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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)


 JOHN BUCK is the third of successive generations in Idle to bear that name. But his career took him beyond the parish of Calverley. He is known at various stages in his career as “John Buck the younger of Idle Mills”, “John Buck of Bradford” and “John Buck of Gargrave”. Confirmation that these are the same man comes through the continuity of land ownership, the names of his wife and children, and the long involvement of this family with the Old Chapel at Idle, in which trusteeship is passed down from father to son.

John was the second of three sons of John Buck of Idle. His mother’s name was Jane.

1684  21 May  John, son of John Bucke junior of Idle Park

Idle Park is on the east side of the hamlet of Thackley, in the large parish of Calverley.

His elder brother William died before John was born. In 1686 both his mother and his younger brother Lawrence died. John was then two.

In 1689, John’s grandfather, also John Buck, died. John’s father inherited the family corn and fulling mills on the River Aire. These are known in official documents as Idle Mills, but were later called Buck Mill. They had been in the hands of the Bucks for a century.

John and his father moved to live at the mill.

In 1692 a tax assessment shows John’s father to be one of the wealthiest men in Idle.

In 1693, John senior was appointed a trustee of Idle Chapel, an office which John himself was later to hold.

Sometime before John was ten, his father remarried. A baby half-sister Mary was born in 1694.


John moved away from the long family involvement with Idle Mills to become an attorney. Before his marriage he was living in Bradford, only a few miles away.

In 1710, when John is 26, we find his name for the first time on a deed concerning the Buck estates.

The deed was drawn up immediately before his marriage to Martha Garth. He and his bride receive a substantial marriage settlement, including the lucrative Idle Mills. This was a triple operation, involving a water mill grinding corn and two fulling mills for the treatment of woollen cloth. In return, his parents receive a guaranteed income, the right to remain in the family house by the mill and to gather firewood from the nearby woods. There is provision for Martha after John’s death, and annuities for other members of the Bucke family. [1]

Lease, Release and Counterpart .  7-8 Apr 1710

Made between John Bucke of Idle Mills and John Bucke junior, and Jeremy Garth of Bolton near Bradford and Martha Garth spinster, and William Rawson of Bradford and John Marshall of Yeadon (trustees), concerning the messuage wherein John Bucke the elder dwelt, Upper and Lower Barns belonging, water mill and 2 fulling mills known as Idle Mills and several closes of land [named] in Idle and Shipley; being the Marriage Settlement of John Bucke junior and Martha Garth, making provision for John Bucke the elder and his wife during their lives and a jointure for Martha, rent charges and annuities for other members of the family.

John and Martha received “the Water Corn Mill and 2 Fulling Mills with 4 stocks under one roof, called Idle Mills, standing near the house” and a drying kiln for the corn mill. The closes belonging to Idle Mills were Kiln Close, Wails [Wales] Close, New Close, Two Days Work or Mill Close, Brow Close, Sandall Ing, Ramsden Ing, Wade Close, Great Ing (formerly in three closes called High Holme Ing, Hobson Ing and Three Days Ploughing), Coate Close with a little laith or barn, Little Stubbings, Great Stubbings.”  An ing is a water-meadow.

There were also 3 pieces of Woody ground near the House: The Great Wood-End, adjoining Sandall Ing on the north west, Mill Wood, Mill Wood Brow.

The property is to be held in trust for the couple. Martha’s mother was Sarah Rawson, so William Rawson may be Martha’s grandfather, uncle or brother.


MARTHA GARTH. She was the daughter of Jeremy Garth and Sarah Rawson. In the marriage settlement her father is said to be of Bolton near Bradford. Bolton was a village in the south part of the parish of Calverley.

We do not yet have her baptism, but her parents were married in Calverley in May 1681.


The day after the marriage settlement was signed, the couple married.

1710 April 9   John Buck   Bradford   and Martha Garth  Calverley

Marriages usually took place in the parish church, rather than the chapel of ease at Idle.


It appears that Martha was pregnant when they married. The couple had four children baptised in Bradford. [2]

Baptisms. Bradford
1710 Sep 8  John  son of John Buck
1712  Sep 20  Sarah daughter of John Buck
1713 Nov 8  William son of John Buck
1715 Mar 9 Martha  daughter of John Buck

The year after the marriage, there are documents in which John is referred to again as John Bucke of Bradford. He is also termed a gentleman. There was another John Buck in Bradford, a wool merchant, but the continuity of ownership of these properties proves that this is Martha’s husband.

