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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)



Hapton lies within the chapelry of Padiham in the parish of Whalley. The name Hapton was originally Upton. This is descriptive of its site on a hill.

There is early evidence that the Heys were a family of some standing. In the 13th century, “William de Heys conveyed the manor of Symondstone to Nicholas de Holden”. [1]

Simonstone is a village NW of Padiham.

The Rawcliffe family history website says that  Christopher Heys of Shuttleworth Hall in Hapton was on the side of Parliament in the Civil War. While there were other landowners who were Royalists, the district was strongly Parliamentarian. [2]

At the outset of the war in 16422, a Royalist force set out to attack Manchester, which was also a Parliamentarian stronghold. A warning went to Colonel Richard Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham. He assembled his forces at Padiham, then marched them to Haslingden and set up his first headquarters there. Matters culminated in a battle near Huncoat, a mile from Hapton. Shuttleworth won a resounding victory.

It is uncertain what the connection was between the Heys and the Shuttleworths, or why Christopher Heys was living at Shuttleworth Hall.

This former manor house dates from the 17th century and bears the date 1639 over the outer doorway of the porch. This was only three years before the outbreak of the Civil War. But there was a hall there much earlier. In 1388 Ughtred de Shuttleworth acquired the land for Gawthorpe Hall in nearby Padiham. He was a younger son of Henry de Shuttleworth of Shuttleworth Hall.

There is a deserted village within Hapton which was once known as Shuttleworth.

Shuttleworth Hall, Hapton [3]


NICOLAS HEY. We have traced our Heys back to Nicolas Hey who married Susan Leigh of Hapton on 5 Feb 1717/8. [4]

The wedding took place at St Leonard, Padiham. Hapton did not have its own church.

From the date of his marriage, we should expect Nicholas to have been born around 1690. There is a possible baptism in Haslingden, 6 miles south of Hapton.

Baptism. St James, Haslingden
1690 May 18  Nicolaus Hey. Abode: Helmshore.

No parent is given.

Helmshore lies a little to the south of Haslingden.

Susan’s husband may indeed have been born in Haslingden, but the fact that he brought up his children in Hapton suggests that this is more likely to be his place of origin. We do not yet have access to a scan of the Padiham register. His baptism there may be missing from the transcripts or not legible. Lawrence Hey was also raising a family in Hapton at the same time as Nicolas. We have not found his baptism either.

If Nicolas was about the same age as Susan, which would be usual, then he may be the son of George Hey of Hapton and Elizabeth Whittam of Habergham Eaves, who married in 1798. George Hey, a labourer, of Hapton, was buried in 1730 and Elizabeth Hey, widow of Hapton, in 1736. We have not found the baptisms of their children.

We do not know the relationship of George Hey to Christopher Heys, who was said to be of Shuttleworth Hall at the time of the Civil War. Since George was a labourer, he is unlikely to be Christopher’s son, unless Christopher Heys merely worked at Shuttleworth Hall, and was not its owner or tenant.

The baptismal register for Padiham shows Nicolas, husband of Susannah, to be either a carpenter or a webster (weaver). Either he doubled up these occupations or there were two Nicolas Heys, both with wives named Susannah.


SUSAN/SUSANNAH LEIGH. Susan was the daughter of Abraham Leigh of Hapton.

Baptism. St Leonard, Padiham.
1697/8 Mar 13  Susan daughter of Abr Leigh. Abode: Hapton.

Her mother’s name was Isabel.

Susan was the fourth of eleven children.

Her father was a yeoman, farming over a hundred acres. Given the poor soil of Hapton it is likely that Susan’s father was keeping sheep on these hillsides. They would have provided wool for weavers like Nicholas.


Marriage. St Leonard, Padiham.
1717/18 Feb 5 Nicolas Hey and Susan Leigh of Hapton.

Nicolas and Susan set up home in Hapton.

They had five children baptised at St Leonard’s.

Baptisms. St Leonard, Padiham.
1718 Sep 28  Isabell daughter of Nicolas Heys. Abode: Hapton
1720/1 Mar 12  Jon. son of Nich. Hey. Abode: Hapton
1723 Sep 1  Mary daughter of Nich. Heyes and Susannah. Abode: Hapton. Occupation: Carpenter
1725/6 Mar 21  Abraham son of Nicholas Heys and Susannah. Abode: Hapton. Occupation: Webster.
1727 Apr 8  Susannah  daughter of Nich. Hey and Susannah. Abode: Hapton. Occupation: Carpenter
1729 Aug 21  Alice daughter of Nich.Hey and Susannah. Abode: Hapton. Occupation: Webster

From the even spacing of these baptisms this appears to be one couple.

This was a difficult time for cottage weavers like Nicholas. The Industrial Revolution was beginning to take off, with mills replacing the more expensive handloom weavers. He may well have needed his second occupation as a carpenter to support his large family.

Both Nicolas and Susan lived into their sixties.

Burials. St Leonard, Padiham.
1762 Mar 13  Nicolas Hey of Hapton
1766 Feb 28 Susan Hey, Widow of Hapton


[1] Thomas Dunham Whitaker, Vicar of Whalley, An History of the Parish of Whalley, and Honour of Clitheroe. 1876.
[2] http://www.rawcliffes.net/ft/localhist/civilwar.htm
[3] http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff24/peterc46/shut-done_zps6d79581b.jpg
[4] BMDs from Lancashire Online Parish Clerks. www.lan-opc.org.uk/





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