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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)


Priestley Tree



LAWRENCE POLLARD was baptised at St Mary and All Saints, Goodshaw, in the Forest of Rossendale in 1788, during the long reign of George III.

Baptism, St Mary and All Saints, Goodshaw, Lancashire
1788 Oct 5  Lawrence son of John and Betty Pollard. [1]

There are two possible marriages for his parents: 1773 John Pollard and Betty Barcroft, and 1774, John Pollard and Betty Dean. Both of these marriages took place at St James, Haslingden. Both grooms and brides were ‘of this chapelry’. Though baptisms and burials could take place at Goodshaw, weddings were held at the mother church of Haslingden.

At the time of Lawrence’s baptism his family were living at Layfieldbarn, Accrington.  The exact location of Layfieldbarn has not been found.

Goodshaw is 4 miles from Accrington. The family’s associations with it go back some way.

There were 12 baptisms at Goodshaw to John and Betty Pollard in the 1770s and 80s. There must have been at least two couples with these names. From 1773 to 1775 we have baptisms for a couple living at Goodshawfold. From 1774 to 1780 there are others for a couple at Love Clough. In 1778 the address is Slatepitt, Accrington. The Accrington address suggests an older brother for Lawrence.

The dates make it possible that the family from Goodshawfold had moved there. If so, this would give Lawrence three more siblings.

In 1778 and 1780 the address is Heightside, which is possibly in Crawshawbooth, and probably not Lawrence’s family. Lawrence’s is the last Goodshaw baptism in this group, but it is followed in 1793 by a baptism of George, son of John and Betty Pollard, at St James, Accrington. This sounds like a younger brother for Lawrence.

If Lawrence’s is the Goodshawfold family, then his parents were most probably John Pollard and Betty Barcroft, who married in 1773.


Lawrence became a calico printer. The process of calico printing was invented near Accrington by Robert Peel of Oswaldtwistle, who is reputed to have engraved a sprig of parsley on a pewter plate to create a metal printing block, probably in the 1760s.



From: The Pictorial History of the County of Lancaster, Routledge, 1854

Having already described the bleaching processes, we shall now give an account of calico printing, an art in which England is yet unrivalled. Calico printing in England may be said to have been created by the rivalry of the woollen and silk manufacturers. In the year 1700 the silk and woollen manufacturers obtained an act of parliament prohibiting the introduction of the beautiful prints of India and the adjacent countries. But instead of people returning to their old materials of dress, the taste for chintzes remained as strong as ever – plain calicoes were imported from India and printed in England. So rapidly did the business increase, that it attracted the notice of the administration, and was of course made to contribute to the revenue. The woollen manufacturers were not daunted; they obtained in 1720 a law prohibiting the wear of any printed or dyed goods of which cotton formed a part, with the exceptions of blue calicoes, muslins, and fustians. Ten years afterwards this statute was so far relaxed as to allow the printing of cloths with a linen warp and a cotton weft; but it was not until 1774 that the printing of cloths manufactured wholly of cotton was legalized in England.

The printing business was at first confined to London and its vicinity; but it was introduced into Lancashire about the middle of the last century, where the local advantages of vicinity to the cotton manufacturers, cheapness of fuel, abundance of water, and a rate of wages more moderate than that of the metropolis, soon enabled it to triumph over all competition.

The success of calico printing in Lancashire must, in great degree, be attributed to the late Sir Robert Peel. It is recorded as a curious proof of the humble means with which he commenced laying the foundation of his fortune, that when he began to try experiments, the cloth, instead of being calendered, was ironed by a female of the family, and that the pattern was a parsley leaf. From this time the progress of calico printing in Lancashire is identified with the rise of the Peel family; the establishments which they founded have for the most part passed into other hands, but they still rank among the largest in the north of England.

