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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




RICHARD HARLAND was the son of the cabinet-maker Thomas Harland and Esther Wardale. He was born on 29 Jan 1800 and baptised in Whitby on the North Sea coast on 4 February.


He became a flax dresser. Some time in the 1820s he moved a considerable distance from his place of birth, to Mickley, near Kirby Malzeard, on the other side of the North York Moors. It is probable that he was still single when he made this move and that it was there he met his future wife.

Others made an even longer journey to Mickley.


St John the Evangelist Church in Mickley was built for the Dalton Family of Sleningford Grange in 1841 in memory of Elizabeth Dalton. It is built of cobblestones taken from the river Ure, which runs the length of the village on the north side. There are a number of gravestones of Irish Catholics in the graveyard. These are of immigrants who came to work in a flax mill near the river during the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s. The ruins of the flax mill can still be seen.[1]


The mill was also used to make machinery for the spinning of flax.


Leeds Intelligencer 25 November 1811
Flax Mill
Tomlinson bankrupt
New erected factory used as a line or flax spinning mill and a manufactory for making machines for flax spinning with an iron foundry and a blacksmith’s shop.
Mills supplied by River Ure. Premises on lease to Mr Chippindale.
Lately occupied by Tomlinson.

{From Masham Peculier wills.
1811 Dec 14 John Tomlinson schoolmaster Kirkby Malzeard made 1809 May 23 one executor bankrupt and fled beyond the seas].

Subsequently it was owned or operated by a family who already had a similar mill at Tadcaster. They were catholics and built a small chapel and a few cottages for the workers. [2]


MARY  was born in Kirkby Malzeard, a village north-west of Ripon. Mickley is a hamlet within the parish of Kirkby Malzeard, so Mary may have been born there.


Children Mary, Samuel, Thomas, William and Richard were born there between 1829 and 1839.

The family were living in Mickley at the time of the 1841 census.

1841 Census: Mickley, Kirkby Malzeard, Azerley, Yorkshire

Richard Harland 40 Flax dresser Yorkshire
Mary Harland 35 Flax carder Yorkshire
Mary Harland 12 Yorkshire
Samuel Harland 10 Flax doffer Yorkshire
Thomas Harland 8 Yorkshire
William Harland 4 Yorkshire
Richard Harland 2 Yorkshire


The inhabitants of Mickley seem to be divided between working in the flax industry and in agriculture. Despite her five children, Mary is helping with the family income. Young Samuel is at work at 10 years old. Probably the daughter Mary helped with the younger children.


By the 1851 census, three more children, Robert, Elizabeth and John had been born.

1851 Census: Mickley. West Riding

Richard Harland Head Mar 50 Flax Dresser Whitby, Yorkshire
Mary Harland Wife Mar 45 Kirby Malzeard, Yorks
Thomas Harland Son Un 17 Mechanic Kirby Malzeard, Yorks
William Harland Son Un 13 At Home Kirby Malzeard, Yorks
Richard Harland Son Un 11 At Home Kirby Malzeard, Yorks
Robert Harland Son Un 9 At Home Kirby Malzeard, Yorks
Elizabeth Harland Daur Un 6 Kirby Malzeard, Yorks
John Harland Son Un 2 Kirby Malzeard, Yorks

Mary is no longer working at flax carding. She now needs to look after the children. Her eldest daughter Mary junior has left home. At 22 she may be married.

The teenage Thomas has got work, not working with the flax itself, but as a mechanic, probably with the machinery at the mill.


Richard died in June 1857, in Mickley, at the age of 57.


In the 1861 census we find the widowed Mary living in a cottage in Mickley with three of her children. She is supporting herself as a cleaner. The two eldest children still living at home are also working.

1861 Census. Cottage, Mickley, Azerley.

Mary Harland                          Widow      55     Charwoman                Mickley, Yorks

William Harland       Son              Un            23     Carrier (Common)     Mickley, Yorks

Elizabeth Harland     Daur           Un            14     Assistant Laundress   Mickley, Yorks

John Harland            Son                                12     Scholar                         Mickley, Yorks.


Later that year we find the son William in trouble with the courts.

Yorkshire Gazette. Sat. 14th Dec 1861.


