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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 my own as (1)


WILLIAM BUCK. An article in the Colne Times of 1878, celebrates the centenary of a medical practice founded by Dr Buck in 1777 and continued there by his son and grandson.

‘The gentleman who established the practice here was the son of William Buck Esq. who was a Solicitor in Gargrave over a century ago.’

Other members of the Buck family were doctors and lawyers in the area.

William’s age is given as 25 in the transcript of the marriage licence issued in Nov 1751 for him to wed Elizabeth Taylor, but the original says “25 or over”.[1]  This would give him a birth date of 1726, or earlier.

This is compatible with his being the son of John Buck, also an attorney of Gargrave. William was born in Bradford in 1713.

Baptism. Bradford.
Nov 10. William son of John Buck Attorney at Law in Bradford.

He was the third of four children. His father is referred to as a gentleman.

William may have spent some of his later childhood at the Buck family property of Idle Mills, just outside Bradford. John Buck came from a long line of millers in Idle, on the outskirts of Bradford, going back to the 16th century. There are documents which link William also to properties in Idle.

His father eventually lost Idle Mills and the surrounding properties when he took out a large loan using them as security, which he was unable to repay. The money seems to have gone on acquiring the large house of Brockabank outside Gargrave. By 1729 John Buck was living there. William’s older brother John stayed in Calverly parish, which includes Idle, and became an attorney there. William seems to have gone to Gargrave with his father and his two sisters. He would have been living there by the time he was 16.

Writing of the Gargrave area in England’s Gazetteer of 1750, Stephen Whatley says that the River Aire winds so much there that he was forced to cross it seven times within half an hour’s journey. It was a favourite hunting place for gentlemen of Yorkshire and the surrounding counties.

There were several Buck families in Gargrave, mostly in the outlying townships of Eshton, Flasby and Bank Newton. Some of them were considerable farmers. They also were known as gentlemen. But all the evidence points to there being only one William Buck, gentleman and attorney, in 18th century Gargrave.

In 1732 we have Articles of clerkship (as a solicitor or attorney) for William Buck, articled to John Buck. [2] We do not know where these articles were drawn up, but if these are the Bucks of Gargrave, William would have been 19.

William Buck himself took on a solicitor’s clerk.

  1. Articles of clerkship (as a solicitor or attorney) for Thomas Wheatley, articled to William Buck. [3]

William Buck was married in St Saviour’s church at Thornthwaite in December 1751. He would have been 38 at the time of his marriage. He was 16 years older than his bride. At first sight, this seems rather old, but it appears to be not uncommon at the time for men in this area to marry in their late 30s or early 40s.


ELIZABETH TAYLOR. This was not Elizabeth’s maiden name. She was a widow of 22 when she married William. She was then said to be “of Skipton”.

Since she married in the parish of Hampsthwaite, it is possible that she was born there. There are two possible baptisms. We know that Elizabeth Pullein married someone else. This leaves:

Hampsthwaite. Baptisms.
1729  Elizth dr of Wm Bramley weaver baptd Oct 15th

We do not know what happened to this Elizabeth. She may have married a man called Taylor.

Another possibility is a baptism in Skipton.

Skipton. Baptism.
1729 Jun 9  Betty d of Hen Robinson (Taylor) and Elizabeth his wife of Skipton.

Elizabeth’s first marriage has not been found, nor her husband’s death. There were children born in Skipton to John Taylor, weaver, and his wife Elizabeth, but he died in 1779, far too late for Elizabeth’s remarriage to William.

We do not know if there were children of this first marriage.

 There are several records of Elizabeth’s marriage to William, giving different information.

The Archbishop of York’s Marriage Licence Index gives details about their ages:

28 Nov 1751  William Buck age 25 of Gargrave and Elisabeth Taylor age 22 of Skipton. Intended marriage place: SEE NOTES. The original says “25 or over”.

In fact, the marriage took place at Thornthwaite, a chapel of ease in the parish of Hampsthwaite.

The Hampsthwaite register has two sections for 1751. Marriages for ye year 1751, followed by Marriages from ye Chapel 1751. In this second section we find:

Wm Buck of Gargrave Gentelmn and Elizth Taylor of Skipton widw by a Licence from Mr Yeats Dec 2nd

This was one of only two marriages at Thornthwaite that year.

The transcribed index of Yorkshire Marriages gives the bride’s parish as Hampsthwaite, not Skipton.

Hampsthwaite lies near Harrogate. Thornthwaite is 8 miles west, nearer to Skipton. Gargrave is 12 miles further west.

Skipton, where Elizabeth Taylor was living, is near Gargrave. The couple may have met there.

The question is why the couple married in Thornthwaite. Marriages usually take place in the bride’s parish. Skipton would have been considerably nearer Gargrave. It may be that Hampsthwaite was Elizabeth’s birthplace and she was resident in Skipton because she had moved there on her first marriage.