The oldest form of calico printing, which is still continued for several kinds of goods, is block printing. The pattern is carved in relief on an engraved block of sycamore, to which a handle is attached; the workman applies the surface of the block to a woollen cloth, kept saturated with the colour, and then placing the block on the piece to be printed strikes it with an iron mallet so as to leave an impress of the figure. There are wire points at the corner of the block, which enable the printer to apply it with exactness, and to make different blocks “justify”, or fall in the same place, when several are required to produce a single pattern. If there be more colours than one in the pattern, it is necessary to have a separate block for every colour, and to repeat the stamping with every block. The skill of the workman is shewn in the accuracy with which the several blocks fall into their proper places on the pattern. This is a slow and tedious operation; the printing of a single piece of calico, twenty-eight yards in length, requires the application of the block 448 times.

MARY NUTALL. Mary was born between April 1788 and April 1789. There are three baptisms which sound promising.

Baptism. St James, Haslingden, Lancashire
1788 May 11  Mary daughter of John and Mary Nuttall. Abode: Cribdenside.

Baptisms. St Nicholas, Newchurch in Rossendale.
1789  Jan 2   Mary daughter of John and Mary Nuttall. Abode: Newchurch
1789  Feb 1   Mary daughter of James and Peggy Nuttall. Abode: Newchurch.

Both these churches are a short distance south of Goodshaw. Since Mary was married in Haslingden, the first of these baptisms is the most likely.


Lawrence Pollard married Mary Nutall in St James, Haslingden, on 1 March 1812.

By 1815 at the latest, the family were living in Higher Booths. Their sons Henry was born somewhere in Lancashire, c.1811- 16. John was born in Love Clough, Higher Booths in 1814-15. Also born in Higher Booths were Alice c.1820, Betty c.1822, Mary c.1826-7, Martha c.1829-30. Sarah c.1831-2.

Higher Booths includes Goodshaw, Love Clough and Crawshawbooth, all familiar names in Priestley family history.

There were seven calico printers listed in Pigot’s 1828 Rossendale Directory, all in the Bury area.


Mary does not appear in the 1841 or 1851 censuses. The most likely record for her death is:

Burial. St Mary and All Saints, Goodshaw.
1838 April 4. Mary Pollard, aged 49. Abode: Underwood, Higher Booths.


In the census of 1841 Lawrence, in his early 50s, was living at Rings Row, Higher Booths, with six children, the youngest aged 12. He and his sons, Henry and John, were also working as calico printers. Both sons’ ages are given as 25, but in this early census ages were rounded down. The two younger daughters, Mary and Martha, were employed as cotton carders. Alice was presumably keeping house in the absence of her mother.

1841 Census. Rings Row, Higher Booths

Lawrence Pollard 50 calico printer        born Lancashire
Henry Pollard       25 calico printer        born Lancashire
John Pollard         25 calico printer        born Lancashire
Alice Pollard    25                                born Lancashire
Betty Pollard        15                                born Lancashire
Mary Pollard        14 cotton carder        born Lancashire
Martha Pollard     12 cotton carder       born Lancashire
Sarah Pollard         8                                 born Lancashire

Rings Row was on Burnley Road, near Goodshawfold.


When his daughter Alice married in 1845, Lawrence’s occupation is given as block printer. The family address is still Rings Row.

By the 1851 census, Lawrence and the younger members of the family had moved to Further Reeds, in Lower Booths. Now 63, he was still working as a calico printer.

Lower Booths covered much the same area as the present town of Rawtenstall.

He was living with four unmarried daughters. Betty, 29 the eldest, was the housekeeper. The other three, Mary, Martha and Sarah, had progressed to powerloom weavers. All the children were born in Higher Booths.

Lawrence’s married daughter Alice had recently produced twins. One of these, Benjamin, only one month old, was in the house, presumably being cared for by his Aunt Betty. There is no evidence that Benjamin ever returned to his parents, because he was still there, with Aunts Betty and Mary, in 1861. Henry and John left home before 1851 and both married.


Lawrence died in 1856. He was buried at St Mary and All Saints, Goodshaw, on 3 Aug, aged 70. His address was then Crawshawbooth, just south of Goodshaw.


In 1861, Betty, aged 40, and her younger sister Mary were living as lodgers at Front Street, Crawshawbooth. Both were unmarried weavers. Young Benjamin was still living with them.


[1] BMDs from http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Search/indexp.html






Priestley Tree