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John Petty
Alice Petty
Prior Moone

Thirteenth Generation - John Petty    

                 John Petty was a direct ancestor of William Petty, but I have yet to establish the exact line of descent [1] . There are certainly Petty’s owning lands in the last quarter of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in Yorkshire. A Thomas Pettye, and Alice his wife, held lands in Selby and a Henry Pettye held lands in Perlynton, Abberfourth and Lotherton, and ‘three messuages in Blackstreete in the parish of St Wilfrid’ in York. A John Petty, and his wife Alice, held lands in Brampton, Brampton Byerley and Warth and a certain Godfrey Pettye was also challenging land rights in a messuage in Rawmarshe, and the manor of Billingley [2] . These estates seem mainly to be to the east of Yorkshire and may not be connected with our Pettys. 

Other Petyt’s I have discovered flourishing in the sixteenth century appear to be located in Kent and Salop. A Thomas Petytt, son of John Petytt, held lands in Baggesor in Salop in 1505 [3] . A Walter Petyte was seised of land in the manor of Stokbery in Kent, and a William Petyt and John Petyt had been enfeoffed of these lands by John de Northwode [4] . These Petyt’s of Kent seem to have ultimately descended from a Walter Petyt and his wife Margaret of London who was left money in the will of Elizabeth and John Kyrell in the 1480s. Walter also gained lands in Stokbery, Kent [5] . Walter was certainly a citizen of London in 1471 [6] . It is possible that these Petyt’s were connected with a Thomas Petyt, tailor of London, and a Thomas Petyt, goldsmith of London [7] . A William Pettie was also part of the Treasury of Henry VII, and was granted various sums to cover expenses in 1485 and 1486 amounting to over four hundred pounds [8] . At present, I know not why William was granted such sums, or what the expenditure was, but this William may be connected with the Kentish lines of the Petyts so far discovered.

John Petty of Stedehouse

William Petyt’s great-grandfather, John Petty , lived at the Stedehouse, modern Park House Farm, in Storiths near Bolton Abbey, in the early sixteenth century [9] .  A John Petty ‘of Estby’, modern Eastby, fought as a bowman for Lord Clifford at Battle of Flodden in 1513, and it is possible that this may have been our John Petty [10] . John’s father, Henry Petty, certainly left him a bow in his will, and he may have used the same bow at Flodden [11] . This John Petty is recorded in the Loan Book of 1522 in Embsey and Estby as holding lands worth five shillings a year [12] . John’s landlord was the Prior of Bolton Priory, which indicates that John had taken possession of lands at Bolton before 1522. In 1543, this John Pety is recorded in the Lay Subsidy Rolls as holding land in Embsay and Estby worth four pounds and eight shillings [13] . As John Petty was dead by 1538, this John Petty is probably the son of our John Petty.

A Robert Petty is also recorded in the same Loan book in 1522 as holding lands worth twenty-six shillings and six pence, again in Embsay and Estby and held of Bolton Abbey [14] . This may be an elder brother of our John Petty. In Halton of the Hill a William Petty held lands of Bolton Abbey worth ten shillings a year in 1522. In the lay Subsidy of 1543, William Petty is recorded as holding lands worth forty shillings and four pence, in Halton. A William Petty ‘of Hesylwode in the parish of Skipton’ died on 7 April 1521 and his will was proved on 16 May 1521 [15] . It is possible that this William is the one recorded in the loan book, or this may refer to his son, another William. He may be connected with our line of Pettyts and further investigation may prove the link.

As John Petty’s father died shortly after 1509, it can be assumed that John was born before this date. If he fought at Flodden, in 1513, at this date he must have been aged sixteen to twenty years old at the very least. This would make the latest possible date for John’s birth as 1496. As I have found no mention of John Petty being underage when his father died, I think it is fair to assume that that John was at least twenty-one years old in 1509. This would push back the latest date for his birth to 1488. He may even have been born ten to twenty years earlier. As he died before 1538, he would probably have been aged between forty and sixty when he died. As yet, no corroborating evidence has been found.