Lease of possession   5 Jul 1711  [3]

From Lawrence Buck of Sheffield, mercer, to John Buck of Bradford  gent. of the Ley close, the Great Close and the Burganhey; the Great Wood and New Close Spring (woody ground).

 [Lease and] Release   6 Jul 1711  [4]

From Lawrence Buck of Sheffield, mercer, to John Buck of Bradford, of Ley close, Great close, and the Burganhey close in Idle in occupation of Samuel Marshall and John Denbigh also of the Great Wood and the New Close Spring (woods) in Idle.

Martha’s father died in Aug 1713.

John’s father was a trustee of the Old Chapel at Idle. We find John junior’s first recorded involvement with it in a document of 1713.

Appointment of 60 acres of the common lands in Idle to be enclosed   5 Sep 1713.[5]

For support of a ‘preaching Orthodox Minister’ of the chapel of Idle according to the Act (12 Anne). Signed by 32 of the freeholders and consent given by Robert Clarkson, lord of the manor of Idle.
Commissioners for selecting the parts to be enclosed:- Sir Walter Calverley, John Buck junior, Henry Slater and John Slater, Benjamin Sandall, Lawrence Buck and James Booth, or any three of them.

In 1716 we find him using the land at Ley Close, etc, mentioned in the 1711 documents, to secure a mortgage.

Mortgage by demise for 1000 years   31 Dec 1716. [6]

From John Buck of Bradford gentleman, to Thomas Dobson of Viccarage near Bingley, gent. secured on the Ley close, the Great Close, and the Burganhey; also the Great Wood and New Close Spring; proviso for redemption.
Enrolled at Wakefield.

Mortgages were to play a prominent part in John’s dealings from now on.

A list of gentry who subscribed to a map of Yorkshire about 1719  includes the name of “Mr John Buck, attorney”.  [7]

In 1720, both John and his father were in dispute with the local lord of the manor, Sir William Calverley, who had just taken over the lordship of Idle. It concerned rent relating to Idle Mills, which John the elder had signed over to John junior in trust at his marriage.

Sir Walter Calverley versus John Buck   c.1720. [8]

Bill and Answer and other legal papers in a dispute between Sir Walter Calverley and John Buck the elder and John Buck the younger concerning several rentcharges issuing out of Idle Mills which defendants admitted were formerly paid but claimed that part was payable by Swaine and Slater to whom part of the lands had been sold.


The following year, Martha died. She was buried in Bradford, not in Idle.

Burial. St Peter’s, Bradford. Bishop’s Transcripts.
1721  12 Oct  Martha, wife of Jno Buck, Gent, of Idle.

The parish register says “of Idle Mill”.

The mortgage John had taken out on Ley Close, etc, was transferred from Thomas Dobson, who had originally advanced the money, to Robert Stansfield of Bradford.

1721 28 November .   John Buck of Idle Mills, gentleman: mortgage owed to Thomas Dobson transferred to Robert Stansfield, secured on the Great Wood and New Close Spring. [9]

This mortgage was paid off in 1725, but a new one was taken out in 1729; it was transferred to various other people until 1744.

Transfer of Mortgage   28 Nov 1721. [10]

Made between Thomas Dobson of Viccarage near Bingley, gent. (1), John Buck of Idle Mills gent. (2) and Robert Stansfield of Bradford gent. (3); reciting mortgage of 31 Dec. 1716 from (2) to (1), secured on Ley close, the Great close and the Burganhey in Idle, the Great Wood and New close Spring, which was then transferred to (3).

The dispute with Sir Walter Calverley continued.

1721   Answer of John Buck the elder and John Buck the younger to a Suit in Chancery by Sir Walter Calverley. Sir Walter, as Lord of the Manor of Idle, was claiming manorial rents due from certain closes in Idle. The Bucks claimed these were due from property they had sold on. John Buck the elder admitted he owned the Water Corn Mill and a Fulling Mill, a messuage and other buildings, lands and tenements; but Thackley Ing and Half-hall Ing had been given by Lawrence Buck, grandfather of John Buck the elder, to his younger son William, who conveyed them to John Swain and Henry Slater.

