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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, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)


Bray Tree




THOMAS HARLAND was the son of a flax dresser Richard Harland and his wife Mary. He was born in the North Yorkshire village of Mickley, near Kirkby Malzeard, NW of Ripon, around 1834.

He was the third child of eight.


In the 1851 census, Thomas was 17 years old and a mechanic, living in Mickley with four younger siblings. His older brother and sister had left home.


MARY DINSDALE was born in Otley, in Wharfedale, north of Leeds. She was the daughter of  John Dinsdale, a flax spinning master, and Christiane Hadwin, the third of six children. She was christened in Fewston, a village a few miles north of Otley on 28 April 1833.


She and her family were living in Fewston at the time of the 1841 census. Her father was a linen yarn master. Mary is 7 and is the middle child of five.


By 1851, the family had moved further north to Mickley. Mary had followed the family occupation and become a flax spinner. There are two more younger siblings, but Sarah appears to have died.

1851 Census: Mickley, Azerley, West Riding.

John Dinsdale Head Mar 52 Flax Spinning Master Otley, Yorks
Christiana Dinsdale Wife Mar 42 Whiteheaven, Cumberland
 Isabella Dinsdale Daughter Unmar 21 Flax Spinner Otley, Yorks
 Thomas Dinsdale Son Unmar 19 Waggoner Otley, Yorks
 Mary Dinsdale Daughter Unmar 18 Flax Spinner Otley, Yorks
 Jane Dinsdale Daughter Unmar 16 Power Loom Weaver Otley, Yorks
 John Dinsdale Son Unmar 8 Scholar Otley, Yorks
 Elizabeth Dinsdale Daughter Unmar 5 Scholar Otley, Yorks


Thomas Harland and Mary Dinsdale married at St John’s, Mickley, on 5 December 1854. Thomas appears to have lied about his age on his marriage certificate. This is presumably because he was really under 21 and so needed parental consent. He was an overlooker, probably in the flax trade. Mary gives her occupation now as a servant.[1]


Thomas was 24 when his father died.


The couple had a sad and short history.

On  the 11th January 1856 their first child, John was born. He was baptised at St John’s church, Mickley on the 27th of February.  He died on the 30th of January the following year, 1857. The cause of death was convulsions, and there was no medical attendance.

Later that year their next child Alfred was born. He was baptised on 25 July 1857.

Mary Elizabeth was born on 16 August 1859 and baptised on 5 Sep.

At the time of the 1861 census the couple had two living children. Both Thomas and Mary were working in the flax mill.

1861 Census; Cottage, Mickley, Azerley, West Riding

 Thomas Harland Head Mar 27 Flax Dresser Mickley, Yorkshire
 Mary Harland Wife Mar 26 Flax Spinner Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire
 Alfred Harland Son 3 Mickley, Yorkshire
 Mary Harland Daur 1 Mickley, Yorkshire


This time Mary’s birthplace is given as Pately Bridge, which is 7 miles north of Fewston. Two houses away were Thomas’s elder brother Samuel Harland and his wife Jane, who was also born at Pately Bridge. Mary and Jane Dinsdale were sisters.


The last child, Sarah Ann, was born on the 21st of December 1862. She was baptised at St John’s on 11 Jan 1863.

The parents died young. Thomas was only 29 when he died of phthisis (TB) on the 23rd of March 1864.

The following year 2½-year-old Sarah also died, on the 23rd of May 1865. The cause of death was gradual decay.  The death was not certified.

Mary survived her daughter by only three years. She died on the 19th of January 1868, aged 32 years, also of TB.

10-year-old Alfred and 8-year-old Mary Elizabeth were left orphans. They were separated and taken in by their uncles and aunts. Alfred went to live with William Harland and his wife Mary and their children.  Mary went to live with Samuel Harland, his wife Jane who was one of her mother’s sisters, and their family. This couple were Mary’s uncle and aunt through both her father and her mother. At the time of the 1871 census, Samuel and his family were living at Aldburgh Farm House, Burton-on-Ure and William and his family were still living in Mickley.

Mary married Henry Bray in 1881.

By 1881 Alfred was working as an indoor farm servant for the Hewison family at Tanfield Hall Farm, West Tanfield.  In 1891 he was married to another Mary and had a 6 year old son called Thomas Henry. They were now living in Catterick, at Oran, Prospect Hill. By 1901 the family had moved to Bainesse Farm, also in Catterick.  In 1911 Alfred and Mary were still living at Bainesse Farm, Catterick.  Their Son, Thomas Henry was now married to Henrietta, they were living at 301 Whitehall Road, Gateshead, and Thomas was a porter for the N E Railway.  They had no children.[2]


While the Harlands are buried in Mickley Churchyard, there are few marked graves, the only ones being Herbert and Margaret Alice and their son William, also John Leslie, who was the last of the Harlands, John Leslie Harland lived at Victoria House, Mickley.  He died in Harrogate Hospital on 18th November 1993.  He had been married, but had divorced his wife and they had no children. [3]



[1] Information on birth, marriage and death registrations from Jean Etheridge.
[2] Jean Etheridge
[3] Jean Etheridge






Bray Tree