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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.  A well-researched website on the Grimshaw family tells us that Alice Grimshaw married Robert Waddington, son of Peter Waddington.[1] This accords with a Who’s Who of the Waddington family which says that Peter de Wadyngton of Waddington, had issue a son Robert de Wadyngton  of Waddington and Chagely etc. [2]

Waddington is a village north of Clitheroe, on the other side of the River Ribble. It is now in Lancashire, but until 1974 it was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, with the river forming the boundary.

Robert was born into the landed gentry, but the impression we have is that his family was of modest estate. His father lived in Waddington, but was not lord of the manor. That had passed from the Waddingtons to the Tempest family a century before Robert was born.

We believe Robert to have been born in the early years of the 15th century.

We do not know who his mother was, or whether he had siblings.


St Helen’s, Waddington [3]

He would have been baptised in St Helen’s church, Waddington. The oldest part of the current building is the 15th century tower. Robert may have lived long enough to see this being built.


Our knowledge of early ancestors comes mostly through property documents.[4] There are a number of these involving Robert. Much of his property came to him through his marriage with Alice Grimshaw.

The Waddington Who’s Who says that he was “of Waddington, Chagley, etc.” , while his father was simply “of Waddington”. That seems to imply that Peter Waddington did not own Chagley

“Chagley” is Chaigley, a tiny hamlet containing Stonyhurst, the seat of the lords of the manor of Chaigley. It lies on the west bank of the River Hodder, a tributary of the Ribble, about 3 miles from Waddington. Both Wadddington and Chagley lay within the parish of Mitton. This proximity means that Chaigley may have come to Robert from his own family before he married Alice, possibly from his mother. Nowadays, Chaigley is the gateway for walkers in the Forest of Bowland. “Forest” meant a royal deer park, not a wooded area.

In 1427, Oakenshaw was assured by the payment of £20 by Geoffrey Grimshaw to Robert Waddington. Geoffrey was the illegitimate son of Roger Grimshaw. Oakenshaw is part of Clayton le Moors, between Blackburn and Burnley. Geoffrey’s illegitimate son Parsavel inherited lands in Oakenshaw enfeoffed by Robert de Waddington.

1434 Robert’s name was included in a Waddington Church deed regarding Little Milton, along with some of his cousins. Little Milton is probably Little Mitton, part of the Mitton parish that included Waddington.


ALICE GRIMSHAW. The Grimshaw website has Alice as the daughter of Thomas Grimshaw and his second wife Margaret Stanley. But this is evidently a mistake. Alice was married around 1440, while Thomas’s other children are born in the early 16th century. There may have been a confusion here with a younger Alice Grimshaw.

On the same website Alice is given a birth date of 1380. That too is unlikely. Her marriage date make a birth around 1415 more probable, or perhaps later, since the daughter of gentry often married young.

There are a number  of documents around 1442 which link Robert Waddington to the Grimshaw family. These Grimshaws are Henry, Robert, Hugh and Geoffrey. Robert was the son of Henry Grimshaw senior. Henry and Hugh may be other sons of Henry, or, more probably, of Robert himself. Geoffrey is the illegitimate son of Roger Grimshaw. Henry, Hugh and Geoffrey are given birth dates in the early 15th century, making them too young to be likely fathers of Alice. Robert Grimshaw’s birth date is given as around 1391, which is the sort of date we would expect for Alice’s father.

Robert Grimshaw granted land to George, eldest son of Robert Waddington and Alice. This looks like a gift to a grandson than to a great-nephew.

If Robert Grimshaw is Alice’s father, this would make her mother Joan Hacking or Margaret Clayton.


Most of Robert and Alice’s lives were spent under the reigns of Henry V, Henry VI and Edward IV. During much of this century the country was riven by the Wars of the Roses, with the House of Lancaster against the House of York. Alice was from Lancashire, while Robert was born just across the border in Yorkshire. We do not know where their sympathies lay.


Alice came from a family with much more extensive holdings than the Waddingtons. Some of these she brought to Robert. The Grimshaw men had themselves acquired many of their properties through their wives.

 There is a flurry of documents relating to property around 1440, the probable date of Alice and Robert’s wedding.

 On 14 Apr 1439 Robert Wadddington was granted land by Robert and Geoffrey de Grimshaw. This looks like a settlement in advance of Robert Waddington’s marriage to Robert Grimshaw’s daughter.


The couple are said to have married in Haslingden in 1440. The Waddington Who’s Who describes Robert as “of Waddington and Haslingden”. If Haslingden was Alice’s home territory, then she probably brought him an estate in that parish.


Robert and Alice are known to have had two sons.

George Waddington is said to have been born about 1440.

Raynold was born around 1441. He is associated with Haslingden, Chaigley (Stonyhurst) and hereditary lands in Waddington. Stonyhurst was the manor house in Chaigley. Following the death of his elder brother he became his father’s heir.


In 1442,  Henry Grimshaw junior received leases of Mellor and Eccleshill from Robert de Wadyngton and his children. Henry Grimshaw senior, Alice’s grandfather, was dead by then, so this is probably Alice’s eldest brother. It was common for leases to be for three lives, with the tenancy passing to named individuals, usually of the original tenant’s family.

Eccleshill is a village on the outskirts of Bradford. Mellor is at the foot of the Pennines, below High Peak. It stands on the River Goyt.

  1. The Waddingtons hold leases for Berefeld, Calfhey and Melfeld. These sound like the names of fields. Calf Hey is near Haslingden and is now the site of a reservoir.

Also in 1442 Hugh Grimshaw and Robert Waddington gave Robert Grimshaw a moiety of Clayton (le Moors). Hugh is another of Alice’s brothers. This deed implies that Robert Waddington held 1/3 of this land through his wife Alice.

The Grimshaws obtained the bulk of their estate from the Claytons, including Altham, a village near Padiham where we find later generations of Waddingtons. Alice’s great-grandmother was Cecily Clayton, wife of Adam Grimshaw, and her mother or stepmother may be Margaret Clayton.

Other properties mentioned are Preston and Worsthorne. Worsthorne is on the eastern outskirts of Burnley.


Twenty years later, we find Robert making arrangements for the marriage of their son Raynold to Margaret Parker. An indenture of 1464, not fully legible, reads:[5]

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 marriage arrangement Raynold also concerned land in Clayton.


The following year, 1465, Alice’s brother Henry Grimshaw was implicated in the manslaughter of Robert Bynnes of Altham. The Sheriff sent a warrant to the Constable of Altham for the arrest of Robert Bynnes. Henry Grimshaw was assisting at the arrest when he killed Robert Bynnes with his lance. He was cleared of the charge of manslaughter since the killing was done in the execution of his duty.


Robert and Alice’s eldest son George married Alice Holden, daughter of John Holden of Broad Holden. Broad Holden is a hamlet in Haslingden. His grandfather Robert Grimshaw granted him lands. He died, apparently childless, around 1470.


Robert Waddington died sometime between George’s death in1470 and the death of his second son and heir Raynold in 1490.

We have no reliable information about Alice’s death. A statement that she died in 1430 is clearly wrong. She had brought Robert Waddington lands in Eccleshill, Mellor, Hoddeson-Newhey, Aighton and Clayton.



[1]. http://grimshaworigin.org/miscellaneous-grimshaw-individuals/early-grimshaw-family-history/
[2] Waddington, John, Who’s Who in the Family of Waddington. Wada Ltd, 1934.
[3] https://www.britainexpress.com/images/attractions/editor3/Waddington-6303.jpg
[4] Early Grimshaw Famiiy History
[5] 3rd Novr. 37 Henry VI (1464). Lancashire Charters.







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