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Sixth Generation - Mary Heelis       

    Anthony Petyt’s wife Mary Heelis was christened on 17 August 1737 in Skipton [10] . Mary was the second youngest of eleven children born to Edward Heelis and Leah Catterson.

       Mary had four sisters; Grace aged seventeen, Leah, aged twelve, Ann, aged six, and Margaret who was only two years old when Mary was born [11] . As her father was a yeoman farmer of Skibeden, her mother Leah may have left some of Mary’s care to her older sisters Grace and Leah. These sisters may also have cared for Mary’s brothers Stephen, aged seven, and Sylvester, aged four [12] . Her three eldest brothers, William, John, and Thomas, would probably have been involved in helping their father around the smallholding, rather than childcare [13] . Her youngest sister Elizabeth arrived when Mary was two years old, and these two sisters with Margaret, being so near in age would probably have been very close [14] .

All five of Mary's brothers were apprenticed by the Petyt Trust set up by Mary's great-great-uncle Sylvester Petyt. In 1736 her eldest brother fifteen-year-old William, was apprenticed with his grandfather Stephen Catterson to learn Husbandry. Two years later Mary's brother John was apprenticed at the age of fifteen to his uncle John Heelis, Tallow Chandler in Skipton, Thomas was apprenticed in Broughton with Robert Lepton, Scrivener in 1741. Stephen was apprenticed to Edmund Gundry, Butcher and Farmer in 1744 and Sylvester was apprenticed in 1750 to William Maude, Ironmonger.

        Before Mary was ten years old her brother Thomas Heelis had already married, christened his first daughter Sarah, and Mary had become an aunt [15] . Thomas Heelis married three times in all, his second wife being Anna Alcock [16] . The Alcock’s were a landed Skipton family, and lived for a time at Aireville House in Skipton, the site of modern Aireville School [17] . The Alcocks were also renowned lawyers in the area of Skipton. Thomas Heelis may have met Anna Heelis through his own training as a lawyer, or through Heelis and Alcock family connections [18] . I have yet to ascertain where Thomas Heelis trained as a lawyer, but it is highly probable that he may have trained in the Inner or Middle Temple in London [19] . By the 1760s, Thomas Heelis was living at Skipton Castle as the Steward of the Castle, and may have been employed by the Lord of Skipton Castle [20] . In the 1760s, the Lords of Skipton Castle were the Earls of Thanet [GPW1]  , and it may be possible to elicit more information from the records kept at Chatsworth House about the precise role of a Steward of Skipton Castle in the mid eighteenth century. Thomas may have had the role due to his profession as an attorney. However, Thomas also held lands of his own, probably inherited from his father Edward Heelis [21] . In 1764 and 1765, he leased Waller Mill and Little Stirton bank to a William Walsh [22] . Between April and July 1765 Thomas Heelis and his family moved to Appleby Castle, probably to continue work as a Steward for the Earls of Thanet there. On 3 July of that year he leased land named the Cockpit Lane, barns, two orchards and two messuages to a David Hall of Settle, schoolmaster [23] . He seems to have remained in Appleby in 1774 and in that year transferred a farm at Stirton and Embsay, along with a barnyard in Newmarket Street, to his brother John Heelis [24] . However, he still retained some property in Skipton, as in 1771 he was liable for ten pounds, eleven shillings and four pence for a window assessment [25] . This property must have been fairly substantial and had plenty of light.

       A year later, before Mary Heelis was eleven years old, Mary’s older sister, Leah, married Samuel Jennings in Gargrave on 7 October 1749 [26] . As far as I know, Leah was the first of the Heelis sisters to marry. At the age of twenty-four, Leah was of the right age to marry for middling yeomanry, but she would have been classified as a spinster in the strata of higher county gentry. Mary and Leah’s oldest sister Grace would have been nearly thirty by this time and by the standards of middling, lower or higher gentry would have been viewed as too old to marry. As I have not found a marriage for Grace, it would appear that she had spent most of her years caring for her younger siblings and had effectively given up her opportunity to be married. Leah’s husband, Samuel Jennings, was a mason and descended of a lesser branch of the Jennings family of Ripon [27] . This marriage may show that the status of the Heelis family was of the lesser yeomanry.

       In 1750, when Mary was about twelve years old, her eighteen-year-old sister Anne married Thomas Whitham [28] . Thomas was a Labourer, probably an agricultural labourer. Extremely wealthy yeomanry would not have countenanced such a marriage, so it is possible to conclude that the Heelis family was only just in the yeoman strata of local Skipton society. However, Thomas may have been the son of another smallholder, working as a labourer to gain a living whilst waiting to take up his place in his own farm. It is interesting to note that a George Whitham rented a property on the North of Newmarket Street from a John Heelis in 1751 [29] . This may be the father of Thomas Whitham or his brother. It is possible that Mary’s sister Anne and her husband started their married life in this property.