About 7 years ago, the yearly value of the house, mill and lands was about £60; but since by ‘rebuilding & making an addicion thereto of a new Corn Mill & otherwise’ the value was about £80.

ye old Mills did consist formerly of one pair of Millstones in ye Corn Mill only but one pair of stones then added to ye Corn Mill & two other stones were formerly added to ye said fulling Mill[11]

At 38, John is taking over responsibilities from his father.

Appointment of new trustees of the Sunderland Charities   23-24 Feb 1722. [12]

And transfer of the properties from John Buck the elder and Henry Slater to Sir Walter Calverley, John Buck the younger and Thomas Slater.
The Sunderlands were related to the Bucks by marriage.

The dispute over rents on Idle Mills was resolved in 1723.

Agreement   7 Jan 1723.[13]

Between John Buck junior, and Sir Walter to end the dispute. Bucke admitted the charge and agreed to pay all arrears also to produce original deeds in his possession when required ,copies of which were annexed to the agreement: copy deeds annexed: 28 June 1594 29 June 1594; 20 March 1614/5; (two deeds); 28 March 1620/1 (three deeds) all relating to the acquisition of Idle lands by the Bucks.

John’s father was then 68, he appears not to have been involved in this settlement.

In 1724, John was still paying off his mortgage on Ley Close and Great Wood. He secured some relief by letting two local forgemasters cut wood there. He reserved for himself the right to use some of the wood. Forgemasters needed the wood to make charcoal.

This document confirms that John Buck, gent, of Bradford, who took out the mortgage, is the same as John Buck the younger of Idle Mills. It may be that John had returned to live at the mill as his father declined with age. [14]

1724 12 October .    John Buck the younger of Idle Mills to John Moore of Kirkstall Forge and Francis Watts of Colnebridge: sale for £300 (with an arrangement for part of the money to go to Robert Stansfield of Bradford in part payment of a mortgage) of:

‘All the Springwood and Underwood & brushwood now standing growing & being within the several parcels of Woody ground’ called the Great Wood, and the Ley Close or new Close Spring: 69 acres

Reserving to John Buck sufficient number of oaks – or for want of oaks, sufficient number of Ashes, Elms and other trees – as are usually left for wavers or standers [i.e. timber trees]; and sufficient wood for fencing the woods;

with liberty of access for the purchasers and their workmen over a period up to 25 March 1732 ‘to fell cutt down & pill the said Woode & to raile, stack, park, dry, dress, chopp, & cutt the bark there; And also there to work up cord & Coal the tops cordwood & brushwood thereby accrewing & for that purpose to make pitt places & to digg & get Sods, cover & other necessaryes for Coaling the Cordwood arising or hapnin in the said parcells of Woody ground or either of them & to Coal remove & Cary away the said woods, bark, Charcoal & other matter arising’ – until the 29 September following the end of the stated period;

they are to make as little spoil or waste as possible, ‘And also shall & will leave such sufficient number of young Oakes Ashes & Elmes in the said Parcelles of Woody ground as are herein before reserved’

[cordwood: the small upper branches and toppings of trees, &c., cut into lengths and stacked into ‘cords’ – Wright: Dialect Dictionary]

The following year, John is unable to pay off  his mortgage on the due date. He takes out another advance. The sum of £450 represents a considerable debt.  The premises used as security are again Ley close, the Great close and the Burganhey in Idle, the Great Wood and New close Spring,

Agreement   7 May 1725. [15]

Between John Buck the younger and Robert Stansfield of Bradford, that as John Buck could not discharge his mortgage then due, he would assure the premises to the said Robert (subject to redemption) for a further advance, making the principal mortgage money £450.

A few days later, the property again changes hands.

Lease and Release   10-11 May 1725. [16]

Made between John Buck the younger of Idle Mills (1), Samuel Stansfield of Bradford (2) and Robert Stansfield (his son) of Bradford, (3); reciting mortgage of 31 Dec. 1716 and transfer of 28 Nov. 1721; witnessed that the mortgage was discharged to Robert Stansfield and the premises [described in 291] were sold to Samuel Stansfield but in trust for the said Robert.

