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)
RICHARD LE PARKER (22)
RICHARD LE PARKER was a younger son of Adam de Alcancotes, of the manor of Alkincoats on the north-west edge of Colne. It stands above Colne Water.
He was born at Alkincoats around 1290. This was the year that Edward I expelled the Jews from England.
Some family trees give his mother as Lady Eleanor de Bere, but this is not thought to be reliable.
He had an older brother John and another brother William.
When the family’s overlord Henry de Lacy died in 1311, his Inquisition Pro Mortem shows that Richard son of Adam de Alkincotes held 32 acres for 10s. 8d. rent
One family tree gives his wife as Jenet, but this is not generally supported.
He was known as Richard le Parker of Trawden. This suggests that it was here that he set up home as an adult. Trawden is a village SE of Colne
Richard and his brother John were appointed deputy keepers of Radholme Park, a royal deer park in the Forest of Bowland.
In those days, apart from the great families like the de Lacys, surnames were not permanent and inherited. They related just to that individual. Richard’s father was Adam de Alcancotes and one of his brothers William de Alcancotes because that was where they lived. Richard Parker and his older brother John Parker, on the other hand, were so named because they were keepers of a deer park. The name was then passed down through the generations, even when they ceased to be park keepers.
It is a rare pleasure to find the origin of an occupational surname in one of our ancestors.
The Forest of Bowland, where we find Radholme Park, is an upland area stretching north-east of Clitheroe to the Irish Sea.
Hunting had long been a major recreation of nobility and royalty, but under Norman rule it became much more popular and widespread.
The word ‘forest’ today conjures up an image of a landscape covered by trees, but the word actually comes from the Latin foris meaning ‘everything outdoors or outside’. It was this concept of land outside the normal administration, or common law, that the Norman kings introduced to England under William the Conqueror, from 1066 onwards.
So, ‘forest’ referred to an area of unenclosed countryside – which could encompass woodland, open moorland, and heath – and subject to Forest Law. This was a system of laws designed to safeguard both venison (deer) and ‘vert’ (the vegetation which provided the deer with food and shelter), for the benefit of the monarchy. Every royal forest was administered by a hierarchy of officials, appointed by and accountable to the king. Richard and John were commissioned by Edward I.
Deer parks such as Radholme were often created within the larger forests. Radholme and its sister park Leagram were designed to create breeding grounds for deer, probably contemporary with the most successful period for the vaccary (cattle and oxen farms) system. There is a tradition that the Parkers were hereditary under-keepers of this park.
Radholme Park lies in the SE corner of the Forest of Bowland, with the River Hodder as its western boundary. It covers an area of 476 hectares, with a perimeter of 10km.
Medieval Deer Park 
John predeceased their father, leaving Richard as Adam’s principal heir. On the death of his father, he inherited Alkincoats Hall.
He had one known son, Edmund, who also became keeper of Radholme Park.
Richard lived on into the reign of Edward III. He died in 1346, two years before the Black Death.
NEXT GENERATION: 21. PARKER
PREVIOUS GENERATIONS: 23. ALCANCOTES