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Sir Walter YONGE (1599-1649) of Colyton

[Also Written as Young ; Younge etc]

©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington March 2009


He came from a wealthy and distinguished family. Thomas YONGE (the Elder) who was mayor of Bristol in 1410 styles himself, in his Last Will and Testament dated 14 March 1426, as burgess of Bristol.  He left two sons, Thomas Yonge (Senior) a distinguished lawyer and MP for Bristol during the reign of Henry VI who was made in the year 1475/6 one of the judges of the Court of the Kings Bench. He died in 1476 and was succeeded by his son Thomas Yonge (Junior) who had a mansion in Wynch Street Bristol but also estates in Basildon Berkshire. The second son Sir John Yonge (Knight) rose to the dignity of Lord Mayor of London and was in 1453 their MP; whilst another of the family became a justice of the Common Pleas in the Reign of Henry VI (1422-1470).

The Manor of Basildon was granted to Thomas Yonge (Junior)'s brother Roger Yonge in 1538 where he served uninterupted for 60 years. He died in 1589 at the age of 96.

The Yonge Family was also of repute in south-east Devon and the visitation for Devonshire mentions Walter YONGE of Berkshire being a younger son of the Yonge’s of Berkshire who settled in Devonshire in the reign of Henry VII (1485-1508). He married twice and in the latter part of his life resided at Sudbury where his last will bears the date 2 Feb 1561. By his first wife he had issue:-

  • John YONGE, his heir
  • Julian Yonge , called Julian Berde in his fathers will
  • Joan Yonge, married Roger Hayman esq
  • Jane Yonge, married Nicholas Westlake esq
  • Florence Yonge, married John Pitt esq.
The only son and successor was John YONGE Esq of Axminster who inherited from his father the manors of Cobeton and Botteshorne Paulet, with considerable estates in Dorsetshire, and sat in parliament for the borough of Plymouth. He married Joan the daughter and co-heir of John COLLETON esq and they had issue:-

  • Walter Yonge, died young
  • John YONGE, successor to his father
  • Robert Yonge, married Anne Hassard
The surviving second son, John YONGE of Colleton [Colyton], the father of our subject was an eminent merchant, and associated with several others in a patent granted by Queen Elizabeth on 3rd May 1588 for a trade to the river Senegal and Gambia in Guinea which proved very profitable. He married Alice STARRE and had issue:-

  • John Yonge, who died
  • Walter YONGE (1599-1649) his successor
  • Jane Yonge, married Richard Mallock esq. of Axemouth in Devon
  • Alice Yonge, married Humphrey Cokeran esq.
  • Anne Yonge, married Robert Hill esq. of Hollylane in Somerset
  • Jane Yonge , married William HILL, esq. of Poundsford Somersetshire
  • Mary Yonge, married William Fry esq. of Yarty in Devon [Note: Also invested in the Dorchester Company]

Map of Colyton dated 1765

John YONGE his eldest son lived at Axminster and died there in 1608, without issue. When his father died in 1612 Walter YONGE, his second son, succeeded him.

Sir Walter YONGE (1599-1649)

Walter YONGE  the subject of this biography was baptised 21 April 1599 and was educated at Trinity College in Oxford which he entered when he was aged 17 on 27 October 1626. He transferred to New Inn Hall and was awarded his BA 23 Jan 1629/30 and his MA on 20 Oct 1632.  He entered the Inner Temple the following year and became a Barrister-at-law. He lived during his fathers lifetime at Upton Helions, near Crediton in Devonshire, and at his death in 1612 succeeded to the considerable estates of the family in Devon and elsewhere. He had a mansion house at Colyton, to this day called “The Great House” and another at Axminster but resided chiefly at Colyton.

St Andrews Church Colyton

A Saxon church appears to have occupied the site of St Andrews church which was built in the 11th century. The Lantern on top of the tower was added in the 15th century. Inside on the north side of the church is the 'Yonge Chapel' where members of the family were buried from 1584 to 1812.

Marriage & Issue

He married Jane, the daughter and coheir of Sir John PERYAM [Periam or Peryan]  of Exeter (Knight), who was the brother of Sir William PERYAM Chief Baron of the exchequer in 1592, and they had issue:-

  • Sir John YONGE (Knight) son and heir born c1603,  married Elizabeth STRODE, daughter of William Strode of Newnham, Devon. [think June 1707]. MP for Plymouth, he was one of those secluded by Cromwell, who denied him and above a hundred entrance into the House of Commons; whereupon they had the courage to publish a remonstrance, asserting the legality of their right to sit in parliament. At the restoration Sir John was created Baronet on 26th Sept 1661 but it became extinct about 1815.
  • Jane Yonge born c1606, died unmarried
  • Walter Yonge born 1608, married Alice daughter of Joyles Green esq. of Purbeck
Walter YONGE was one of the justices in the commission for the county of Devon, and the Puritan Party. He had the honour to be Sheriff of Devon in 1628. A House of Commons committee having been appointed to ascertain which boroughs had formerly sent burgesses to Parliament and had discontinued to do so, reported in 1640. Honiton among others was as a consequence ordered to be restored. Walter Yonge and William Pole his neighbour were the two members first returned for Honiton which Mr Yonge a staunch Puritan continued to represent until his death in 1649. He was present at the major speech which John White made as a member of the Divines to Parliament making hand notes which have survived as an important historical document.

He wrote his will on 14 Mar 1645 and it was proved by his son and heir Sir John Young Knight on 26 Dec 1649.


  • Visitation of Devon 1620:
  • PRO  (PCC 29 Pembroke)
  • Calendar of Marriage Licences granted by the faculty office June 1707:
  • Roberts, George, (Ed.). Diary of Walter Yonge Esq., Justice of the Peace and M.P. for Honiton: Written at Colyton and Axminster, Co. Devon, From 1604 to 1628, Camden Society, Printed by J.B. Nichols and Son (1848) 124 pp
  • Genealogical & Heraldic History of Extinct and Dormant Baronrtcies of England, Ireland and Scotland by John Burke Esq published 1977.
  • RT
  • British History On Line A History of the County of Berkshire Volume 3 PH Ditchfield & Willam pages 457-463 Published 1973

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