The Red Lion Inn, Skipton and the Catterson Family


The Red Lion Inn is situated on High Street, Skipton and is the oldest pub in the town.

"It has been a licensed premises for more than 500 years. Workmen redecorating the Red Lion in the early 1990s stripped back some plaster to discover a 400 year old large arched fireplace and chimney which is on view today. The Red Lion also has large arched cellars. Like most inns in Skipton, the Red Lion was also a combined farmhouse. Jerry Croft, part of the Red Lion farm, was taken over when the cattle market was constructed behind the Town Hall in 1906. The Red Lion farm ceased after the First World War."

(Above quote taken from the book Skipton 2000 - The Millennium Walk by Ian Lockwood)


The Red Lion inn and farm was tenanted in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Catterson family. There are many connections between the Cattersons and the Petyts, both well-known Skipton families. Skipton church records include the marriage of Thomas Catterson and Isabel Petyt in 1603, and Stephen Catterson and Mary Petyt in 1615. William Petyt of Storiths married Mary Catterson at Bolton Abbey in 1632. Mary became the mother of William and Sylvester Petyt. Their daughter Isabell married Francis Catterson at Skipton in 1654. William and Sylvester lived at the Red Lion whilst attending Skipton Grammar School. Their father William also moved there from the farm at Storiths and died at the Red Lion in 1659. Francis and Isabell's son Stephen Catterson, an attorney-at-law, was a favourite of his uncle Sylvester and is bequeathed important items in his will of 1719.

One interesting descendant of these interconnecting families was Willie Heelis, who married the famous author and illustrator of children's books, Beatrix Potter.



 Front of the Red Lion Inn



Rear of the Red Lion showing 17th century window above door



Fireplace inside the Red Lion



Date stone above fireplace for Francis Catterson

FC 1681


Smaller fireplace inside the Red Lion




Signature of Francis Catterson on his will of 1701




  1. In the name of God Amen. I Francis Catterson of Skipton in Craven in the
  2. county of Yorke, yeoman, being sicke in body butt of sound and perfect mind and memory
  3. praised be allmighty God do this seventeenth day of February Anno Domini 1701
  4. make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following; First I
  5. committ my soule into the hands of almighty God my Creator and hoping through the mercy
  6. of Jesus Christ my saviour to have free pardon of all my sins. And my body I
  7. committ to the dust to be buried att the discretion of my friends and executrix hereafter
  8. named And as touching the disposition of my generall estate  my will and mind is as        
  9. followeth. That is to say first my will and mind is that my just debts bee paid and funerall expenses.
  10. Item my will and mind is that I doo hereby give and bequeath unto Frances Cooke
  11. widdow my daughter and her two sons all my right tytles and interests which I have or ought to have
  12. of or in or to all that farme or tenement and all my lands thereabout belonging situate and being
  13. in Skipton aforesaid which I hold by vertue of a lease under the Right
  14. Honourable Thomas Earle of Thanet  to have and to hold the same farme unto my
  15. said daughter Frances and her two sons their executors, administrators and assigns.
  16. for the remainder of the term yett to come and expired in the said lease
  17. with all my further interest therein Item my will ..
  18. hereby give and bequeathe unto my daughter Mary Ferrand, widdow, twenty shillings
  19. per annum to be paid to her by my executrix hereafter named yearly so long
  20. as the term in my said lease continues. And lastly revoking all former
  21. wills by and heretofore made. I nominate and appoint the said Frances my
  22. daughter sole executrix of this my last will and testament  to whom I give all my
  23. goods and personal effects whatsoever. And lastly I doo desire Mr. Christopher Grendorge
  24. and Mr. William Banks to be supervisors to bee assisting to my said daughter Frances
  25. in the execution of this will. I witness thereof I have hereunto sett my hand and
  26. seale this day and year first above written.



Sealed, signed published and ordained, attested by us ( being witnesses) in the presence of the said testator. In memoranda that the words ( and her two sons )  were first subscribed in the presence of ..


