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The Pettys of Embsay
The Catterson Marriage
The Dodsworth Engagement
The Petty Marriage

Tenth Generation - Mary Petty    

                Mary Petty was christened on 3 June 1599 in Skipton, the daughter of Thomas Pettie, or Petty, of Embsay Kirk [1] .

                Thomas Petty was probably a footman to Lady Anne Clifford in 1616. He took the news of her mother's illness in Appleby in Cumberland to Lady Anne in Knole House in Seven Oaks, Kent [2] . This would indicate that Thomas Petty was a trusted servant of the Cliffords. As a footman Thomas may have been the son of a gentleman.

               Thomas Petty was also a wealthy yeoman farmer of Embsay. He was leased a quarter of the Corn Mill in Embsay on 20 December 1616 [24] . This lease was shared with at least three others including a Matthew Jackman of Embsay. Both Thomas Petty and Matthew Jackman were described as yeomen farmers. The lease of the corn mill may have been a new venture for Thomas, but he may have had to renew the lease due to the death of his father, Mary’s grandfather, William Pettie, in 1615 [25] . The lease of the corn mill was granted for 3,000 years, which does seem a very long time. The length of the lease probably accounts for the high cost of twenty-eight pounds and ten shillings for a quarter part of the lease. In addition the rent was set at ten shillings a year, which would have been more than a servants yearly wage. At this time Francis Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, and Lord of Skipton, leased out many properties to raise much needed ready cash in the short term. The length of the lease would of course mean that in the long term the rent could not be increased for 3,000 years, and Francis had effectively alienated the corn mill from the Clifford patrimony. The corn mill was water driven in 1616, but it may have been reused in the eighteenth century as a cotton mill, and may have been the place where the French family worked in the 1850s [26] .

The Pettys of Embsay

Thomas Petty was probably the son of William Petty of Embsay, who died in 1615. William Petty appears to married a Lucy and had his youngest children Isabella Petty and Francis Petty christened in Kildwick [3] .Isabella Petty married Thomas Catterson of the Red Lion in Skipton and had six children [5] .Francis Petty of Kildwick died in 1630 and his will was proved on 15 April 1630 [4] .

William may also have had three other sons, John, George and Lancelot. Thomas Petty would appear to have been the eldest son and to have inherited the majority of the estates. There are references to a George Petty and a John Petty of Halton in the late sixteenth century, but it is not certain that they are related [8] . A Lancelot Petty of Halton, who may be connected with Thomas, had a family of four of whom only one daughter Alice and one son John survived [9] . Lancelot's daughter Alice Whittacre nee Petty had a family of ten children before her death in 1653 [6] . Lancelot's son John married Mary Moone in 1634 in Skipton and then Margaret Moone in 1637 in Bolton Abbey and they had a family of five children, Robert, George, John, Lancelot and Margaret [10] . John Petty was buried in Skipton 1687 [11] .John's son John married firstly Anne West and secondly Ellin Paytphin and had a family of four children of whom only one daughter Elizabeth survived childhood [12] . Elizabeth married Thomas Silson and their son John was apprenticed by the Petyt Trust [7] . John's son George had a son George in 1668 in Bolton Abbey [13] .A George Petty, farmer of Halton married Elena Atkinson and had a family in Skipton who may be the same man. He had a family of three surviving daughters, Helen Ann and and Izabel [14] . George died in 1727 having outlived his wife by eight years [15] .

William Petty, father of Thomas Petty, may have been the brother of the son of Edward Petty of Embsay who was buried on 26 January 1614 [27] . As the Petty family of Embsay were wealthy enough to buy a fourth share in the corn mill at Embsay in 1616 I would suggest that they had long established roots in the area.

There are two Pettys recorded in Embsay in 1538, in the Bolton Priory rentals, Robert and John Pettie [28] . Robert Pettie held a farm of one tenement and two bovates of land for nine shillings per annum. John Pettie paid eleven shillings and three pence for a farm of one tenement with appurtenances. They both held their lands by leases granted on the eve of the dissolution of the monastery. It is highly probable that both these men lived and farmed in the township of Eastby.

A John Petty ‘of Estby’, modern Eastby, is recorded as having fought as a bowman for Lord Clifford at Battle of Flodden in 1513 [29] . This John Petty is probably the same John recorded in the Loan Book of 1522 in ‘Emsey and Estby’ as holding lands or goods worth five shillings a year [30] . In 1543, this John Pety is recorded in the Lay Subsidy Rolls as holding lands or goods  in ‘Embsey and Estby’ worth four pounds and eight shillings [31] .

