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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)


                                JAMES FAWCETT and MARY NICHOLSON (9)


JAMES FAWCETT. James was born into a family that had been in the Wensleydale of Askrigg for several generations.

Baptism. St Oswald, Askrigg.
1706 Aug 18  James son of John Fawcet of Askrigg

He was the eldest known son of John Fawcett and Jane Metcalf. Both were prominent Askrigg families.

We have found only one other child for John Fawcett, and that family were living in Buse, whereas James’s family were ‘of Askrigg’, meaning that they lived in the village. The register is occasionally hard to read, so there may have been others.


MARY NICHOLSON. There are apparently two possible baptisms for Mary. One is in 1698, the daughter of Richard Nicholson. The other is in1710, the child of William Nichalson, but this child died 9 days later. This leaves us with:

Baptism, St Oswald, Askrigg.
1698 Apr 17 Mary daughter of Richard Nicholson

She was the second of five children of Richard Nicholson and Jane Burton, though a younger brother died soon after birth. Her father was from a well-established family in Askrigg. Her mother was from Horton in Ribblesdale.

18th-century clock over the door of St Oswald’s

Marriage. St. Oswald, Askrigg
1731 Jun 13   James Fawcett and Mary Nicholson

Wensleydale is the only Yorkshire Dale which is named after a town and not a river. The river that flows through it is the Ure, which becomes the Ouse further downstream, before emptying into the Humber. The old name for the dale is Yoredale.

There were at least two James Fawcetts having children baptised at St. Oswald’s in Askrigg. The one we want is the father of Ann Fawcett, who was James Fawcett “of Askrigg”, meaning that he lived in the village and not in an outlying hamlet.

Baptisms. St Oswald, Askrigg.
1732 Jan 7  John
1734 Dec 25  Mary
1738 Sep 3  Ann
1740/1 Mar 11  James Posthumous son of James Fawcett of Askrigg deceased.

James Fawcett of Askrigg was buried on 8 Dec 1740. He was 34.

Mary was left with three small children and pregnant with her fourth. By now, her own parents were dead, but no doubt she turned to her in-laws for help.

By the middle of this century, the creation of the turnpike road had made Askrigg into a thriving market town. It held fairs for goods such as woollens and pewter, and others where ‘horned cattle’ were also sold.

Mary does not appear to have remarried. Thirty-two years later we find the following burial.

Burial. St Oswald, Askrigg.
1772 Feb 23  Mary Fawcett of Askrigg  Widow.

If this is the same Mary, she was 73.





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