The Stedehouse was quite a wealthy grange, part of the estates of Bolton Priory, and administered by the canons of Bolton. It was situated north of the village of Storiths, separated by Pickles Gill from the village. Hazelwood Moor rose behind it, and two fields on either side called Westfield and Eastfield may denote that the fields were used in rotation [16] . When Bolton Priory was dissolved in 1539, the last Prior of Bolton Abbey, Richard Moone, rented out the lands to local farmers to maintain continuity in the economy of the local region. John Petty’s widow Alice was recorded as the tenant at the Stedehouse in 1539, in the Bolton Priory rentals of that year [17] . Therefore it would appear that her husband, John Petty, died before 1538-9.

Alice Petty of Stedehouse

            The Stedehouse was rented to Alice Petty for a term of 41 years at a rent of 6 pounds, 18 shillings and three pence to be paid biannually, in ‘equal portions’, to Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, and lord of Skipton Castle on the feasts of Invention of the Holy Cross, and St Michael the Archangel [18] . This  rent was partially paid in kind. Twenty-four calves were deemed to be worth four pounds rent, fifty stone of cheese as twenty-nine shillings and tuppence, and twenty-five stone of butter as eighteen shillings and nine pence. This, however, only made up a total of six pounds, seven shillings and eleven pence worth of rent. The deficit was paid in cash, a further three shillings and four pence for the use of browsing rights at ‘the holles’, and the last seven shillings for tithes of grain. This farm was one of the wealthiest farms in the township of Storiths and Hazelwood in the 1539 rentals. It would not only have produced enough stock and dairy produce to cover the rental in kind, but also a surplus which would have been sold at Skipton Market to gain the monies needed to pay Lord Clifford.

The farm must also have provided sufficient surplus foodstuffs to feed the family of Alice Petty. Even though she is the only person mentioned in the rentals at the Stedehouse it is difficult to believe that she would have farmed the tenement by herself. I think that her sons, daughters, daughters-in law and perhaps farm labourers, employed by the Petty’s, also worked on the farm. Producing fifty stone of cheese a year alone cannot have been the work of just one woman, let alone milking the number of cattle that would be needed to produce twenty four calves a year.

In addition to dairy farming, the family grew some kind of grain, either wheat or barley, as they paid seven shillings a year for the tithes of grain as well [19] . Whatever kind of crop they grew would have required more than one woman to till the fields, sow the seeds, and harvest, thresh and winnow the grain. To farm such a substantial tenement would have required a body of men and women, so it is fair to assume that Alice Petty lived at the Stedehouse with at least her family and perhaps also agricultural servants. In the Bolton Abbey Rentals 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 may be a son or a close relation of Alice Petty [20] .

Richard Mooone, Prior of Bolton Abbey

Alice Petty was probably the sister of Richard Moone, the last Prior of Bolton Abbey [21] . It is interesting to note that in leasing the Abbey’s property on the eve of the Dissolution, Prior Moone’s family seem to profit quite comfortably. Apart from the major landowners such as Henry Clifford, the lesser farmers who seem to profit the most are Moone’s family or related to Prior Moone by marriage. One brother, Edmund Moone, was the tenant of a farm at Cononley in 1539, another brother Henry Moone farmed at the Riddings, and Henry’s son John Moone tenanted a large farm at Hazelwood in 1539 [22] .

Prior Richard Moone originated from Long Preston, and most of the Moone family, present in the Bolton Abbey area in 1539, seem to have moved to Bolton from Long Preston at the time when Richard took up his vocation at the Priory [23] . Only one brother, William Moone seems to have stayed in Long Preston, and he may have been the eldest son of the family. William’s son, Richard Moone, was a ‘tenant at will’ on a farm at Long Preston in 1539, and probably also profited out of the dissolution of Bolton abbey, through his family ties with the Prior.

Family ties with Prior Richard Moone may also have helped the Petty family increase their landholdings on the Bolton Abbey estates in the wake of the Dissolution. However, in the will of Sir Richard Moone, proved in 1541, there is no reference to Alice or John Petty. Richard Moone does refer to his nephew Hugh Andrews, son of his sister, whose name is not given. This Hugh Andrews was bequeathed forty shillings in the will, but does not appear in the Bolton Priory Rentals.  It is possible that Hugh Andrews was the son of Alice Petty, nee Moone. Alice may have remarried, or had a son by an earlier marriage to a Mr. Andrews. Alternatively, it is possible that Hugh Andrews was the son of another sister of Richard Moone. The fact that Alice is not named in the will does not necessarily preclude her from being the sister of Richard Moone.

