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The Yeo Family of Swimbridge and the links to the Yeo families in Australia & Canada

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This biography is the work of many Swimbridge descendants and was inspired by the wonderful collection of photographs and narratives sent to me by Ann Guglar. My thanks to Ann, Norma Biggs, Jenny McCarthy, Jill Yeo, William Scott, Marlene Ehret, Jim Fairweather and the many more who have contributed to these pages.
 
   

In 1524 Edmond Yeo, son of William Yeo and Ellen Grenville had the tenancy of Huish Manor. His nephew, Leonard, son of Nicholas Yeo of Tavistock and Ms Lybbe, wanted sole tenancy of these lands having bought parts of them over a period of years.In 1544 Leonard purchased one third of the manor of Huish from Richard Bolles and Johanna his wife, Thomas and John Yeo, sons of Thomas Yeo, son of Edmond were appointed as Richard's attorneys. Leonard Yeo had acquired the money for these lands through marrying a rich widow, Arminella Broke., The other two thirds were inherited by Margaret Danvers and Thomas Whittington. That year, 1544, Silvester Danvers, son of Margaret sold Leonard his third share and in 1578 Leonard was able to buy another third from Thomas Throckmorton, whose wife was the heiress of the Whittingtons. In 1585 William & Roger Yeo, sons of John and Elizabeth Fortescue, signed an assignment of lease of Huish Barton to Leonard. In 1587 Leonard's son George, made a grant and counterpart of annuity to Elizabeth Harrell (Fortescue), William and Roger Yeo, in consideration of the surrender of Huish Barton in exchange for lands in Swimbridge. The deed was dated 1587 and from that date there has always been Yeos living in Swimbridge. The initial properties were in East Buckland but Bydown and Stone were inherited through female marriages. Elizabeth Fortescue was the daughter of William Fortescue of Buckland Fileigh and had an illustrious pedigree that goes back to Sir Richard le Fort who acquired the name of Fortescue of Strong Shield, through having protected William the Conqueror at Hastings. Elizabeth's Mother was Anne Giffard, daughter of Sir Roger Giffard of Brightley.

Over the next two hundred years or so the descendants of John and Elizabeth multiplied, some marrying into affluent families, such as the Rosiers, Fairchilds, Daveys, Harris and Shaplands. Many were farmers, although one branch became stationers with businesses in Bristol and London. However in the late 1700's and early 1800's there was much poverty in rural areas. The Napoleonic wars, with heavy taxation on farmers to pay for these, caused much hardship. This was at the same time as the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions also took their toll. The Agricultural Revolution resulted in rural farmers having to compete with the more efficient machinery run farms and the Industrial revolution meant that the income many wives earned, weaving in their cottages was lost to the massive town factories. Devon, as a rural area dependant on farming was particularly badly affected. There was no unemployment pay, widow's pensions or family income supplements. It all fell on the parishes, who found their money by taxing the farmers or landowners. Agricultural wages were extremely low and this is when families were applying to the parish for additional money just for food, clothes, doctor's fees or funeral expenses. The poor law books are an invaluable source of genealogical material, they record entries for our ancestors being given money for boots, nails for boots, material to make clothes, funeral clothes and even blankets that could be taken into the workhouse by poor parishioners. In the early 1800's when the parishes could no longer support the poor, they joined together and founded the Union workhouses. Is it any wonder that there was mass emigration to the promised lands of Australia, Canada and America.? There was even the offer sometimes of parish assisted places on the boats. The Swimbridge Yeos were more fortunate than most, they had money, position and useful contacts acquired through carefully selected marriages, but their lands in Swimbridge could only sustain the eldest children who inherited most of the farms. Roger had already suffered a bankruptcy, so very bravely, they speculated and took their chances in the new promised lands. In the Shapland family bible which is a fascinating insight into those times was an entry saying that Thomas Yeo, son of Roger & Margaret Yeo of Byedown, died the 11th June, 1841 aged 80 years. His was the last life on the Byedown Farm leased from the Duke of Bedford..

The first Yeo in Australia By Ann Guglar

The first Yeo in Australia, if family stories are to be believed was a sailor who jumped ship (late 1820's or early 1830's) He wrote home telling of the good land around the Moss Vale area. By the time the Yeo's did arrive, this land was taken and they had to look further afield. The first 'documented' Yeos were Roger and Maria who with their children (with the exception of John who came out as an adult, on the Lloyds, 29.6.1850), travelled to New South Wales on the 'Amelia Thompson' in 1839 and settled in the Bathurst area. (In the Shapland Family Bible was written an entry Elizabeth Yeo sailed from Bristol for Australia the 3rd December, 1837 - Returned to England and landed at Plymouth the 14th March 1855 - so who was this Elizabeth who was the first recorded Yeo to go to Australia? - comment by Sheila Yeo)

Roger's brother James, married Elizabeth Shapland and their sons, George Shapland Yeo & James Yeo known as the Elong Elong Yeo's, emigrated in the mid 1850's with many members of the Shapland and Yeo families.. James married Elizabeth Yeo, who descended from another two different branches of Yeos, They were very involved in importing pedigree cattle, sheep and horses to Australia, with the family members who remained in Devon breeding them and then exporting them.