The following year, he still owes Robert Stansfield money.

Notice .  23 Apr 1726. [17]

By John Buck the younger of Idle, miller, to Robert Stansfield that he intended to pay off the mortgage on his premises.
Draft reply from Robert Stansfield.

This is the only time John is described as a miller.

He again owes money in 1727, this time on mills in both Idle and Allerthorp. There was a village of Allerthorp near Wakefield, but the mill here may be within a nearer parish, as Idle was.

Indenture of a Fine   Hilary Term 1727. [18]

Levied by Henry Marshall and Robert Lupton (plaintiffs) and John Buck and Edward Simms and Mary his wife (deforciants) on 1 cottage, 2 watermills, 2 fulling mills, lands, &c. in Idle and Allerthorp.

In 1729 he takes out another mortgage, this time on the ancestral home of Idle Mills, together with lands in Idle.

Mortgage by demise for 500 years   16 Oct 1729. [19]

From John Buck to Richard Strother secured on Idle Mills &c. [names closes].

It may be that he needs this money for a new home in Gargrave. On the same day, we find him for the first time designated as John Buck of Gargrave. Gargrave is  4 miles NW of Skipton.

Deed to Declare the Uses of a Fine   16 Oct 1729. [20]

To be levied on property to ensure to the use of John Buck; made between John Buck of Brockabank, Gargrave, (1), Henry Marshall of Grissington and Robert Lupton of Addingham, clerk, (2).

The property involved is again Idle Mills and some associated closes. The continuity of this association with Idle Mills confirms that John Buck the younger of Idle Mills is now the same as John Buck of Gargrave.

Brockabank was a significant acquisition.  We do not know whether John bought it outright or rented it. It has been described as “a large old house at the end of a lane from Eshton. According to the entry in Pevsner it dates from the 16C to 17C.”[21] It is two miles north of Gargrave. It can be reached by a track a little way past Eshton Hall, which goes down to Brockabank Bridge and climbs the opposite bank.

The name probably comes from the old word “brock” for a badger.

Brockabank is a listed building. [22]

Farmhouse. Early – mid C17 with C18, C19 and C20 alterations and late C16 origins.
Slobbered rubble, stone dressings, stone slate roof. Formerly lobby entry; east-west alignment, altered in C17 by addition of north wing flush with west gable, and recessed south wing containing repositioned entrance. 2 storeys, 5 bays.

The house has mullioned windows.

Interior: central early – mid C18 kitchen fire surround with flat-arched lintel in position of original stack.

This may date from John’s time.


In 1731, John transferred the mortgage. [23] The Slaters were related by marriage to the Bucks.

1731 4/5 May .    Lease and Release (transfer of Mortgage): John Buck [formerly John Buck the younger of Buck Mill; now of Gargrave, Gentleman] to Trustees for Thomas Slater, on security of:
House standing near Idle Mills with outhouses, barns, orchards, garths, gardens and closes, woods, underwoods etc.
2 Water Corn Mills and 2 Fulling Mills with 4 stocks under one roof, called Idle Mills
Drying kiln for the Corn Mill and ground, ‘stoneries’, Islands
suit and soke, service, custom, mulcture etc.
‘Pusses’, fans, geaves, wheels, stocks, millstones, implements etc.
Dams, waters, watercourses, goits, races, streams, clows etc.
Occupied by Edward Ackroyd

This is the first time we find the mill called Buck Mill. Its scope had increased to two corn mills and two fulling mills.

The following year, John discharges his mortgage on the mills, but immediately transfers it to someone else. [24]

Mortgage by Lease and Release   18-19 Dec 1732

From John Buck to Richard Wilson of Leeds, after discharging a previous mortgage to Samuel Lister of Horton and John Slater of Idle, tanner, secured on Idle Mills and certain closes of land known as the Kiln close, the Wailes close, the New close, the Two days work or Miln close, the Brow close and the back of the Kiln.

Transfer of Mortgage (by Assignment of residue of a term of 500 years)   19 Dec 1732

Made between Richard Strother of Ottley gent. (1), John Buck of Gargrave, (2), Richard Huntington of Holbeck (3), and Richard Wilson of Leeds, (4); reciting mortgage by demise of 16 Oct. 1729 on Idle Mills and lands. Witnessed that mortgage was transferred to (3) in trust for (4) secured on premises as above. [25]

Now in his fifties, John is still transferring and increasing his mortgage in 1735. [26] The sum owing is now £1000.