The marriage between William and Elizabeth was followed by two baptisms in St Andrew’s, Gargrave.

1752 Dec 14. Jnson of Mr William and Elizabeth Buck of Gargrave.
1755 Oct 14. Wm son of Mr Wm Buck & Eliz: his wife of Gargrave.

At this period only men of high social standing were called ‘Mister’.

Neither the marriage records nor these baptism entries identify William as a lawyer. But the date of death of John Buck of Colne fits exactly with his being William and Elizabeth’s older son.       

   Gargrave Parish Church [4]

 There are no further baptisms and Elizabeth’s absence from William’s will leads us to believe that William continued the property dealings begun by his father. [5]


1) Sir Ralph Assheton of Middleton, bart
2) William Buck of Gargrave in Craven, gent
Premises: Those of E7/14/3/7 and /10 occupied by John Buck decd, which George Holden had leased to William Ewbank
Consideration: £160
Seal of (1)

The entry does not give the year, but it appears to be between 1758, when John Buck died, and 1761.

The premises included Idle Mill with several closes, and Crossber Nook. Idle Mill had been in the Buck family for many generations, until John Buck’s time.

In 1759 we see the first of a long series of baptisms to John and Ann Buck, of Newton Hall and then of Bank Newton in Gargrave. This John Buck was a wealthy farmer, probably from a family of Bucks who had been in Gargrave for some time. We do not know how this family may be related to the Bucks who came from Idle.

On 26 Apr 1761 there is a letter from ….. at Gargrave to Sir Ralph Assheton sending him £58 19s, “the remainder of the purchase money”, and discussing the arrangements for the deeds.[6]

This probably refers to the transaction with William Buck above.

William and Elizabeth’s elder son John left Gargrave to pursue a medical career. He served an apprenticeship in Tadcaster. In 1777 he set up his practice in Colne.

The younger son William set up business in Gargrave but was made bankrupt.[7]

John Buck of Colne kept up his links with his family home. He brought three children who died in infancy to be buried in Gargrave, and he and his wife were also buried there.

In 1779 William appears in the records for the last time. Documents of 1 Feb 1779 bear witness to his appointment as an additional trustee to Idle Chapel in Calverley.[8]

 For the trusts of Idle Chapel by Henry Slater of Idle drysalter, and William Buck of Gargrave, gent. (both sons of deceased trustees), vesting the following property jointly in themselves and William Rookes of Esholt, James Booth of Idle gent. Robert Greene of Eccleshill gent, and John Ledgard of Idle, gent. (the new trustees):- a messuage in Idle with barn and shop in occupation of George Waring with the Pasture close, Middle close, Farr close and Tanhouse close; also Good Holm Royd; the Intacks at Thackley; 4 closes called the Intacks on the Common of Idle.

The office of trustee appears to be hereditary. Both William’s father and grandfather were trustees.

7 Feb 1779. Lease of possession[9]
From Henry Slater of Idle drysalter, (son of Thomas Slater) and William Buck of Gargrave (son of John Buck of Gargrave) to William Rookes of Esholt, James Booth of Idle, Robert Greene of Eccleshill and John Ledgard of Idle, of a messuage in Idle occupied by George Waring, with the Pasture close, Middle close, far close and the Tan-house close, Goodholm close in Idle, the Intacks at Thackley and the Intacks on the common of Idle.

 William died in 1783, six years after his son John began to practice medicine in Colne.

Burial. Gargrave
1783 Oct 11. Mr William Buck Attorney of Gargrave.

His death was recorded in the Leeds Intelligencer of 21 October 1783.

“A few days ago died, Mr William Buck, Attorney at Law, of Gargrave, in Craven.”

In his will, he left his son John the beautiful house of Parcevall Hall in the parish of Appletreewick in Wharfedale. We do not know how and when William acquired this. Part of it was built in the 16th century. After the death of Christopher Lowson in 1695 it was occupied by a series of farmers and tenants until it was purchased by Sir William Milner in the 1920s. It is now famous for its gardens, which were created by Sir William.

William Buck’s will mentions his second son William, who receives no bequest. Instead, William left £150 to his grandson William, to be held until he came of age. This was because the older William had gone bankrupt the previous year. [10]

We have no information about Elizabeth’s death. The fact that the couple had only two children suggests that she may have died soon after young William’s birth. She is not mentioned in William’s will.

[1] Beverley Dwyer
[2] National Archives: CP 5/13/7
[3] National Archives. CP 5/30/4
[4] http://www.cravenmuseum.org/uploads/images/images-of-craven/craven-villages-and-towns/519-c-gargrave-parish-church1823..jpg
[5] A2A:  E7/14/3/13  22/23 Apr
[6] A2A:  E7/14/3/14
[7] Beverley Dwyer
[8] A2A: WYL500/839  1 Feb 1779
[9] A2A: WYL500/237
[10] Beverley Dwyer




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