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Henry Petty

Fourteenth Generation - Henry Petty                   

John Petty’s father Henry Petty died in the early sixteenth century and was buried at Bolton Abbey [1] .

I have not yet been able to discover the date and place of his birth, but a rough estimation can be made. If his son John was born between 1468-88, this fixes the approximate latest possible date of Henry’s marriage. If Henry was aged between twenty and thirty at his marriage that would place his birth approximately within the year range 1438-68.  He may have been born towards the beginning of that year range as there is a Henry Petyt who was appointed a king’s commissioner in 1471 to investigate the exact landholdings of ‘George Neville Knight, Lord Latymer, Henry Neville, knight and Joan his wife; - when they died, their heirs and what their lands were worth’ [2] . This marks the period when Henry VI briefly regained the throne in the Wars of the Roses and may indicate that Henry Petyt was a Lancastrian sympathizer. If this were so, it would explain the appointment of a William Petty to the Treasury in the first year of Henry VII’s reign [3] .

In his will, dated 1509, Henry Petty left his son John, his ‘good sword, bowe and arrows’ [4] . This would mean that Henry Petty was one of those Tudor foot soldiers that could be mustered for war. Henry may have fought as part of a contingent of Yorkshire men in the border wars against the Scots, or perhaps been involved in the victory of Henry VII over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1487. The Clifford overlords of Skipton Castle fought on the side of Henry VII at Bosworth and were highly rewarded for their loyalty to the Lancastrian cause. If Henry Petty served the Clifford lords he, or his father, may well have fought on the winning side in this victory. His services may also have been required in the musters against the pretenders at the beginning of Henry VII’s reign.

             Henry Petty lived at Guiseley and may also have had lands at Otley [5] . A George Pettie of Farneley in the parish of Otley left a will proved on 28 April 1547, leaving most of his goods to his son Lawrence Petty and his wife Mary [6] . He left four children including Lawrence, Thomas, Anne and Alice. The will of his son Lawrence was proved on 14 October 1551 [7] . The lands owned may have been inherited by the younger son Thomas. It is interesting to note that a Christopher Petty was named as an attorney in the will of Richard England of Pool in the parish of Otley which was proved on 27 November 1543 [8] .  These Petyt’s may be related to the Petyts of Storithes, but the connection has yet to be proved. He may be the ancestor of the Geoffrey Petty who married Jane daughter of John Knaggs of Kendall, near Otley, on 20 July 1607, which Jane subsequently married Leonard Headland of Kent [9] . It is interesting that in the rentals of Bolton Abbey in 1539 a farm named the Rood near Menston (High Royds) is not given an occupant. This may have been part of the Petyt lands.

I have found the will of a John Petty, which was proved on 24 August 1508 in York [10] . This John Petty was a master glazier at the Minster in York and had worked on stained glass windows in the churches of St Michael and the abbey of St Mary in York, and Furness Abbey [11] . He was the son of Matthew Petty who was one of the leading York glass-painters between 1447-72. Matthew Petty died in 1478. John Petty was Lord Mayor of York in 1508. His brother Robert was an alderman, and also a glass painter.  At present it is unknown what connection, if any there is between this Petty and the Petty’s of Storithes.


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[1] See Dawson p. 247.

[2] Patent Rolls, 1471 October 16.

[3] See above.

[4] I have yet to find this will.

[5] See Dawson and Whittaker.

[6] See Testamenta Leodiensia, ed. By George Denison Lumb, Thoresby Society, 1913, p. 188.

[7] Testamenta Leodensia, p.288

[8] See Testamenta Leodensia, p.94.

[9] See Dugdale's Visitation, of 1662 volume three, ed. By J.W.Clay 1917.

[10] See Testamenta Eboracensia, Surtees Society, pp.333-335.

[11] John Petty was master glazier from 1480, became Lord mayor in 1508 and died in office. See Benson, p. 119.


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