A Robert Petty is also recorded in the Loanbook of 1522 as holding lands worth twenty-six shillings and six pence, again in Embsay and Estby and held of Bolton Abbey [32] . In the Bolton Abbey Rentals of 1538, a Robert Petty also farms at Storithes on a tenement of six closes and pasture valued at fourteen shillings. It is possible that this Robert was the same Robert that held land in Eastby [33] . However, he may have been related to the Storithes Petty’s rather than the Embsay Pettys. [34] It is possible that Robert Petty and John Petty were related, perhaps as father and son, or brothers. It is also highly probable that these Pettys are related to William Petty, Mary Petty’s grandfather. John or Robert may be the grandfather of William Petty, but at present this is unproven.

               Mary Pettys family had been living in Embsay or Eastby for nearly a hundred years, but they appear to have moved into the area in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth centuries. In 1473, there are no Pettys recorded as living at Embsay. However, in Halton are recorded a William Pety paying eight pence rental for a parcel of land with a waste toft, an Agnes Pety holding one messuage and a toft with land and meadow, paying fourteen shillings and a penny for the rent, and the widow of John Pety holding one messuage with intake and other customary land and meadow of the messuage, paying eleven shillings.

              It is possible that there may be a connection with these Pettys and that Mary's family had moved from Halton to Eastby. If no further Pettys were recorded in Halton this might have been a tenable theory. However, in 1522 in Halton of the Hill a William Petty held lands of Bolton Abbey worth ten shillings a year. In the lay Subsidy of 1543  William Pety is recorded as holding lands worth forty shillings and four pence, in Halton. There may be a relationship between these Pettys, or even with the Pettys of Storithes and Hazlewood [35] . The Pettys of Embsay therefore appear to have moved into the area in the early sixteenth century.

The Catterson Marriage

Mary Petty would have been about sixteen years old when she married her first husband Stephen Catterson in 1615 [36] . It is highly possible that this marriage was an alliance of interests between the Cattersons and the Petty family. This business arrangement would involve some transfer of property or shares or interests in estates. The financial arrangements for the marriage would have been contained in a formally written contract [37] . For daughters of knightly families this might be as much as two hundred pounds, or as little as twenty five pounds. The daughters of lesser gentry families could expect a portion of between ten and twenty five pounds.  A jointure would also be settled on the young couple by the father of the groom to support the young couple. This could vary from four to six pounds a year for lesser gentry to forty pounds a year for knightly families.

On 9 October 1625, Stephen Catterson died leaving Mary with at least two young children, Margaret and Thomas [38] . It is possible that Mary may have also had other children by Stephen Catterson, but as yet I have not discovered the children. It is uncertain at present what Mary Catterson, nee Petty would have done with two young children under five, but she may have returned to her father’s lands in Embsay. However, her father Thomas Pettie also died and was buried on 25 October 1625 [39] . Alternatively, she may have been taken in by her husbands family the Cattersons. However, her father in law, Thomas Catterson had died in 1612, and her mother in law in 1616 [40] . Her brother in law Thomas Catterson may have taken her in. He may have married Mary’s aunt Isabella Petty, and it would be understandable if Mary had taken refuge with her [41] . However, Thomas Catterson himself died in October 1627 and left his wife Isabella with six young children, all under the age twelve [42] . In 1627 Mary and Isabella may have had cause to seek refuge with their other siblings.

Mary Petty may have had two, three or four brothers, although at present the exact relationship between Mary, and John, Robert, Richard and Thomas Petty, is unclear.  Thomas Petty of Embsay was certainly living in 1625 and she may have stayed with him [43] . This Thomas Petty probably married Jennet Bawdwen in June 1608, and he had already started a young family [44] . She may also have had opportunity to stay with Richard Petty. Richard had married Isabel Beckwith three months after she had married Stephen Catterson [45] . He lost his wife in 1622 and may have welcomed the help that Mary would bring to his household [46] . A Robert Pettie of Embsay Kirk had married Alse Barker in 1606 and he may have taken Mary into his household [47] .

