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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)



JOHN PETYT. We believe John Petyt to be the son of Anthony Petyt and Isabel Bradford. We do not have John’s baptism, but at the time of his death, Anthony Petyt was living with John and his family. When Isabel died, she was living with John’s son, John Petyt of Snaygill.

We have only found the baptism of one of Anthony and Isabel’s children, a daughter baptised in 1695, seventeen years after their marriage. There would almost certainly have been other children.

The names Anthony and John recur down the generations of this family. John named his eldest son Anthony.[1]


John probably grew up in the unknown parish in which he was baptised. It was probably not far from Skipton.

The only address we have for him is Crookrise, a rural township below Crookrise Crag, to the north of Skipton town. It is just across the brook from Skyrakes where Anthony and Isabel were living when their only known child was baptised.


The History of Craven  has:

Another lodge there called Crookrise, xxvi s viii d is now worth Lxs. Agistment then xxxiiis, those grounds now being enclosed , beside feeding for the deer xiiiil.
This related to the worth of the land in 1311 and its present worth in 1612.
The land was evidently an ancient hunting park.
The sides of Flasby Fell continue to show what the forests of Crookrise and Elso once were, clothed with native oak, which in its ascent gradually dwindles to a fanlike shrub, till its fine mellow tints blend insensibly with the purple of the ling and the grey moss, which envelops the crags….
“Crookrise and Elso, with the exception of some enclosures on their skirts, have continued in their primitive state of bog and fell.[2]

Given the nature of the land, it is likely that John Petyt farmed sheep here, rather than raising crops.

William Tone’s Every-day Book contains the following:



From a paper of Henry Eighth’s time, among the MSS at Skipton, I find that the following singular toll was anciently levied in Skirack and Crookrise:
“Note, that these customes hayth ben used tyme out of mynd, by ye report of Rob. Garth, forster (forester) there; the whych sayeth, that he in all his tyme, and his father afore him in ye office, always hayth taken the sayd customes:
“First, that ev’ry bryde cumynge that waye shulde eyther gyve her lefte shoo or IIIs IVd to the forster of Crookryse, by way of custome or gaytcloys.”
“The rest only relate to tolls taken for the passage of sheep, cattle and wool.
“The commutation was so high, that I suppose the penalty would generally be paid in kind; and by this ungallant custom, the poor brides of Craven would be reduced to tread the rugged ways of Crookrise in the situation of the light-footed sons of Thestius.”[3]

The Petyts were a farming family. John seems to have begun as a labourer, working for his father or another farmer, before becoming a farmer himself.


MARY. Since we do not have the marriage of Mary and John, we do not know her maiden name, or anything of her origins.


The couple married in or before 1720, in the reign of George I.

They had three children.

Baptisms. Holy Trinity Skipton.
1720 Sep 6 Antho: s of Jno: Pettyt labourer & Mary his wife of Crookrise.
1723 Aug 18  Alice D of Jno. Petty (Farmer) and Mary his wife of Crookrise.
1727 Oct 17  John s of John Petty (Farmer) and Mary his wife of Crookrise.

Sometime between 1720 and 1723 John’s status had risen from that of labourer to farmer.

Skipton benefited greatly from a charitable trust set up by Sylvester Petyt, who died in 1719. Amongst other grants, it funded a large number of apprenticeships. The beneficiaries were for poor children, but also members of the extended Petyt family.

Although John intended his sons to become farmers, he used this trust to apprentice them to a trade.

1733 Thomas Petyt, Blacksmith, with Anthony son of John Petyt.
1736 Mary Fell with Alice daughter of John Petyt. Stirton cum Thorlby
1740 John Kendall, Butcher, with John son of John Petyt.
The trades of blacksmith and butcher would have been useful to a farmer.
We do not know what trade Alice was apprenticed to with Mary Fell, but it was probably for household duties. 

The Dole Board in Holy Trinity Church.
There are several references to Sylvester Petyt’s charities.[4]


For the land at Crookrise, John Petyt paid an annual rent of £26 to the lord of Skipton Castle, the Sackville Earl of Thanet. The land must have been fairly profitable..[5]

Their daughter Alice married Joseph Spencer, roper, of Kildwick.

Anthony married Mary Heelis of Skibeden and also farmed at Crookrise.

John junior married Sarah Petyt of Bolton Abbey. The couple farmed at Snaygill, on the Keighley road south of Skipton. John also used his apprenticeship skills to practice as a butcher.

The land at Snaygill had at one time been farmed by his great-grandfather, another Anthony Petyt. It lay to the south of Skipton.[6]


Mary died in 1748.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton
1747/8 Feb 20  Mary Wife of John Petyt of Crookrice

John Petyt died in 1756. He was probably in his sixties.

Burial. Holy Trinity, Skipton.
1756 Jun 24  John Petyt Farmer of Thorleby.

The Petyts appear to farm land in different parts of Skipton parish. John was farming at Stirton cum Thorlby at the time of Alice’s apprenticeship in 1736. His  son Anthony was farming at Thorlby when his first child was baptised in 1761. Four months after the baptism he had moved to Crookrise.


[1] BMDs from Yorkshire registers on Findmypast.
[2] Thomas Dunham Whitaker, The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York. Nichols 1812.
[3] William Hone, The Every-day Book and Table Book; Or, Everlasting Calendar of …, Volume 3. William Tegg and Co. 1830.
[4] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~petyt/dole1.JPG
[5] Gillian Waters. http://www.bgwaters.co.uk/harrison6.htm
[6] Additional information from Gillian Waters’ website.




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