       In 1753 when Mary Heelis was about fifteen years old, she lost her older sister Margaret Heelis. Margaret died on 14 November 1753 aged eighteen [30] . This must have been a great blow to Mary.       

       Mary’s eldest brother William does not seem to marry in Skipton. By 1778, William had moved to Bolton in the Moors where he was a butcher [31] . In that year, William and his younger brother John have inherited their father’s estates as ‘heirs in common’. This seems a little strange, as the eldest son, it would appear that William should have inherited the bulk of his fathers’ estates. However, as William was the only son to have moved so far from Skipton, he may have been estranged from his family. Or William may have left the family home to carve a different career for himself. Whatever the reason, William’s removal from the family home had meant that his younger brother John had taken on the full brunt of work on the family estates. It was perhaps for this reason that William and John were made joint heirs in their father’s will. Initially, John had worked as a mason, but appears to have taken over the farm in Skibeden in the 1760s [32] . As well as being a ‘Grazier’, John Heelis later also became Steward of Skipton Castle in 1801, following in his younger brother Thomas’s footsteps [33] . He appears to have married twice. His little sister Mary would probably have attended John’s first marriage as an unmarried girl, and his second, in 1760, as a married lady [34] . John Heelis was buried in Skipton Parish Church on 23 March 1801, and his wife Sarah in May 1800. There are flagstones in the church in memory of Sarah and John Heelis of Skipton Castle [35] . John and Sarah’s son Theodore Heelis became a wealthy man in Skipton and owned a tenement at the corner of the High Street and Newmarket Street [36] . In a sketch of the High Street in 1830, the tenement is clearly shown as an imposing Georgian three-story building with sash windows. This indicates that Theodore was a successful and wealthy man [37] .

       Mary’s brother Sylvester Heelis had set up as a Hardware man with his own business by the time he was in his early twenties [38] . At present, it is not clear whether he had his own business or whether he was employed. It is also not certain what kinds of goods he would have sold. A search of the business directories for the mid eighteenth century may reveal more information. It is possible that Sylvester also farmed as on 6 July 1772 a Sylvester Heelis, yeoman was elected Parish Clerk for Skipton [39] .Sylvester Heelis married Elizabeth Doidgson in Keighley in 1753 [40a] . Sylvester Heelis died on 22 December 1782 aged 49, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church Skipton [40] . His wife Elizabeth was also buried in the same grave on the 29 August 1780. There appears to have been a close relationship between Sylvester Heelis and his brother John’s children as two of these children, John and Leah, were also buried in the same grave [41] .

       Sylvester's daughter Margaret married James Moorhouse and their family later emigated to New Zealand [43] . Margaret and James Moorhouse had a large family of eight children, but only four daughters, Sarah, Margaret, Mary and Grace and one son John survived [44] . Grace Moorhouse married Thomas Kennedy Newton, a Cotton Manufacturer from Manchester, in Gargrave in 1828 [45] . Grace and Thomas's only son Thomas James Kennedy Newton emigated to New Zealand and founded several businesses in Napier in New Zealand [46] . Thomas James Kennedy Newton arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1849 [47] . Three years later in 1851 Thomas had moved to the Hawkes Bay, settling in the 'town' of Napier [48] . He started several businesses in the area supplying both wholesale and retail supplie. His first business was in Onepoto Gully which was practically shingle at the time [50] . Thomas bought grain from the Maoris and had two ships engaged in this trade. He was a partner of Mr. Douglas in the Te Mahanga run and as also in business with Mr. Alexander and Mr. Alexander Brown and Mr. Irvine [51] . He also purchased several large lots of land on which the City of Napier now stands, and was a member of the Provincial council [52] . Thomas married Margaret Craig on 7 May 1856, having already established himself in several businesses [53] . Thomas and Margaret had a large family of eleven children [54] . Margaret died on 15 November, 1906, in Kawhia, Waikato, New Zealand [55] . She was living on the farm of her two son's, Theodore and Charles at Oparau, Kawhia which was pioneered by her son's, including over 2,500 acres of prime land. Thomas died ten years before her on 2 September, 1896 [56]  .

        At the age of eighteen, Mary Heelis married Anthony Petyt and proceeded to bear him seven children. Mary Heelis, died on 15 November 1790, aged 53 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Skipton [42] .



