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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)



ANTHONY PETTYT was baptised at Holy Trinity, Skipton, on 6 Sep 1720. [1]

 1720 Sep 6 Antho: s of Jno: Pettyt labourer & Mary his wife of Crookrise.

We have not been able to find the marriage of his parents, so we do not know Mary’s maiden name.

Crookrise lies some three and a half miles north of Skipton just off the Grassington Road and across the Eller Brook. It is dominated by Crookrise Crag.

Crookrise Crag, looking west over Crookrise [2]

Antony had a younger sister and brother. By the time Alice was born in 1723, their father’s status had risen from labourer to farmer. He was still living at CrookRise.

When Anthony was five, an older Anthony Petty died

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1725 Oct  Anthony Petty (Farmer) of Crookrise at 73.

We believe this Anthony Petty to be the younger Anthony’s grandfather.

We do not know how long Anthony senior had been living with the family. In 1695 he was farming at Skyrakes, about a mile west of Crookrise. He may have moved in with John’s family when his health began to fail. We presume that the younger Anthony’s grandmother was living with them too.

Anthony’s father remains a farmer at the baptism of John junior four years later.

Despite the fact that John was a farmer, he had all three children apprenticed to a trade. This was paid for by the charitable trust set up by Silvester Petyt, a distant relative, and the great-great-uncle of Mary Heelis.

In 1733, when he was 13, Anthony, son of John Petyt, was apprenticed to Thomas Petyt, Blacksmith.[3]

Anthony took over the farm at Crookrise, but he must have found it useful to be able to repair farm implements and shoe the horses.


MARY HEELIS was christened on 17 Aug 1737.

Baptism. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1737 Aug 17  Mary d of Edwd Heelis (Farmer) and Leah his wife of Skibeden.

Her mother’s maiden name was Leah Catterson.

Mary also came from a farming family. Her father was from a line of yeomen farming at Skibeden. Her mother was the eldest daughter of a distinguished Skipton citizen, Stephen Catterson. He was titled ‘Mr’, denoting him as gentry.

Mary was the second youngest in a family of eleven.

Skibeden lies to the NE of Skipton. Since the Moorhouse family occupied High Skibeden Farm until 1746, we presume the Heelis family lived at Low Skibeden. Skibeden is one of the old spellings of Skipton.

Two of Mary’s brothers went on to become Stewards of Skipton Castle.[4]


Anthony and Mary married in 1759. Anthony was 39, unusually late. Mary was 22.

Marriage. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1759 Nov 30  Anthony Petyt Farmer and Mary Heelis Spinster, both of this parish.

Married by licence. Both of them signed their names. Anthony had very neat writing. It is possible that he went to Skipton Grammar School. Both William and Sylvester Petyt made bequests to this.

The witnesses were Sylvester Heelis and Timothy Crowther.

The transcript of the licence gives Anthony’s age as 33, making him born in 1726, but there is no evidence of a younger Anthony, so this must be a mistranscription. His burial record agrees with a birth date of 1720.


Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1761 Feb 6  Margaret daughter of Anthony Petyt Farmer and Mary his wife of Thorlby
Margaret was buried on 30 April 1761, having lived only 4 months. The family home is now given as Crookerise.
1762 May 7   Mary daughter of Anthony Petyt Farmer and Mary his wife of Crookerise
1768 Oct 23  John S Anthony Petyt Farmer and Mary W Crookrice
On 25 Jun 1769 an unnamed infant son was buried. He must have died before he could be baptised. By now, the family had moved from Crookrise to Stirton, a rural township close to Thorlby on the NW of Skipton
1770 Dec  Anthony son of Anthony Petyt Farmer & Mary his W of Stirton.
This son also died two years later. He was buried on 7 Sep 1772, son of Anthony Petyt Farmer and Mary his wife of Crookrise. Evidently the Petyts had returned to the family home of Crookrise.
1777 Jun 22   John and Elizabeth twins Anthony Petyt Farmer and Mary W Skipton

The frequent changes of address for Anthony and Mary suggests that the Petyts owned or leased land in various parts of the parish. The couple may have gained land from Mary’s family.


1790 Mary wife of Anthony Pettyt of Crossrice Farmer died Nov 15 aged 53. She was buried on 18 Nov in the West Side East Quarter of the Skipton graveyard.

Anthony lived to the remarkable age of 93. He was buried in Skipton on 4 Mar 1814, in the same grave as Mary. His address was then Thorlby, the rural township adjacent to Stirton.

His brother, John Petyt of Snaygill, also died at 93.



[1] BMDs in Yorkshire registers from Findmypast
[2] http://www.mypennines.co.uk/images/dales/on-crookrise-crag6.JPG
[3] Sylvester Petyt and his Charity. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~petyt/apprentice.htm
[4] From Gillian Waters’ website. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison7.htm . This contains a great deal more information about the Petyt and Heelis families.





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