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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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THOMAS BISHOP of Skipton had an interesting mix of occupations, working at various times as a hatter and a gravedigger. His father was a craftsman, but in a different line of business.

Baptism. Holy Trinity, Skipton
1722 Mar 26  Thos son of Lancelot Bishop, Dyer, & Jane his wife of Skipton.
His mother was Jane Rushford.

Thomas was the second of three children. His younger brother died in infancy, leaving Thomas with an older sister.

Thomas’s great-great-grandfather Lancelot Iveson had run a dyeworks. It is possible that Thomas’s father also managed this dyehouse.

On the other hand, his sister Anne received an apprenticeship paid for by Sylvester Petyt’s charity, suggesting that the family may have been of straitened means.

We know from the baptisms of his children that Thomas himself became a hatter. He may previously have been a feltmaker. The list of apprenticeships paid for by Sylvester Petyt’s charity includes in 1750: “Thomas Bishop, Feltmaker, with John the son of Richard Wright.” There were not many Bishops in Skipton. Thomas may have begun by making felt, and moved on to making hats from it.

A hatter makes hats for men, while a milliner makes hats for women.


SARAH. We have not found a baptism for Sarah, nor her marriage to Thomas, so we do not know her maiden name.

We know from the age at which she died that she was born in 1722-3. If the age given at her burial is correct, and she was born in Skipton, then Sarah Atkinson, Sarah Green and Sarah Slingsby are possibilities.

The couple had at least six children. One of these we only know through her burial, and we have not found her christening. Parts of the older registers are illegible, so there may have been others.

Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1751/2 Mar 1  Thomas
1754 Dec 8  Ann
1758 Apr 2  George
The first Ann was buried on 14 Jul 1758, aged 3.
1761 May 31  Ann
1767 Jul 26  Sarah
A daughter Jane was buried on 29 Jun 1770.

The church of Holy Trinity, where the children were baptised suffered serious damage in a storm in 1766. A contemporary newspaper reports:
“July 26th. The most terrible storm of thunder and lightning happened at Skipton-in-Craven that has ever been known in the memory of the oldest man there. The lightning struck the church steeple, beat off the weathercock and several of the pinnacles, and has greatly rent and damaged the whole steeple.”

By the end of his life, Thomas had added a new occupation to that of hatter. He was the sexton at Holy Trinity Church, Skipton, whose duties including digging graves.

Grave-digger [1]

Burials. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1793 Thomas Bishop of Skipton, Hatter and Grave-digger. Died Jan 30, buried Feb 2 West end of the church. 71. Palsy (this was probably a stroke).

Sarah outlived him by eleven years.
1804 Sarah Bishop  Relict of Thomas Bishop late of Skipton, Sexton. Died Jan1, buried 4 West end of the church. 81. Natural decay.

[1] Grave-digger – Wikipedia




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