Transfer of Mortgage and Further Charge (Lease Release and Counterpart)   25-26 Jul 1735

Made between Richard Wilson of Leeds, (1), John Buck of Gargrave (2), Sir George Armitage of Kirklees (3); reciting mortgage by (2) to (1) for £1000 secured on a messuage and appurtenances and Idle Mills and certain closes of land [named]; witnessed that the mortgage was transferred to (3) who also advanced a further sum.

Both of John’s sons, John and William, became attorneys too. John the younger returned to the parish of Calverley to live in the part named Bolton, where his mother Martha had come from. In 1744, this younger John is acting with his father in the sale of Idle Mills and the surrounding lands. Mention of John senior’s unmarried daughters, Sarah and Martha, now 32 and 29, suggests that the money may be used not only to pay off the long-standing mortgage, but to provide for the daughters. [27]

Lease and Release   29-30 Oct 1744

Made between John Buck of Gargrave and John Buck the younger of Bolton (1), Robert Lupton of Kirkby in Kirkby Malhamdale clerk (2), John Marshall of Yeadon (3) Sarah Buck of Broosholm spinster and Martha Buck spinster (daughters of John Buck the elder) (4), Walter Blackett of Wallington (5) and Sir Walter Calverley (6); being the sale of the following premises to (5) as trustee for (6) on their discharging mortgages :- a messuage near Idle Mills, Upper and Lower Barn (in occupation of Edward Ackeroyd) Idle Mills and the following closes:- Kiln, Wailes, New, Milne, Brow, Back of the Kiln, Sandal Ing, Ramsden Ing, Wade close, Oddy Ing, three Smithy closes, Bolton close, Great Ing, Coat close and a barn, Little and Great Stubbings.
Agreement between (1) and (6) to execute the above, 26 April 1744.

The sale included: the house near Idle Mills, occupied by Edward Ackroyd,
Upper Barn and Lower Barn,
‘One cottage or dwelling house there lately erected’,
2 Water Corn Mills and 2 Fulling Mills with 4 stocks under one roof on the River Aire, near the house, called Idle Mills,
Drying Kiln,
Ground, stoneries, islands,
Suit, soke etc.,
Pieces, fans, arks, chests,
Wheels, stocks, millstones, utensils,
Dams, attachments of dams, water, watercourses etc.,
Closes as above.

The joint purchaser was Sir Walter Calverley, Baronet, of Esholt Hall. In 1709 the Calverleys had built a new mansion in Esholt, near Shipley, and moved from Calverley Hall. Sir Walter was still the lord of the manor of Idle.  Soke was service due to the lord of the manor.[28]

Sir Walter recorded the purchase of Idle Mills in his Memorandum Book.

Thus the Bucks’ 160-year association with Idle Mills, first as tenant millers, then as owners, came to an end. The research report “A Breath of Fresh Aire” comments:

The Buck family – John who had moved to Gargrave, and his son John in Bolton, between Idle and Bradford – no longer worked the Mill.  They were described as attorneys. They had obviously moved up the social scale, but  perhaps they had also recognised the end of the manorial corn mill system. It is after their departure that evidence for the name ‘Buck Mill’ as opposed to ‘Idle Mills’ begins. [29]

The manorial system was not quite over. In 1751 the Court Baron at Idle records: nine inhabitants of Idle were fined 6s 8d for grinding their corn at other mills and not the Lord’s mill: they were to take their corn to the Lord’s mill in future. [30]

In 1755 the freehold inhabitants of Idle claim the liberty to carry their corn to be ground where they please, and are not bound to have it ground at the mill.

In 1794, the owner, Ann Rookes of Esholt Hall, said the the mill ‘is very much out of repair and capable of very great improvement but at a very considerable expense’’. She granted her daughter and son-in-law timber rights in Tasker Wood to pay for the repairs.

Over the years, the mill was enlarged. In 1869 plans were approved to add wool-combing machinery.

In 1883 the Bradford Directory said: ‘As early as 1567 the woollen trade was established at Buck mill in Idle, and the woollen manufacture is still carried on to a large extent, combined with the worsted trade.’