Alternatively, she may have decided to stay with her brother John. There is a John Petty of Embsay Kirk living in 1625 who may be related to Mary Petty. It is highly probable that John Petty was the brother of Mary. John Petty had five children of his own by his wife Anne Petty, and he may have welcomed his sister’s help in maintaining the household [48] . However, his wife Anne did not die until 1664 and they may not have welcomed Mary’s young family into their house [49] . John Petty although probably a man of some substance in Embsay was not always totally law abiding. His affair with Elizabeth Howden of Embsay was adulterous and resulted in a daughter Mary being born in 1638 [50] .

The Dodsworth Engagement

However, there is evidence that Mary wanted to set up her own household again with her own husband. Stephen Catterson was buried on 30 December 1625 [51] . Within eight months of Stephen’s death Mary had met another suitor and decided to marry again. Mary was a young woman of twenty-six in 1625 and it is hardly surprising that she would wish to marry again. What is surprising is the extremely brief period of mourning Mary allocated to her husband. This may indicate that her first marriage was not a marriage of love, but rather one of practical family interests. It is uncertain what Mary’s feelings towards her intended second husband, Lancelot, were, but again it could have been intended to be a marriage joining family lands and other interests.

Mary had been granted a marriage license to marry Lancelot Dodsworth of Londesborough in Skipton in 1626 [52] . It is interesting that Mary was able to meet and intend to marry a man from Londesborough. Londesborough was part of the Clifford estates in the early seventeenth century and Mary may have met Lancelot Dodsworth through a connection with the Earl of Cumberland. This would indicate that her family were of sufficient status to move in circles associated with the Earl. It is not certain whether Mary’s family were of lesser gentry or yeoman stock, but the association with the Earl of Cumberland is interesting. Alternatively, it is quite probable that Mary met Lancelot through her husband Stephen Catterson and he may have visited the Red Lion Inn on his travels on the Earls business in Skipton.

However Mary and Lancelot met, the intended marriage did not go ahead. It appears that Lancelot had passed away before the marriage could take place [53] . In 1627, Ann Catterson, the illegitimate daughter of Mary Catterson, widow, by Lancelot Dodsworth was baptized at Skipton [54] . The child must have been conceived only eight months after Stephen Catterson’s death. For having a child out of wedlock, Mary may have been punished for immorality. She may have had to walk down the aisle of the church covered all over in a white sheet and stand before the chancel in full view and repeat a confession of her guilt [55] .

The Petty Marriage

Mary now had at least three children on her hands and probably moved to Embsay to live with one of her brothers. Five year later Mary Catterson had more success and married William Petty of Storithes in 1632 [56] . In the early years of their marriage William and Mary may have lived at Storithes near Bolton Abbey. It was probably here that Mary brought up her Catterson and Petty children. Later, it appears that she and her husband William Petty lived at the Red Lion in Skipton from 1647 until 1659.

In 1647 Mary’s eldest son Thomas Catterson would have been about twenty three and was of an age to have taken over his father’s properties in Skipton. He may have given the Red Lion property to his mother Mary and her husband in gratitude for their support when he was younger. However, in 1649 William and Mary Petty paid the rent due on the Red Lion themselves, on behalf of Thomas Catterson. This indicates that Thomas had effectively ‘sub-let’ the property. It is difficult to understand why Mary and William moved from Storithes to Skipton in 1647. The move may have been made to allow their eldest sons, William and Sylvester, to attend the Free Skipton Grammar School, Ermysteads. There may also have been other reasons, perhaps to do with William Petty’s business and landholdings. It is interesting that Mary’s daughter by her first marriage, Margaret Cookson, and her husband Thomas Cookson were tenants of the property until the death of Margaret in 1660 [57] .

Mary’s husband William was dead by 1659 and was buried in Bolton Abbey [58] . Mary Petty outlived her husband by at least a year and was probably buried on 22 May 1660 in Embsay [59] .



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[1] Skipton Parish Registers.

[2] See Dairies of Lady Anne Clifford.

[3] Francis Petty son of William and Lucy Petty was christened on 28 May 1590. Isabella was christened on 25 July 1586. Lucy Petty wife of William Petty of Bradley was buried on 25 February 1621. Kildwick Parish Registers.

[4] Francis Petty married Janet Ellis on 8 January 1617 and Margaret Simpson on 23 November 1626. He had two sons, William, christened on 25 March 1629 and Francis, christened on 25 April 1630. Kildwick Parish Registers. Francis Petty married firstly April and then Ann Goodgion of Snaygill Parish on 26 May 1661. Skipton Parish Registers. Francis had two sons, Thomas christened 27 December 1654 and Francis christened 13 May 1657.Kildwick Parish Registers. Francis junior married Margaret Harrison on 25 May 1678 in Skipton and they had three daughters Isabella christened on 18 January 1680 and buried on 19 April 1695, Lucus christened on 1 February 1685 and buried 17 April 1689, and Margreta christened on 8 May 1687 and buried on 3 August 1688, and a son Thomas christened on 26 February 1682 in Kildwick. Kildwick Parish Registers.