Elizabeth Yeo, wife of the aforementioned James, was the daughter of John Yeo and Joan Yeo Philpot and her brother John married Ann Stribling. John and Ann's son Henry emigrated to Canada and their son James travelled to NSW, Australia with his cousin, George Shapland Yeo and their Uncle and Aunt, James & Elizabeth Yeo and family. They arrived in Melbourne on the 'James Baines' on the 12th February, 1855. From the 'James Baines', they transferred to the 'Hellespont' which sailed directly to Newcastle. James, Elizabeth and children settled at Morpeth, where over the years they would be host to the various Yeo's who called at the port to pick up supplies

So, there were three different Yeo families, entwined in marriage who are the progenators of the many Yeos now living in Australia. This is an attempt to simplify the origins of these three families.

Family 1 - Roger & Maria Pinsent & James & Elizabeth Shapland, brothers and sons of James & Elizabeth Chapple. James's son James married Elizabeth Yeo.

Descendants of James Yeo & Elizabeth Chapple from John Yeo & Elizabeth Fortescue

1 John Yeo 1515 -
..+Elizabeth Fortescue
.. 2 Roger Yeo 1570 -
....... +Catherine Smale
...... 3 Bartholomew Yeo 1599/00 -
...........+Agnes Rode
...........4 Roger Yeo 1639 -
................ +Grace Gould
............... 5 Bartholemew Yeo - 1750
....................+Margaret Slade
....................6 Roger Yeo 1707/08 -
.........................+Margaret Cowell
........................7 James Yeo 1758 - 1816
.............................+Elizabeth Chapple

 

 

James Yeo was born 18 April 1758, and died 10 February 1816 in Swimbridge, Devonshire, England. He married Elizabeth Chapple 5 December 1785 in Swimbridge, Devonshire, England, daughter of Hugh Chapple and Mary Zeale. . James was a farmer at the family farm of Bydown. Administration for James was granted by the Exeter Consistory Court. He died intestate and administration was granted to Elizabeth who appeared on the 7th May 1816 and made oath she was the widow. There was a bond issued of Elizabeth Yeo, widow, George Burden of Swymbridge, Yeoman and John Rawle of Bishops Tawton, apparitor in 200 on condition that Elizabeth be administrator of the goods of her husband, James.

Children of James Yeo and Elizabeth Chapple are:

  • i. Roger Yeo, born 1786 in Swimbridge, died 1872 in Wellington, NSW, Australia. married Maria Pinsent
  • ii. James Yeo, born 1788 in Swimbridge, Devon, England; died 1874 in Swimbridge, married Elizabeth Shapland
  • iii. Thomas Yeo, born 1791 in Swimbridge, Devonshire, England.married Mary Southcombe
  • iv. Mary Yeo, born 1798; died 25 February 1876 in Swimbridge, She married (1) Mr Rogers(2) Christopher Antisell.
  • v. Grace Yeo, born 1799 in Swimbridge. .She married Henry Gaydon, a malster, and both are buried in Swimbridge Churchyard. Their son William emigrated to Australia

    New information from Robyn Dalleywater - 14th July, 2008

    Dear Shiela,
      I am an Australian, living in coastal NSW. I have just been put in touch with your fantastic website through Isobel Gaydon. I am a descendant, through my mother, who was Winifred Elsie May Gaydon, Daughter of Edward Frederick Gaydon, who was the son of William Gaydon, who emigrated to Australia in the 1850s. According to William's 2nd marriage certificate Henry Gaydon (maltster) was his father and mother Grace Yeo. In your information you state that Henry and Grace emigrated to Australia, and died in NSW. However, several years ago - 1996 - I visited Swimbridge, where I viewed the graves of Henry Gaydon and Grace Yeo in the Swimbridge churchyard. The stone reads Henry Gaydon of Newport who died April 25 1871 Aged 72 years , Also of Grace wife of the above, who died at New Port on the 9th day of December 1875 Aged 77 years.  Can you clarify this for me?

    William Gaydon married twice, first to someone with Christian name Caroline, with whom he emigrated to Australia, and then to my great-grandmother Elizabeth Rebecca Jennings. He died in Sydney on 20th June 1884, occupation saddler, only two years after my grandfather's birth.  My grandfather, Edward Frederick Gaydon, married Harriet Pauline Knight and they had 6 children, who had 11 children between them. Some branches of the Gaydon family are proving quite prolific, and there are many little descendants being born in Australia.