 Borough Court. – On Wednesday last, William Hoben, of Manchester, hawker, summoned William Harland, of Mickley, for having assaulted him at Ripon, on the 5th inst.  During the afternoon of that day, complainant met the defendant coming out of the Green Dragon public-house.  Defendant inquired the price of some umbrellas complainant was selling, and then without any provocation, struck him on the hat and under the ear, and then knocked him down, and, while laid, kicked him.  Convicted in the penalty of 20s. and 22s. 6d. costs, which he paid.

In the next census, ten years later, we find Mary living alone in a cottage in Mickley.

1871 Census. Mount Pleasant Village Street

Mary Harland       Head      W           Charwoman     68        Mickley, Yorks

Two doors away is her second son William and his young family: his wife Mary, his children Eliza 6, Louisa 5, Frederick 3 and Lilley 1. Also with them is William’s orphaned nephew, 14-year-old Alfred. He is the child of Mary’s older son Thomas. William is still a carter.


William continued to be in trouble for violent behaviour.[3]

York Herald. Sat 17th October.


Ripon West Riding Petty Sessions – Yesterday William Harland, of Mickley, labourer, was charged with assaulting William Stainthorpe, of the same village, labourer, on the 6th inst.  Fined 10s, and costs £1 12s.


Mary died 1 January 1876.


William was described in the previous court case as a labourer, but his next brush with the law shows him still to be in possession of a horse. He probably worked at odd labouring jobs between employment as a carter.

York Herald. Sat 26th July 1879.


Liberty Court. – William Harland, of Mickley, was charged with cruelly ill-treating a horse whilst in an unfit state.  Defendant pleaded guilty, and was fined 10s. with 11s.  costs, or in default 14 days imprisonment.

In the 1881 census for Mickley, William is described as a carrier. Living with him are his wife Mary, three of his younger children and his widowed brother John, who is an agricultural labourer.


In June 1882 William met a violent end:[4]


Fatal Accident near Ripon. – An inquest was held on Wednesday night, the 21st inst., before Charles Husband, Esq., coroner of the Liberty of Ripon, touching the death of Wm. Harland, of North Stainley, labourer, who died the previous day from injuries sustained from being crushed by a horse and cart.  The evidence of Francis Bolland, who had been working with Harland, showed that on Tuesday the 21st inst, he was in the yard behind the kitchen at Sleningford Grange.  He saw Harland filling a tank- cart, out of the tank: he was going to take it to the manure heap at the low end of the kitchen-garden.  In doing so he had to go down a steep hill, nearly at the bottom of which there is a gate.  Witness went across the lawn where he expected to find Harland, but on arriving there he found he had not reached the place.  He then went in search of him, and hearing him crying out as if in pain, found him at the left side of the road, at the gate.  The near side of the gate and fence were down, and the tank cart was 60 or 70 yards lower down in the field, one shaft was stuck in the ground, and the horse was grazing at the far side of the pasture.  He believed it was a very quiet horse.  Harland was laid on the road, and bleeding from the mouth.  He told him he had been crushed, witness got assistance and had him removed to the carriage house.  Mr. J. Hartley, of Ripon, surgeon, was sent for.  Sarah Sly, a servant at the place, was called and said:  She was working at Sleningford Grange.  On the day mentioned she saw the deceased filling the cart at about a quarter to 12, as stated by Bolland, and about 10 minutes after on account of something the housemaid told her, she went to the road leading to the garden, she saw Harland laid on the road.  Bolland was trying to hold him up.  Harland’s hands and face were all bloody.  She asked him what was the matter, when he told her he was going to die.  He said he could not get the gate open.  Mr. Hartley said the deceased’s heart was injured, and two or three ribs might be broken.  Harland died at about a quarter past-three o’clock in the afternoon.  It was supposed that deceased had tried to get the gate open before the horse and cart arrived, but failing this, he had not been able to stop the horse with heavy load on the steep road.-Verdict, accidental death.

North Stainley is a hamlet only a mile from Mickley.




[1] www.heritageopendays.org.uk
[2] John Hebden, archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com › YORKSGEN
[3] Court cases from British Newspapers 1710-1950 accessed via findmypast.
[4] Jean Etheridge.





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