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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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MATTHEW HAMPSON. In 1761, Robert Ashworth married Jane Hampson in Radcliffe, south of Bury in Lancashire. We would expect Jane to have been born around 1736. There are two possible baptisms.

Baptisms. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1736 Mar 23 Jeney daughter of Matthew Hampson
1739 Oct 7  Jane daughter of Richard Hampson jnr & Elizth of New House.

Neither of these girl seems to have died before 1739.

There are also two marriages.

Marriages. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1760 Aug 12  Thomas Crompton (X) and Jane Hampson (X) of this parish.
1761 Sep 1  Robert Ashworth of this parish and Jane Hampson (X) of the parish of Prestwich.

The second is the relevant one.

 Of these two girls, Jeney Hampson, daughter of Matthew Hampson, seems likely to be the bride of Robert Ashworth. At her children’s baptisms, she is named twice as Jenny and once as Jane. At the time of her marriage she was living in Prestwich. We know that Matthew Hampson’s family had moved there by 1735.


From the date of his marriage, we would expect Matthew Hampson to have been born around 1703.

There is a suitable baptism in 1706.

Baptism. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1706 Mar 31  Matthew Hampson son of John Hampson of Radcliffe.

His mother was probably Ann Crompton, but since there may have been another John Hampson raising a family in Radcliffe at this time, we cannot be certain. Nor can we tell how many siblings he had.


Radcliffe stands 3 miles south of Bury and 5 miles north of Manchester, where the River Roch joins the Irwell. In the late 18th century, most of its inhabitants were engaged in weaving, crofting or the coal industry, Coal seams underlie most of the parish.

At the baptism of one of his children, Matthew Hampson is described as a “cloath maker”.

When he was granted a marriage licence he was living in Prestwich, just south of Radcliffe, but was married in Radcliffe and started his family there.


MARGARET COWPE. No baptism had been found for Margaret in Radcliffe. Hers is almost certainly this baptism in Bury, 3 miles away..

Baptism. St Mary the Virgin, Bury.
1711 born Apr 22, bapt Apr 25  Margt daughter of Gedeon Cowpe.

This would make her only 17 at the time of her marriage, but Gideon is an uncommon name. The fact that one of the sureties for her wedding allegation was a Gideon Cowpe makes us confident that this is the right family.

Her mother was Anne Barlow, from Macclesfield in Cheshire.

Margaret was the fifth of ten children, one of whom may have died before she was born.

She grew up in Bury, but at the time of her marriage she was living in Radcliffe.


Matthew Hampson and Margaret Cowpe were married by licence in 1728. The date on the licence appears to be 12 Nov 1729, but the year 1729 has been mistakenly inserted in the left hand column too early.

The licence allowed for the wedding to take place in either Radcliffe or Prestwich, a mile south. The couple were named as Matthew Hampson of Prestwich and Margaretan Cowpe of Radcliffe. A marriage licence had to be attested by two sureties, who declared that the details were correct and that there was no impediment to the marriage. They could be fined if this was found to be untrue. The sureties here were Gideon Cowpe and Richard Hampson.

The wedding took place at St Mary, Radcliffe, on 21 Nov 1728.

We have the baptisms of five children.

Baptisms. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1728/9 Feb 12  John
1730/1 Feb 28  Ann
1732 Jul 9  Alice
1733 Oct 11  Richd son of Matth. Hampson Cloath Maker.
1734/5 Mar 23  Jeney

Richard was buried on 28 Sep 1735, aged nearly two. The family abode was then said to be Prestwich parish. At the time of his baptism, as with the other children, the family were living in Radcliffe, so they had only recently moved. Prestwich was where Matthew was living at the time of his marriage, The fact that the Hampsons used Radcliffe church suggests that their house was in a part of this large parish nearer to the centre of Radcliffe than to Prestwich..

At that time, most people in Radcliffe worked at cottage industries. There were woollen and linen websters (weavers) and whitsters (bleachers), as well as those employed in agriculture. The first mill was not built in the town until 1780. Matthew Hampson, “cloath maker”, would have been a weaver.

18th-century weaver[1]


We have not found the burials of either Matthew or Margaret.


We cannot be completely sure about Matthew’s  parentage, but he is almost certainly descended from John Hamson and Doryty Shusmith who married in Radcliffe  in 1586, and raised  five children there. They appear to be the first family of Hampsons in the parish.


[1] https://coverstory2017.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/hand-loom-weaver.jpg?w=500





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