     

  • vi. Elizabeth Yeo, born 1802; died 28 December 1899 in Swymbridge.
  • vii. John Yeo, born 1812; died 8 August 1812 in Swimbridge, Devonshire, England.

Family 2 - Elizabeth Yeo, who married James Yeo. She has two different lines of descent and her husband James has another one, so all descendants of these two have three direct lines of descent from John Yeo & Elizabeth Fortescue.

Descendants of James & Elizabeth Yeo have three different Yeo lines of descent from John & Elizabeth Fortescue.

1 John Yeo 1515 -
.... +Elizabeth Fortescue
.. 2 Roger Yeo 1570 -
......... +Catherine Smale
...... 3 Bartholomew Yeo 1599/00 -
............. +Agnes Rode
........... 4 Roger Yeo 1639 -
................. +Grace Gould
............... 5 Bartholemew Yeo - 1750
..................... +Margaret Acland
.................... 6 John Yeo 1701 - 1789
.......................... +Elizabeth Slowley
........................ 7 William Yeo 1735/36 -
............................... +Margaret Bendle
............................. 8 [5] John Yeo 1772 -
................................... +[4] Jane Yeo Philpot 1782 -
................................. 9 [2] Elizabeth Yeo 1812 - 1879
........................................ +[1] James Yeo 1816 - 1883
1 John Yeo 1515 -
.... +Elizabeth Fortescue
.. 2 Henry Yeo 1572 - 1642
......... +Elinor
...... 3 Alexander Yeo 1602 - 1663
............. +Johan Martyn
........... 4 William Yeo 1651 -
................. +Susanna Davey
............... 5 William Yeo 1688 -
..................... +Mary Fairchild
.................... 6 John Yeo 1718/19 -
.......................... +Joan Basthon
........................ 7 Joan Yeo 1754 -
............................... +Henry Philpot
............................. 8 [4] Jane Yeo Philpot 1782 -
.................................. +[5] John Yeo 1772 -
................................. 9 [2] Elizabeth Yeo 1812 - 1879
........................................ +[1] James Yeo 1816 - 1883
1 John Yeo 1515 -
.... +Elizabeth Fortescue
.. 2 Roger Yeo 1570 -
......... +Catherine Smale
...... 3 Bartholomew Yeo 1599/00 -
............. +Agnes Rode
........... 4 Roger Yeo 1639 -
................. +Grace Gould
............... 5 Bartholemew Yeo - 1750
...................... +Margaret Slade
.................... 6 Roger Yeo 1707/08 -
.......................... +Margaret Cowell
........................ 7 James Yeo 1758 - 1816
............................... +Elizabeth Chapple
............................. 8 James Yeo 1788 - 1874
................................... +Elizabeth Shapland - 1863
................................. 9 [1] James Yeo 1816 - 1883
........................................ +[2] Elizabeth Yeo 1812 - 1879

Family 3 - Elizabeth's brother John married Alice Stribling, and James son of John & Alice travelled to Australia with his cousins. James married Ann Russell. Henry, another son of John & Alice, married Jennie Aurther and emigrated in the 1870's to Ontario, Canada. Both Henry & James have two different lines of descent from John & Elizabeth Fortescue, as well as being closely related to the third branch, the Shapland Yeos.

Descendants of John & Alice Stribling have two different lines of descent.

1 John Yeo 1515 -
.... +Elizabeth Fortescue
.. 2 Roger Yeo 1570 -
......... +Catherine Smale
...... 3 Bartholomew Yeo 1599/00 -
............. +Agnes Rode
........... 4 Roger Yeo 1639 -
................. +Grace Gould
............... 5 Bartholemew Yeo - 1750
..................... +Margaret Acland
.................... 6 John Yeo 1701 - 1789
.......................... +Elizabeth Slowley
........................ 7 William Yeo 1735/36 -
............................... +Margaret Bendle
............................. 8 [5] John Yeo 1772 -
................................... +[4] Jane Yeo Philpot 1782 -

................................. 9 [2] John Yeo married Alice Stribling

1 John Yeo 1515 -
.... +Elizabeth Fortescue
.. 2 Henry Yeo 1572 - 1642
......... +Elinor
...... 3 Alexander Yeo 1602 - 1663
............. +Johan Martyn
........... 4 William Yeo 1651 -
................. +Susanna Davey
............... 5 William Yeo 1688 -
..................... +Mary Fairchild
.................... 6 John Yeo 1718/19 -
.......................... +Joan Basthon
........................ 7 Joan Yeo 1754 -
............................... +Henry Philpot
............................. 8 [4] Jane Yeo Philpot 1782 -
.................................. +[5] John Yeo 1772 -
................................. 9 [2] John Yeo married Alice Stribling

 
  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Yeo family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978