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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)



FRANCIS DICKINSON. Francis’s marriage date around 1729 gives him an expected birth date soon after 1700, but his baptism is rather earlier than that.

Baptism. St Mary the Virgin, Whitby.
1691 Feb 27  Francis son of Francis Dickenson  Whitby

His mother was Ann Annison.

Another Francis Dickinson was having children baptised around this time, making it difficult to know how many siblings Francis junior had.

This other Francis Dickinson was a mariner. Whitby was a busy port. The 17th century saw a marked rise in the number of ships. The River Esk winds its way to the sea through steeply sloping banks, with houses climbing up on either side.

Francis junior, on the other hand, was a farmer’s son. At the time of his baptism, the family abode is given as Whitby, meaning Whitby town. We mostly find this family at Whitby Laithes, on the high ground south of Whitby Abbey. It is not certain whether the Dickinsons were living within the town boundaries then, or whether Whitby Laithes was not yet given as a separate abode. The first mention of Whitby Laithes is at the baptism of Francis’s brother John in 1696. Whitby Laithes was formerly a grange, or outlying farm, of Whitby Abbey.

Francis became a farmer like his father.


ELIZABETH BURN.  Elizabeth was married in Fylingdales, making this her probable baptism.

Baptism. Fylingdales.
1706 Apr 28   Elizabeth daughter of William Burne

Her mother was Margaret Stonehouse of Whitby.

Elizabeth was the fourth of five children.

Her father is listed simply as a Householder at his burial, so we do not know his occupation.

The parish of Fylingdales lies south of Whitby. It includes the villages of Robin Hood’s Bay and Fylingthorpe.

Elizabeth was 23 when she married, a typical age, and considerably younger than Francis.


Marriage. Fylingdales.
1729 Jun 3   Francis Dickinson and Elizabeth Burn

The entry in the register gives no information about the parish of the bride and groom.

The couple set up home at the farm in Whitby Laithes where Francis had grown up.

Their first year of marriage was not uneventful. York Castle Prison has the following record:  [1]

Alexander Smith, husband of Rose Smith.
Date: Lent 1730
Stealing jewellery and linen from the house of Francis Dickinson and his wife Elizabeth Dickinson of Whitby Laithes; transportation 7 years Lent 1730.

The fact that Elizabeth had jewellery worth stealing says something about their status.

We have not been able to find out more about Alexander and Rose Smith. It is quite likely that Rose fell into poverty after Alexander was transported.


We have the baptisms in Whitby of three daughters.

1730 May 1  Ann daughter of Francis Dickinson Farmer Whitby Laths.
1736 Jan 5   Elizabeth daughter of Francis Dickinson Farmer Whitby Laths
Before the next baptism the family had moved to another farm.
1740 Jul 13   Margaret daughter of Francis Dickinson Farmer Knipehow

 Knipe Howe, or Gnipe Howe, Farm is in North Hawsker. This is now an independent parish, but used to be part of Whitby. It is just under a mile south of Whitby Laithes and only a few hundred yards from the shore.

The same year we have the burial of Francis Dickinson Senr, Farmer of Knipehow. This looks very much as though Francis’s father had moved to live with them after the death of his wife.

High Hawsker, near Whitby [2]

1752 marked the beginning of the whaling trade from Whitby. It became a major whaling port. Today there is still an arch made from the jaws of a whale.

1762 saw the nave of Whitby Abbey collapse. It had been a ruin since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.

Francis junior was buried on 16 Feb 1764. Like his father, he is recorded as a Farmer of Knipehow.

Elizabeth’s burial has not been found in Whitby. She appears to have moved back to her birth parish of Fylingdales. There is a burial at St Stephen’s church.

Burial. St Stephen, Fylingdales
1789 Jun 4   Elizabeth Dickinson (Widow) aged 82 years  Raw

Her age matches the birth date of Elizabeth Burn.

Raw is a hamlet a mile inland from Robin Hood’s bay.

Her mother Margaret Burne was also living in Raw when she died in 1747.


[1] http://www.yorkcastleprison.org.uk/family-history.html/transports/horse%20stealing/page49.
TNA: ASSI 41/2-81,84; ASSI 45/18/7(54-6).
[2] Ruth Gregory (Gallery). http://www.picturesofengland.com/img/L/1064536.jpg





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