An article on Buck Mill in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus in 1971, 6 October, said:

In its early days Buck Mill was used for grinding corn and fulling cloth. When its textile department was extended two four-storey blocks were built, along with a boilerhouse, engine and chimney. To conserve water for the boiler a dam was made in a field to the south, but this is now merely a marsh, inhabited by common newts and great pond snails. Corn to be ground was stored in a large barn with double threshing doors. For some years before the 1914-18 War the mill was empty and derelict. Finally, in 1923 the buildings were blown up and a quantity of the stone was used to pave the path which climbs the hill to Thackley. A stone door with an 18th century date was taken and built into an open fireplace of a house in Gill Lane, Yeadon, the home of the late Mr. C. Wontner Smith, then in charge of Esholt Sewage Works.

Today, the remains of the mill lie hidden in undergrowth between the Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Buck Lane leads down to it, over the canal swing bridge.


Abandoned millstone in Buck Wood. [31]


The Bucks’ eldest son John had moved to Bolton in Calverley. The second son, William, stayed in Gargrave. Both were attorneys.

 Though the link to the mill was severed, we know from a deed involving his son William that John retained his interest in Idle through trusteeship of Idle Chapel. This appears to have been passed down from father to son. [32]

There was a farmer in Gargrave called John Buck, who was also styled as a gentleman. It is not clear whether the following document of 1748 refers to the farmer or the attorney. [33]

1) William Airton the younger, of Gargrave, gent, son and Heir of John Airton, decd
2) John Alcock of Skipton in Craven, gent
3) John Buck of Gargrave, gent
4) George Holden of Gargrave, innkeeper
5) Matthew Wilson of Eshton Hall, Gargrave, gent
Premises: A close called Crossberr Nook in Gargrave
Lease is from (1) to (2) to (4)
(2) is (1)’s trustee by a lease and release dated 3&4 Feb 1747 to sell property to pay off mortgages and debts.
(3) transfers the equity of redemption to attend the inheritance.
Consideration: £36 [(4) to (2)]

On 5 Nov the following year, 1749,  there is a receipt from J. Buck for the balance of his account with Sir Ralph Assheton for expenses in a land transaction, probably in Gargrave. [34]

The last reference we have to John’s property transactions is in 1755. On 16 Jan 1755, a petition was presented to the House of Commons concerning the will of Robert Stansfield, of Bradford in the county of York, Esquire. Among the properties mentioned are:

 all those Messuages, Lands, Woods, Tenements and Hereditaments, situate in Idle, in the parish of Calverley, in the said  County, which were late the Estate of John Buck, of Gargrave, in the said County, Gentleman, and which said Estates were, by the said Testator, lately purchased of the late Thomas Swaine, and Thomas Swaine his son, and John Buck respectively.

John died in 1758 at the age of 74.

Burial. Gargrave.
Sep 24. Mr John Buck of Gargrave



[1] WYL500/287-289
[2] IGI
[3] WYL500/214
[4] WYL500/290
[5] WYL500/833
[6] WYL500/218
[7] John James, History & Topography of Bradford and its Parish, quoted by John Allison in “The Bradford Canal – The First Promoters”. www.bradfordhistorical.org.uk.
[8] WYL500/923a
[9] WYL 500/291
[10] WYL500/291
[11] Bradford Archives: DB5/24/31
[12] WYL500/836
[13] WYL500/923b
[14] WYL 500/292
[15] WYL500/293
[16] WYL500/294a
[17] WYL500/295
[18] WYL500/296a
[19] WYL500/297
[20] WYL500/298
[21] Humphrey Bolton. www.geograph.org.uk
[22] www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk
[23] WYL 500/299
[24] WYL500/300
[25] WYL500/301
26] WYL500/302
[27] WYL500/306
[28] WYL 500/306
[29] www.lhi.org.uk/projects. “A Breath of Fresh Aire”. 4. The subsequent history of Buck Mill is taken from this report.
[30] Bradford Archives: DB5/24/28
[31] Photograph: Friends of Buck Wood
[32] WYL500/839  1 Feb 1779
[33] A2A:  E7/14/3/9
[34] A2A:  E7/14/3/12  5 Nov 1749





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