John Wheatley

John Lupton

Henry Hoghton






  1. In the name of God Amen the seventeenth day of September in the year of our lord one thousand and seven hundred and forty I Stephen
  2.  Catterson of Skipton in Craven in the County of Yorke gentleman being infirm and weak but of sound and disposing mind and memory
  3. and understanding yet mindful of my mortality do make and ordain this my last will and testament in writing in manner and form following
  4. Principally I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Creator hoping in and through the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
  5.  to have free pardon and remission of all my sins and my body to the earth to be decently interred at the discretion of my Executor hereafter
  6. named and desiring to be buried by my dear father and mother if I shall dye there and as touching  such temporal estate wherewith God hath
  7.  been pleased to bless me I give devise bequeathe and dispose thereof as followeth. First I will and direct that all and singular  my personal estate
  8. of what nature or kind soever be applyed towards the payment of my debts funeral expenses and charge of proving this will (except what is hereafter disposed of) Item I give
  9. And devise unto my dear wife Grace Catterson during the term of her natural life all those two closes situate in Skipton aforesaid called
  10. the two far Bailleybrigg closes and Crookes in the possession of Master John Swainson and Mr. Alcock with three roods of freehold
  11. land in Narrlamber Hill lying east of three acres of land belonging to the grammar School there and from and immediately after her
  12. decease I give the reversion of the said three roods of land to my son Francis Catterson his heirs and assigns forever. Item I give and devise to
  13. my said son Francis Catterson his heirs and assignees forever all that Messuage, farm or tenement with the appurtenances
  14. called Gawflatts farm or tenement and the lands thereunto belonging or commonly occupied therewith situate lying  or being in Skipton aforesaid
  15. Sturton and within the parish of Skipton aforesaid or in any of them upon trust nevertheless and upon this express condition
  16. that the said Francis Catterson his heirs or assignees pay or cause to be paid to my daughter Martha the wife of Mr. Henry
  17. Mitton attorney at law the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money at the end of two years after my
  18. decease without interest for the residue of her portion for which I stand bound to Mr. Fawkes of Farneley in the said county in trust and for the benefit of my said daughter
  19. with which one hundred pounds my will is that that estate shall stand chargeable. Item I give unto my son Francis Catterson
  20. his executors, administrators, and assigns all my tenant right and term of years yet to come and unexpired in and to the lands
  21. which I hold of the master and feoffees of the said School. Item I give to my son Silvester Catterson his heirs and assigns forever all that
  22. my Messuage or Burgage wherein I and Mrs. Jane Swier now dwell with Barns and stable and garden thereunto belonging and also
  23. the Orchard which I purchased of Mr. Henry Mitchell in Skipton aforesaid and the reversion of the said Closes called far Bailley
  24. Brigg House and the Crookes herein before bequeathed to my said wife from and immediately after her decease upon trust nevertheless
  25. upon this condition that my said son Silvester his heirs and assigns shall pay unto Edward Heelis who marryed my daughter Leah the sum
  26. of forty pounds at the end of two years after my decease without interest for the residue of her portion for which I stand bound to the said
  27. Edward Heelis with which forty pounds my will is that the said premises devised to my said son shall stand chargeable. Item I give to my said
  28. son Silvester Catterson his executors, administrators and assigns all my tenant right and term of years yet to come and unexpired in and to
  29. all and singular the houses barns buildings lands and tenements in Skipton aforesaid which are demised and leased to me by the
  30. right  Honourable Thomas late Earle of Thanet. Item I give to my daughter Mary Paley,widow, her heirs and assigns forever all that my Messsuage
  31. a dwelling house  and the lands now inhabited by and in the possession of Mrs. Catherine Parker in Skipton aforesaid and the moiety
  32. or half part of the garden with all the rights members and appurtenances to the same belonging  Item I give to my said son Francis
  33. Catterson his heirs and assigns forever all that messuage house in the newmarket in Skipton aforesaid now in the possession of Richard
  34. Oldfield my tenant together with all the barns buildings outhouses garths and gardens thereunto belonging provided always and I do trust order
  35. and direct that my said son Francis his heirs and assigns shall pay satisfye and discharge all such sum and sums of money as shall
  36. be due and unpaid to my daughter Isabell Spencer and Mrs. Jane Swier their executors, administrators or assigns upon any bonds, bills
  37. notes or otherwise  howsoever entered into by me to them respectively with all the interest that shall or maybe due  to the same, with which
  38. sum or sums of money debt or debts and interest in my will is that the said last above mentioned premisses shall stand chargeable for the
  39.  more sure payment thereof. Item I  give to my said loving wife all the household goods of what nature or kind forever in the parlour which
  40. myself and my said wife do now use for lodgings, my golden spoon, six pewter plates, six pewter dishes of the middle sort and pewter slaver
  41. and my silver Gill marked with S.C. To her own and proper use and disposal which said lodgings my will is shall be enjoyed by my said wife
  42. for her life with free entry egress and regress into and out of the same. Item I give to my said son Silvester Catterson my silver pint with
  43. my uncle Mr. Sylvester Petyt's coat of arms upon it and also the picture of my said uncle  and the picture of my brother Mr. Thomas Catterson
  44. Lastly I give one silver tankard, six silver spoons, two plain silver oval salts, my pocket watch, my long swinging clock and also my
  45. uncles Mr. William Petyt and the said Mr. Silvester Petyt's two pictures in the chamber over the house and all the residue and remainder of my
  46. real and personal estate whatsoever not herein before disposed to my said son Francis Catterson his heirs and assigns forever  whom I make
  47. sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made in witness
  48. whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.


Sealed, signed published and ordained, by the  testator to be his last will and testament in the  presence of us who have subscribed our names in the presence and at the request of the said testator...


William Smith, Jane Benson, Christopher Benson.



(Both wills transcribed by Gillian Waters).




Angela Petyt 2003-2010. All rights reserved.

 Permission is granted for all free personal and non-commercial uses.

Commercial use of any portion contained herein is expressly prohibited.


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