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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 BARKER. There is a burial in Skipton in 1820 for Thomas Barker aged 84, which would give him a birth date of 1735-6. This would make him a plausible 24-5 when he married. [1]

This identifies him as the following.

Baptism. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1736 Nov 21  Thos: s John Barker Blacksmith and Susan his wife of Skipton.

His mother was Susannah/Susan Heelis, from a well-known Skipton family.

Thomas is one of a long line of blacksmiths. In 1749 Sylvester Petyt’s charity paid for Thomas, son of John Barker, to be apprenticed to William Demaine, Blacksmith.


ELIZABETH CEATON. Her age of 72 at the time of her death gives her a birth date of 1730-31.

At her marriage the register in which she makes her mark gives her name as Eaton, with the initial matching that in her first name. Two others have her as Elizabeth Caton, with a clearly different initial.

Normally, we would give precedence to the register in which the bride signs her name. But Elizabeth was illiterate, so she would not have known if the parson misspelt her surname.

There are no other Eatons in the Skipton area in a 40-year range either side of her marriage. There are, however, a number of Catons, or its variant spellings.

At the time of her marriage in Skipton, Elizabeth was “of this parish”. No baptism has been found for her there. There is, however, a baptism in Kirkby Malham, 9 mile NW.

Baptism. Kirkby Malham.
1731 Oct 8  Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Ceaton.

Nine miles might seem a long way from her marriage place, but the family lived at Airton, 3 m closer to Skipton.

No early burial or other marriage has been found for this child.

Her mother was Dorothy Richardson when she married Elizabeth’s father, but the register does not say whether she was a spinster or a widow. It was Thomas Ceaton’s second marriage, so the latter is possible.

Elizabeth had three half-siblings from her father’s first marriage. She was the second of six children born from his second marriage, one of whom died in infancy.

Her father was a labourer.

Airton is a small township in the parish of Kirkby Malham. It does not have its own church. It takes its name from the river Aire, which runs along the eastern edge, and rises nearby.

It would seem that Elizabeth came from her home village to the larger town of Skipton to find work.

Thomas Barker of this parish, Blacksmith, and Elizabeth Eaton, of this parish, Spinster, were married at Holy Trinity, Skipton, on 22 Dec 1760. Thomas signs his name and Elizabeth makes her mark. The witnesses were George Dixon and Emanuel Heelis.



Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1761  Apr 20  Susannah  daur of Thos Barker Blacksmith and Elizabeth his wife of Skipton
1763 July 24   Jno son of Thos Barker Blacksmith and Elizth his Wife of Skipton
1765 Jan 20  Thomas
1767  Nov  22  Christopher and George
George lived less than two weeks. He was buried on Dec 11.
1771 Feb 10  George
The second George lived for 2½  years. He was buried on  6 Jul 1773.
1774 Jul 24  Betty

The address of Skipton at all these baptisms tells us that they were living in the town and not in one of the outlying townships.

In 1773 the Bingley-Skipton section of the Grand Canal opened. The Skipton-Thackley section following a year later. The transport of so much goods traffic by boat, instead of by road, must have had an effect on a blacksmith’s income.

Nevertheless, all their surviving sons became blacksmiths.

Thomas jnr married Ann Sagar in 1786.

Their eldest daughter Susannah lived to 37, still unmarried. She died on 14 Jan 1799 and was buried two days later.  There were a number of deaths from smallpox around that time, but the cause of Susannah’s death is not given.

Elizabeth died aged 72 on 24 Feb 1803 and was buried two days later on the North Side, Middle Quarter. The cause of death is not given. Birth 1731

Their youngest  child Betty gave birth to an illegitimate daughter at the age of 31. We have the following baptism in Skipton.

1806 born  Sep 30, bapt  1806  Dec 14  Susannah Barker Dr of Elizabeth Barker of Skipton Spinster Dr of Thos Barker of Skipton.

Betty/Elizabeth remained unmarried. In the 1841 census she is living with her daughter Susannah, her son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Thomas was buried on 21 Aug 1820 aged  84. The will of Thomas Barker of Skipton, Widower, was proved in Nov 1820.






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