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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)


 ROBERT PARKER was known as Robert Parker of Radholme Park. He was a younger son of Richard Parker of Browsholme in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. His mother may have been Agnes Foulscales.

In the late 1300s Robert’s father built the original Browsholme Hall, a short distance from the present Elizabethan mansion. Robert may have been the first of the family to be born there. It is not certain whether the hall was complete when his elder brother Edmund was born in 1390.

The Parkers were hereditary keepers of the royal deer park of Radholme. Their duties were to preserve the park for hunting and to enforce forest law forbidding other people to take game there.

When their father died, it was the older brother Edmund who inherited Browsholme Hall.

On 20 Oct 1434  Robert Parker was appointed keeper of Radholme, by Letters Patent.

The park keeper was a person of considerable status in medieval times, appointed by the monarch, and responsible to the Master Forester of Bowland and/or the Duchy Receiver for Lancashire and Cheshire. In this case, the master forester was Sir Willliam Ashton.

The keeper was responsible for maintaining the pale (boundary) and protecting the deer from poachers, as well as organising the hunt. He, or his staff, would take a daily round of the park to check on the boundary and the deer. In winter they would feed the deer, often outside the lodge where the keeper may have resided in winter time. The lodge would variously be used for accommodation, shelter and meals whilst hunting took place in the park.

At Radholme, the lodge has traditionally been equated with the present Radholme Laund Farm. A “laund” was a grassy clearing for deer to graze.

Radholme Laund from Longridge Fell [1]

Within the park, trees would be pollarded to allow growth above the deer and cattle’s grazing height. These have given rise to the well known and loved park trees of later and modern times. Some areas would also be cleared of woodland scrub to allow the deer to graze on a grass lawn or laund, and to be fed in winter time on holly, ivy, rushes and “brashings”, the pollarded lower branches. Other areas would be coppiced to allow tree growth and to generate a supply of smaller lengths of wood.

Some family trees say that Robert married Joan Panchard, but she is a later woman who married a Robert Parker in Cornwall.

Robert had three daughters. Elizabeth married John Redmayne of Neway. Isabel married Robert Morcey.  Margaret married Raynold Waddington, of the nearby village of Waddington.

In 1464 Raynold and Margaret’s fathers agreed an indenture concerning their marriage. It granted Margaret a marriage portion from the Waddington estates. [2] The document is not fully legible, but reads:

 This Indenture made between Robert Waddington upon the one part and Robert Parker upon the other part Witnesseth that the aforesaid Robert Waddington has granted to the said Robert Parker the marriage of Raynold Waddington, heir apparent to the said Robert Waddington to be married to Margaret, daughter of the said Robert Parker, also the said Robert Waddington grants to make to the said Margaret the annual rent of 26/8 yearly to be taken to the term of her natural life and all his lands, messuages and tenements in Waddington, also the aforesaid Robert grants that he shall make . . . . of any of his Estates, messuages, lands and tenements in Waddington and Haslingden … but may remain to the said …

 The final terms of the document are unclear.

In the absence of a son, these three daughters were his heirs.

In1438, 16 Feb, Robert Parker was succeeded as park keeper by Robert Chatburn, who remained in office until at least 1459, but the Parkers continued to farm Radholme Laund until the death of Anthony Parker in 1603.

By the first quarter of the fifteenth century, many deer parks had begun to outlive their usefulness and had become too expensive to maintain. Records often state that parks and their boundaries were neglected or in a poor state. There was also increasing pressure to allow tenants to enclose land for agriculture, which was may have brought in more revenue than that generated from a deer park. In common with other known deer parks, Radholme gradually fell into disuse and was eventually “disparked”.

Robert died around 1482.


[1] https://s1.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/04/65/62/4656213_b99244db_1024x1024.jpg
[2] 3rd Novr. 37 Henry VI (1464). Lancashire Charters.




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