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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)

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JOHN HAMPSON. We have the following baptism for Matthew Hampson of Radcliffe

Baptism. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1706 Mar 31  Matthew Hampson son of John Hampson of Radcliffe..

Matthew’s is the tenth in a series of eleven baptisms for children of John Hampson in Radcliffe.

At first sight there appear to be two possible marriages for his parents.

Marriage. St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich.
1686 Aug 3  John Hamson and Ann Crompton.

Prestwich is adjacent to Radcliffe parish.

Marriage. St Mary, Radcliffe .
1697 Dec   John Hamson and Esther Smith

But further examination shows us the following:

Marriage. St Mary the Virgin, Leigh
1697 Dec 7 John Hamson of Radcliff parish and Esther Smith of Atherton.

Leigh lies 10 miles west of Radcliffe.

Esther is not a common name. The apparent coincidence can be explained by the fact that marriage licences often gave two possible parishes where the wedding could take place. Here, the choice was evidently between Radcliffe and Leigh. Since the Leigh marriage gives an exact date, while the Radcliffe one does not, we conclude that that is where the wedding was held.

We have not found a suitable baptism in Radcliffe for Esther’s husband, but there is one in Leigh.

Nor have we found Esther’s burial in Radcliffe, but there is one in Leigh in 1704 for Esther, wife of John Hampson, abode Tydesley. This is preceded by a string of baptisms in Leigh for the children of John Hampson, for some of whom the abode is Tydesley.

This leads us to the conclusion that, though the second John Hamson was living in Radcliffe before his marriage, he came from Leigh, married in Leigh, and raised his family there.


This leaves John Hamson and Ann Crompton, married in1686, as the most likely parents of Matthew.

There are, however, two caveats. The earlier baptisms for children of John Hamson, do not give his abode. Most of the later ones do. In Oct 1698 there is baptism for Johnnes son of John Hamson, abode Bridge. The other known abodes, including Matthew’s, are Radcliffe. When a bridge was built across the Irwell, a new community grew up around it. “Radcliffe” indicates the original settlement around the church and manor house. This is probably not Matthew’s father, but it does indicate that there may have been another John Hamson raising children in Radcliffe at this time.

In the sequence of 11 baptisms there is only one instance where the dates overlap. Joseph was baptised on 7 Apr 1700 and Ann on 1 Jun 1700. Unless this is a transcription error, there must have been two John Hamsons at the time. At both baptisms the abode is Radcliffe. As yet, we do not have access to a scan of the register to check.

The likelihood is that Matthew was a late child of the marriage between John Hamson and Ann Crompton, but there remains a little uncertainty.


If John Hamson was married in 1686, we should expect his baptism to be around 1660. There are two such baptisms in Radcliffe.

Baptisms. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1657 born 20 Jun, bapt 27 Jun, John Hamson son of Richard Hamson, Wollin Webster
1662 Jun 22 John Hampson son of Richard Hampson.

Although we do not have a burial for the first John, it seems likely that he died, and that therefore the second John is Matthew’s father. There appears to be only one Richard Hamson raising a family in Radcliffe at this time.

The first baptism identifies Richard as a webster, or weaver, of woollen. We have no information about John’s occupation, but his father, brother and son were weavers, so there is a strong probability that John was too.

His mother was Mary Morton, who was not from a Radcliffe family.

John appears to be the fourth of five children, of whom we assume that one had already died.

He was born in the early years of the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles II.


ANN CROMPTON.  From the date of her marriage in 1686, we should expect Ann to have been born in the early 1660s. She was married in Prestwich, and there is a suitable baptism there..

Baptism. St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich.
1664 Jun 12  Ann Crompton filia Jacobi (James) Crompton, of Holinhurst.

There is one doubt about this identification. In the same year that Ann Crompton married John Hamson in Prestwich, another Ann Crompton married Anthony Hilton, also in Prestwich. It remains  unclear which of these was the daughter of James Crompton.

Although the marriage took place in Prestwich, Hollinhurst is in Radcliffe, where there is still a Hollinhurst Road and Hollinhurst Park.


We have a succession of baptisms for children of John Hamson.

Baptisms. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1687/8 Feb 5  Richard
1690 Apr 27  Elizabeth
1692 Nov 13 John
1695 Apr 7  James. James was buried on 16 Dec 1698, aged 3.
1697 Dec 3  Mary
1698 Oct 16  Johnes, abode Bridge
1700 Apr 7  Joseph, abode Radcliffe
1700 Jun 1  Anne, abode Radcliffe
1702/3 Jan 23  Margt.
1706 Mar 31  Matthew, abode Radcliffe
1709 Sep 15  William, abode Radcliffe
William died at birth and was buried the following day.

We cannot be certain that these were all the children of John and Ann, but the pattern of dates suggests that most of them are.

St Mary, Radcliffe [1]

The Hamsons had lived most of their lives under Stuart kings and queens. In 1714, Queen Anne was succeeded by the Hanoverian George I. The Jacobite rising of 1715 attempted to replace him and put the Old Pretender, James Stuart, on the throne.

The Jacobites moved south into Lancashire with little opposition. They entered Preston, 20 miles from Radcliffe, in November 1715. Lancashire had more Catholics than any other county and the Jacobite numbers had grown on the march. They barricaded themselves in the town.

General Charles Wills led his troops out of Manchester to eject them. They may well have marched north through Radcliffe. At first, the Hanoverians suffered heavy losses, then Wills fired houses to spread the flames into Jacobite positions. The Jacobites tried to do the same in reverse.

Overnight, some of the Jacobites fled. More Hanoverian troops arrived from Newcastle, cutting off their escape. Eventually the defenders surrendered, though the Scots were more reluctant to agree terms than the Lancastrians.

The Battle of Preston is said to have been the last battle on English soil, though in fact it was more a siege than a battle.

It would have caused great excitement in Radcliffe. We have no way of knowing where the Hamsons’ sympathies lay.


We have two burials.
Burial. St Mary, Radcliffe.
1727/8 Feb 1  John Hampson Sen.
1729/30  Ann wife of John Hampson Senr.

If this is our couple, we should have expected Ann to be described as a widow, rather than John’s wife, but we have found no other suitable burial for John. We do not yet have scans of the register to check.

If these are correct, they were in their sixties.


As an alternative, on 30 Nov 1730 the will of John Hampson, Yeoman of Radcliffe, was proved. If this is our man, then it changes our perception of his occupation. It would fit better with the burial in Nov 1729 of John Hampson Jnr.


[1] Radcliffeparishchurch.com





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