Not all the members of Prior Moone’s family are mentioned by name in his will. He names three brothers, Henry, William and Edmund, and bequeathed money to three named nephews, John son of Henry, Richard son of William, and Richard son of Edmund. However four other nephews, sons of Edmund, to whom he bequeathed three pounds six shillings and three pence, are not named. The sum Richard Moone bequeathed to each of the three named nephews, six pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence, is similar in value to a yearly rent for a farm such as the Stedehouse. It would certainly appear that the fortunes of the Moone family were enhanced in Bolton Abbey by their close relationship to the Prior .

If John Petty had indeed married the Alice Moone, sister of prior Richard Moone, it would have certainly helped his family acquire lands at the Dissolution. However, the Petty’s had lived in the area of Bolton Priory for generations and may have been able to acquire lands through judicious marriages and good service to their lords. In 1473, a Richard Petty held eight acres of land and meadow at ‘Hesilwode’ valued at five shillings and another twelve acres of forland called Wilflat worth seven shillings, and a Thomas Petty held a cottage and two acres of land, meadow and intake, valued at three shillings at Storithes [24] . [GPW4]   At Baxtancliffe, Robert Pety held one messuage for thirty shillings. Although Hazelwood and Storiths were villages closely associated with Bolton Abbey and housed the farm workers and labourers on the Abbeys vast estates, it is possible that these Petty’s may be associated with our Petty line. Perhaps these Pettys had extended their land holdings by 1538-9 by close acquaintance with the Prior of Bolton Abbey, as the priory’s grange at Stead near Storithes was not leased until the eve of the dissolution [25] .

However, these landholdings may have been of a temporary nature. By 1562 the Stedehouse was in the hands of the Cliffords of Skipton Castle who used the Stedehouse for their stockman [26] . In 1562-3, the stockman was Thomas Stirk who tended the lord’s cattle herds. It is possible that the Petty’s of the Stedehouse also served a similar purpose for the canons at Bolton priory.



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[1] See Dawson.

[2] See Feet of Fines of the Tudor Period, The Yorkshire Archaeological & Topographical Association, Vol. VII and . II. p. 5, 37, 161,337,313,73,91,

[3] See Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry VII, Vol. 2 HMSDO 1915,  p. 542.

[4] See Calendar of Inquisitions Post mortem, Henry VII, Vol.2 and Vol.3. And Also Close Rolls Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, 1476-1485, HMSO 1954.

[5] See Close Rolls Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, 1476-1485, HMSO 1954.

[6] See Close Rolls, Edward IV, Vol.2, 1468-1476,..

[7] See Close Rolls, Edward Iv, Edward V and Richard III, 1476-1485, HMSO, 1954, and Close Rolls Edward IV, Vol.2 1468-1476.

[8] See Materials for the Study of Henry VII, ed. By Rev. W. Campbell Vol2, pp239-40 and 401-2. William was granted 33 pounds six shillings and eight pence on 18 November 1485, twenty shillings on 16 December 1485, one hundred and six pounds, nine shillings and seven pence on 19 December 1485, sixty pounds thirteen shillings and four pence on 28 January 1486, one hundred pounds on 5 February 1486, another one hundred pounds on 23 February 1486 and forty six pounds on 17 February 1486.

[9] See Dawson pp247 for the connection with William Petyt. As yet, I have not been able to find William’s father or grandfather, but am still searching for the elusive volume of Dugdale, which Dawson asserts will prove the descent.

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

[11] See below

[12] 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 loan books’. The rasonreason 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 tof lands.

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

[14] Tudor Craven, pp.40.

[15] See Wills in York Registry 1514-53, YAS.

[16] Rentals p. xxi.

[18] See Bolton Priory Rentals

[19] Rentals p. xx the Stead Grange had some 80-100 acres sown, and dairy farms were attached.

[20] See Bolton Abbey Rentals

[21] See Dawson p. 247.

[22] See Bolton Priory rentals. Also Pprior Moone's will, transcribed inDawson’s Loose Leaves,

[23] There are no Moones in the 1473 Rental.

[24] See Bolton Abbey Rentals

[25] See Rentals p. xv. Storithes had its own court and reeve in Medieval times and after-Rentals p.xvi note6.

[26]  See the Cattle Herds and ShepFlocks of th arlsof Cumberland in the 1560s. by RW Hoyle, YAJ, vol. 73, 20012, p. 75-83.


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