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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)



JOHN BARKER. The age on John’s marriage licence gives him a birth date of 1710-11. His baptism has not been found in the Skipton register. There is a baptism for John Barker in Addingham, 5 miles east of Skipton. [1]

Baptism. Addington.
1711 Jul 29  John son of John Barker.

His parents were John Barker and Elizabeth Cryer who married in Addingham in 1695 Nov 5.

However it is probably this John Barker born in 1711 who married Hannah Hodson in Addingham on Sep 14 1732


SUSANNAH HEELIS. We know from their marriage licence that Susannah/Susan was born in 1704-5. Her baptism has not been found.

Gillian Waters, who has done a great deal of research into this family, believes Susanna to be the daughter of Thomas Heelis and Elizabeth Crofte of Thorlby, baptised in Skipton on 28 April 1696. [2] The place agrees with Susannah’s residence at the time of her marriage. But this would make her an unlikely 37 when she married, and does not agree with the age given on her marriage licence transcript.

The Heelis family of Thorlby were yeomen farmers and smallholders.


Marriage licence 29 July 1733  John Barker 22 and Susannah Heely 28 both of Skipton.

The transcript gives her name as Heely, but comparison with the marriage register and other transcripts makes Heelis a more likely reading.

The marriage took place on Aug 2 at Holy Trinity.

Jon Barker Blacksmith and Susan Heelis, he of Skipton, she Spinster of Thorlby.

Thorlby was an outlying township of Skipton, on the way to Gargrave.

The couple would have set up home near or above John’s smithy. This was in Caroline Square, before it was demolished in 1821 for road widening. [3] It was a good position at the meeting-place of major roads from Settle, Ilkley and Grassington. These were busy routes for agricultural and manufactured goods, as well as combed wool to be spun and woven by pieceworkers in farms and cottages. Before the Keighley to Kendal turnpike road was built in the 1750s, this road was narrow and in bad condition, unfit for wheeled vehicles. Packhorses were a more practical means of transport.

Skipton High Street from Holy Trinity church [4]


Baptisms. Holy Trinity, Skipton
1734 Oct 6 Elizabeth d of Jon Barker Blacksmith and Susannah his wife of Skipton
1736 Nov 21  Thos: s John Barker Blacksmith and Susan his wife of Skipton.
1738 Sep 10  Mary d of Jon Barker Blacksmith and Susannah his wife of Skipton

As a blacksmith, John would have profited from the greatly increased traffic brought by the turnpike road. But he would also have had to pay the 6s levy for ‘statute labour’ to dismantle the bridge across the Waller beck and rebuild it to carry the new road. He would have welcomed the coming of the stagecoach.

On Oct 20 1762 we have the burial of John Barker Blacksmith of Thorlby. This township was Susannah’s residence when they married. He was aged 51.

On 10 March 1779 we have the burial at Holy Trinity of Susannah Barker widow. If the age on her marriage licence is correct, she would have been 75.



[1] BMDs from Yorkshire registers on Findmypast.
[2] Gillian Waters. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison4.htm
[3] Gillian Waters. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison4.htm
[4] http://www.welcometoskipton.com/slides/slide1a.jpg




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