[5] Thomas Catterson married Isabella Petty on 5 May 1605. They had three sons, Thomas Catterson was christened on 1 May 1621, Stephen was christened on 29 December 1625, Francis was christened on 13 July 1623, and three daughters, Ann Catterson was christened on 16 August 1616, Mary was christened on 18 March 1618, Ann was christened on 13 February 1623. Skipton Parish registers.

[6]    Alice Whittacre was buried on 12 July 1653. Alice and Thomas Whittacre had ten children. Elizabeth was christened on 7 August 1636,Mary was christened on 7 April 1638, Mary was christened on 19 June 1641, Frances was christened on 30 March 1643, a young child was buried on 25 December 1644, Ingram was christened on 15 March 1645, Sarah was christened on 24 September 1648, William was buried on 21 June 1648, Ann was christened on 13 July 1651, Margaret was christened on 14 May 1653. Skipton Parish Registers.

[7] Elizabeth married Thomas Silson a clothier of Leeds Parish on 7 November 1715. Skipton Parish registers. Their children were apprenticed as part of the Petyt Trust. 1731 Abraham Marshall, Clothier, with John son of Thomas Silson. Petyt Trust.

[8] George Petty of Halton marries Isabel Croft on 13 October 1596.Joan wife of John Petty of Halton was buried on 29 February 1615. John Petty of Hawton was buried on 21 October 1623. Skipton Parish Registers.

[9] A son was buried on 25 July 1607, Alice was christened on 10 March 1610, she later married Thomas Whiteacres on 9 November 1635. John was christened on 28 November 1613, daughter Ann buried on 5 May 1617. Skipton Parish Registers.

[10] John Petty married Mary Moone on 15 June 1634. Skipton Parish Registers. John Petty married Margaret Moone on 29 November 1637. Bolton Abbey Parish registers. Robert was christened on 4 March 1637. George was christened on 30 September 1638. Margaret was christened on 4 October 1640. Bolton Abbey Parish registers. John was christened on 17 October 1648. Lancelot was christened on 9 March 1654, Margaret was christened on 2 May 1660. Skipton Parish Registers.

[11] John Petty of Halton was buried on 12 November 1687. Skipton Parish Registers.

[12] John Petty of Halton married firstly Ann West on 27 November 1679 and secondly Ellin Paytphin on 7 February 1689. A stillborn child was buried on 30 July 1680. Thomas was christened on 25 October 1681 and buried on 1 December 1690. Elizabeth was christened on 16 April 1690. Martha was christened on 17 July 1694 and buried on 23 May 1697. Skipton Parish Registers.

[13] George son of George Petty was christened on 1 January 1668. Bolton Abbey Parish Registers.

[14] George Petty married Jane Winterburne on 8 May 1688. George Petty and Jane Winterburn had a daughter Isabel christened on 1 April 1689 of Hazlewood. Skipton Parish Registers. George Petty of Skipton Parish married Elena Atkinson on 14 September 1690. Kildwick Parish Registers. Izabell was christened on 19 May 1695, of Halton, Ann was christened on 7 March 1699, of Halton, Helen was christened on 12 February 1712, of Halton. Mary of Halton, was buried on 28 August 1697, Margaret of Halton, was buried on 28 March 1704, Amy of Halton, was buried on 3 September 1700. Skipton Parish Registers. Isabella daughter of George Petty of Halton christened 28 June 1695. Bolton Abbey Parish Registers.

[15] George Petty, pensioner of Halton was buried on 26 November 1727. Hellen, wife of George Petty, pensioner of Halton was buried on 4 May 1719. Skipton Parish Registers.

[16] See above

[24] See West Yorkshire Deeds, Vol1, p. 92.

[25] A William Petty of Embsay’s will was proven on 27 April 1615. It will be interesting to find the will to see if this assumption is correct.

[26] See Harriet French .

[27] This Edward may have been married to Margaret petty, widow of Embsay, who was buried on 19 April 1621. Skipton Parish Registers.

[28] See Bolton Priory Rentals.