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[10] Skipton Parish Registers.

[11] Grace Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 13/12/1720. Leah Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 1/11/1725. Ann Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 12/01/1731. Margaret Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 2/07/1735. Skipton Parish Registers.

[12] Stephen Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 14/10/1729.  Sylvester Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 18/09/1733. Skipton Parish Registers

[13] William Heelis was baptized in Skipton, Yorkshire, England, 20/02/1721. John Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 29/01/1723.  Thomas Heelis baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 27/10/1727.  Skipton Parish Registers..

[14] Elizabeth Heelis was baptized in Skipton, North Yorkshire, 19/02/1739.

[15] Sarah Heelis was christened on 10 August 1747. Skipton Parish Registers.

[16] Thomas Heelis married firstly Sarah (surname unknown), secondly Ann Alcock on 21 December 1758, then Anna Maria Baynes in 1765. Skipton.

[17] I think I know this…but need a double check.

[18] Thomas Heelis is recorded as an attorney in the baptism details of his daughters Ann, christened 18 April 1749 and Mary, christened 26 December 1759.

[19] Yet to be proved.

[20] Thomas is described as the steward of Skipton Castle in the baptism details of his two sons, Edward, christened 23 December 1761, and John, christened 29 February 1764. Skipton Parish Registers.

[21] See below

[22] See Rowley, Yorkshire Deeds, 11 December 1764 and 23 April 1765.

[23] See Rowley West Yorkshire Deeds 3 July 1765.

[24] See Rowley Yorkshire Deeds 19 December 1774.  It is interesting to note that Anne Holmes and Grace Heelis are tenants of the farm at Stirton and Embsay, as are Mary Constantine, John Wilks and John Atlinson. In Newmarket Street the messuage formerly belonged to Samuel Jennings, uncle by marriage of John Heelis.

[25] See Rowley Archive, Window Assessment for 1771.

[26] Gargrave Parish Registers.

[27] Strangely enough, one of his distant relatives marries a Bramley, ancestor of Elizabeth Bramley that married George Horner.

[28] Ann married Thomas Whitham on 9 July 1750 in Skipton Parish Church, Skipton Parish Registers. An Anne Heelis, ‘maden lady’ left her estate and effects to a Robert Dyneley of Halton and was buried on 14 February 1777. At present it is not known what the relationship is between these Heelis’s and our line. See Dawson, History, p.193.

[29] See Rowley, west Yorkshire Dees, 3 May 1751.

[30] Skipton Parish registers.

[31] See Rowley, Yorkshire Deeds, 2 July 1778.

[32] John is described as a Mason in the baptismal records of his children Thomas, christened 12 May 1758, and Edward, christened 1760. He is described as a farmer in the baptismal details of his children Leah, christened 25 March 1761, Sarah, christened 14 December 1763, and Thomas christened 10 April 1765. Skipton Parish Registers. John also appears to have had a son Theodore Heelis, christened 14 April 1767  Skipton, son of John and Sarah Heelis. IGI. This Theodore Heelis probably married  MARGARET HARGREAVES on 2 SEP 1805   Padiham, Lancashire. IGI.

[33] Universal British Directory 1792, p. 426. Quoted in Rowley, West Yorkshire Deeds.

[34] John Heelis married firstly Sarah,(surname unknown), and secondly Elinor Simpson on 19 June 1760. Skipton Parish Registers.

[35] Dawson, History p. 180.

[36] See Wood’s map of  Skipton in 1832.

[37] See Bucks sketch of 1830 in ‘Historic Views of Skipton’ Skipton Civic Society.

[38] Sylvester is recorded as a Hardwareman in the baptism records of his children, Edward, christened 14 July 1754, Ann, christened 12 August 1756, (Ann later married Thomas Scott, Staymaker of Skipton, on 19 May 1779), William christened 5 April 1758 and Mary, christened 7 May 1760. He is described as a mason in the baptism records of his children Leah christened 11 March 1761, (Leah later married Edward Shirtliff farmer of Leeds on 19 November 1794), Margaret christened 2 June 1762, Elizabeth chrsitened 20 February 1765. By the birth of his daughter Sarah on 1 August 1768 Sylvester is described as a farmer. (Sarah later married John Mitchell, gentleman, on 21 February 1797.) Skipton Parish Registers.

[39] See Dawson, History, p. 193.

[40a] Elizabeth Dodgson married Sylvester Heelis on 16 September 1753, Keighkey. IGI. For the connections with New Zealand I am indebted to Sue Newton.

