe, just over a mile from the village of Waddington. It was also associated with the Parker family of Robert’s grandmother Margaret Parker.

Robert appears again in the Lay Subsidy Roll for Horrocksford in 1543.

In 1527 we find Robert Waddington among the list of tenants paying rent in Broad Holden, a township in Haslingden.

Robert Waddington, Margaret his wife and their eldest son Peter Waddington are mentioned at the Halmote of the Manor of Ightenhill held at Burnley on 1st October 1528. At thi,s Henry Salley, Vicar of Blackburn, surrendered land to their use. A halmote is a court held by the lord of the manor in his hall.

The lands in question were Rodland and Typynhill in Ightenhill. Ightenhill spans the River Calder to the north of Padiham and includes Gawthorpe Hall.

Peter Waddington, his wife Alice and Lawrence their son also had land surrendered to them at the same Halmote by Henry Salley, Vicar of Blackbum.

Both Peter and his father Robert Waddington were elected Greaves of Ightenhill at a Halmote of the Manor of Ightenhill held at Burnley in 1532. Clearly Robert was a man not afraid of undertaking public duties.

Robert’s father died in 1530. Robert was not the eldest son, but his brother had predeceased their father. Robert was left as heir, not only to his father, but to his elder brother Thomas junior and his sister Agnes.

In 1533 Henry VIII broke with Rome and set up the Church of England. Over the period 1536-41 he set about the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Henry Colthurst of Edisford deposed in 1554 that Robert Wadyngton “did occupy a Mese (messuage?) and other lands lying in Edisford on the death of the Abbot of Whalley and Abbot Patislow.”

“Patislow” was the last Abbot of Whalley, John Paslew. He was executed in 1536.

Following the break with Rome, Henry VIII’s chancellor Thomas Cromwell sent inspectors to report on the state of the monastic houses. At Whalley, John Paslew was accused of overexpenditure, but few other irregularities were found.

In 1536 he was involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace, an uprising in Yorkshire in opposition to the changes to the Church that Henry VIII was making. Nicholas Tempest, one of its leaders, came to Whalley with 400 men and swore the abbot to the cause. Paslew lent him a horse and plate. There is some evidence that he collaborated unwillingly. A letter was intercepted that provided further evidence against him. He was tried at Lancaster, but refused to take the oath of allegiance to King Henry and was sentenced to death, along with 24 others. He was hanged at Lancaster. There is a painting of him being led out of Whalley Abbey to his execution, but this is fiction..

The possessions of the abbey were forfeited to the king and later sold. The monks were dispersed to other monasteries or to secular work. An inventory of the abbey lands found that Robert Waddington had been one of its tenants.

Edisford continues to appear among Robert’s estates. He evidently maintained his holding under the new dispensation, at least until 1543.

In 1543 Robert Holte of Studley, Rochdale, was granted a licence to alienate land in Edisford occupied by Henry Colthurst and Robert Waddington.

In 1547 Robert inherited a share in Worston Mill on the death of his sister Agnes. After his own death, it passed to his son Thomas.

Two years later, in 1549, Robert himself died in Edisford.

The same year, Robert’s son Thomas, by his first wife Alice, followed in his father’s footsteps by being elected Greave for Clitheroe.

Margaret appears to have outlived him. In 1554 we find her paying 52 shillings to the receiver of taxes.

At his death in 1591, Robert and Alice’s son Thomas held land in Edisford and Worston. He had inherited Worston Mill from his half-sister Agnes and Edisford from his father.

Their second son Ralf was recorded as having land in Nether Darwen,  a township in Blackburn. But this may be a confusion with another family of Waddingtons.

Edward was of Wiswall Eaves. This is just north of Whalley, 3 mile south of Clitheroe and 4 miles NW of Padiham. He died in 1577.

The younger Thomas also died in 1577, having lands in Clitheroe.

Robert and Margaret lived through turbulent times. They were born during the Wars of the Roses and lived to see the old certainties of the Church of Rome overturned.


[1] Most of this information is from Early Grimshaw Family History, anon. http://grimshaworigin.org/miscellaneous-grimshaw-individuals/early-grimshaw-family-history/
[2] Turner, Edisford Bridge. 1799.




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