[29] See ‘Household Book of Lord Craven’, quoted in ‘The Craven and North West Highlands of Yorkshire’, by H.Speight, 1892.

[30] See Early Tudor Craven, Subsidies and Assessments, p.15 and xii. See also p. 112. The Bolton Abbey township was ‘consistently omitted from the subsidies and loanbooks’. The reason given is that the Bolton Abbey township probably had no lay community within it in the sixteenth century. This however, ignores the dissolution of the monasteries and the leasing out of lands.

[31] Tudor Craven, pp.76-77.

[32] Tudor Craven, pp.40.

[33] See Bolton Abbey Rentals pp???

[34] see next generation for a discussion of the Storithes Pettys.

[35] See below

[36] Mary Pettyt was christened on 3 June 1599.  Mary Petty married Stephen Catterson on 9 October 1615. See Skipton Parish registers

[37] For the following see A Political Study of the West Riding of Yorkshire by Carol E. Arnold Vol. 1 Thesis University of Manchester 1984. Leeds Uni. pp.98-102.

[38] Margaret Catterson was christened on 24 November 1620; Thomas was christened on 15 September 1624. Skipton Parish Registers.

[39] Skipton Parish Registers.There is also a Thomas Petty buried on 24 November 1624 and Elizabeth Petty wife of Thomas buried on 3 December 1624 in Addingham. Addingham Parish Registers.

[40] See above

[41] Thomas Catterson married Isabella Petty on 5 May 1605. Skipton Parish Registers.

[42] Anne was christened on 16 August 1616, Marie was christened on 18 March 1619, Ann was christened on 13 February 1623.Stephen was christened on 29 December 1625, Thomas was christened on 1 May 1621, Francys was christened on 13 July 1623. Thomas Catterson was buried on 24 October 1627. Skipton Parish Registers.

[43] .The will of a Thomas Petty of Embsay Kirk was proved on 23 June 1636. This will may turn up further details on Mary Petty.

[44] Skipton Parish Registers. This Thomas may have had three sons, Richard christened 20 March 1607/8, Richard christened 9 September 1610, Thomas buried 16 October 1618. Skipton Parish Registers.

[45] Richard Petty had married Isabel Beckwith on 19 December 1615. Skipton Parish registers.

[46] Isabel Petty, wife of Richard petty was buried on 3 June 1622. Skipton Parish Registers.

[47] Robert Pettie married Alse Barker on 23 November 1606. Their daughter Isabel was christened on 8 June 1608 and she later married Samuel Atkinson on 14 April 1629. Skipton Parish Registers. Robert Petty was buried on 25 February 1666. Ellin wife of Robert Petty was buried on 30 March 1661. Addingham Parish Registers. Isabel Atkinson nee Petty had a family of three children. An was christened on 25 March 1632, Anna was christened on 3 May 1635, (and later married Nicholas Goodgion on 31 July 1653), William was christened on 15 March 1638. They were all christened in Embsay. Samuel Atkinson was buried on 15 November 1638, and after his death Isabel married Roger Robenson on 23 July 1642. Roger was buried on 24 September 1683 "a very ould man". Isabel Robinson was buried on 2 December 1686. Isabel and Samuel Atkinson's son William had a son Samuel Atkinson christened on 8 May 1668. Skipton Parish Registers. The connection is not clear but it is possible that the Atkinsons recorded in the Petyt Trust in 1725 are connected to this line of Atkinsons.

[48] John Petty of Embsay had five children by his wife Anne, these were Thomas, christened 7 March 1629, and buried on 19 January 1704 of Halton. Isabel Petty christened on 6 March 1631, Ellin christened 6 March 1631, William christened 5 May 1627, and Robert christened 12 April 1635 and buried 18 September 1635. Skipton Parish Registers.

[49] Ann Petty, wife of John Petty of Embsay was buried on 20 December 1664. Skipton Parish Registers.

[50] Mary Howden, daughter of John Petty and Elizabeth Howden was christened on 29 January 1637/8. Skipton Parish Registers.

[51] Skipton Parish Registers.

[52] See Rowley archive.

[53] See Rowley Archive.

[54] Ann Catterson, daughter of Lancelot Dodsworth was christened on 14 May 1627. Skipton parish Registers.

[55] See Dawson, History, p. 293.

[56] See above.

[57] Margaret Catterson was christened on 24 November 1620. Skipton parish registers.

[58] Dawson

[59] Widow Petty was buried on 22 May 1660, or Embsay. Skipton Parish Registers.


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