[40] Monumental Inscriptions.

[41] John Heelis was buried on 12 July 1807, aged fifty, and Leah Heelis was buried on 16 September 1839, aged seventy-eight. This Leah Heelis had married Edward Sutcliffe. Monumental Inscriptuions.

[42] Monumental Inscriptions.

[43] Margaret Heelis married James Moorhouse, farmer of Gargarve on 28 May 1789. Skipton Parish Registers.

[44] James and Mary Moorhouse had the following children. Sarah Elizabeth Moorhouse christened 20 May 1790. John Moorhouse christened 7 April 1791. Elizabeth Moorhouse christened 27 June 1793 and buried on 22 February 1800 aged 7. Margaret Moorhouse christened 15 January 1795. Ann Moorhouse christened 6 June 1796 and buried 4 June 1797. Mary Moorhouse was christened on 4 January 1798. Martha Leah Moorhouse was born on 20 May, christened on 10 October 1799 and buried on 28 December 1798 aged one, of Bell Busk. Grace Moorhouse was born on 7 February and christened on 4 April 1801. Gargrave Parish Registers.

[45] Thomas Kennedy Newton, 32, Cotton Manufacturer, of Manchester, married Grace Moorhouse, 25, on 1 January 1828. Their witnesses were Hugh Kershaw, William Moorhouse and John Moorhouse. Gargrave Parish Registers. Thomas Kennedy Newton was christened on 2 February 1796 in Manchester and was the youngest son of Isaac Newton of Manchester, and Robina Kennedy, of Dalgarrock and Maybole County of Ayr. Robina Kennedy was the daughter of a Captain Robert Kennedy, of Daljarroch near Maybole in Ayrshire. Robina was one of three sisters, and one of them, Margaret Kennedy was Robert Burn's inspiration for the poem 'Peggy'. Robina Kennedy and Isaac Newton were married on 11 August 1794 in St. Peter's Church, Liverpool. Robina Newton was buried on 23 April 1804 aged 30 in St. Peter's Manchester. Isaac Newton was buried on 1 April 1835 aged 75 in St Peter's Manchester, his abode being given as Chorlton on Medlock. Information supplied and researched by Sue Newton.

[46] Thomas James Kennedy Newton was born on 14 June 1829 at 5 minutes past 12 o’clock a.m. Christened at St Lukes Church, Chorlton Row, by the Rev Mr Hollis on Thursday 16th July 1829.Margaret Kennedy was born on Sunday 1st April 1832 at 10 minutes past 7 p.m.. Baptised by the Rev A Hepworth on Monday 2nd April 1832 – Christened and Admitted at St Lukes church by Mr Hepworth 30th August 1832.Grace, the beloved wife of the above Thomas Kennedy Newton, died the 28th November 1842 and was interred at St Peters church on Friday the 2nd December 1842.From NOTES FROM THOMAS KENNEDY NEWTON’S FAMILY BIBLE information provided by Sue Newton through correspondence.

[47] Information provided by Sue Newton.

[49] Information provided by Sue Newton.

[50] Information from an obituary provided by Sue Newton.

[51] Information from an obituary provided by Sue Newton.

[52] Information from an obituary provided by Sue Newton.

[53] Margaret was born 22 August 1830, daughter of William Craig, and Jane Robb Cuthel, from Liverpool. William's father was a Captain Craig who used to trade between Liverpool and India. William had settled in Melbourne, Australia, and moved to New Zealand, after losing a lot of money in the Victoria Goldrush. Information provided by Sue Newton.

[54] James Kennedy Newton was born in 1857 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died in 1935 in Kawhia, Auckland, New Zealand. Frederick William Newton was born in 1859 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died in 1942 in Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand. Walter Moorehouse Newton was born in 1861 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Alexander Davis Newton was born in 1862 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died in 1948 in Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Grace Jane Newton was born in 1864 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died About 1946 in Auckland, New Zealand. Gollan McLean Newton was born in 1866 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died in 1920 in Cambridge, Auckland, New Zealand. Theodore Craig Newton was born in 1869 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died on Jan. 12, 1952 in Tauranga, Auckland, New Zealand. Henry Prince (twin) Newton was born in 1869 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died About 1940 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Charles Cathcart Newton was born on Sep. 21, 1870 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died on May 28, 1965 in Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. Margaret Kennedy (twin) Newton was born in 1871 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died in Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Lily (Lilian) (twin) Newton was born in 1871 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and died on Nov. 22, 1873 in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Information provided by Sue Newton.

[55] Information provided by Sue Newton.

[56] Information provided by Sue Newton.


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