The Somerset & Devon Yea,Yaw & Yeaw Families
by Mike Darch & David Yaw revised in 2015
The two main centres of the Yea/Yaw families in the late 1500's were undoubtedly in Wiveliscombe and Cannington with other smaller families around Somerset . Alfred Monday, who wrote the original history of the Yea Family in 1885, seemed to have concluded that the family originated in Devon and moved over to Somerset . However there are relatively few confirmations of Devon sources before this time. Evidence of earlier Yea's is increasing and we are of the opinion that Somerset is the original home, with the few migrating over into Devon . The main wealthy Yea family prospered greatly by selective marrying, including those of their daughters.
We believe that the Aisholt, Cannington and Kingston St Mary lines are possibly inter-related with the Wiveliscombe branch, but to date we have been unable to document this conclusively. With most of the Devon Parish Registers now online we can demonstrate the links between the Wiveliscombe and Sampford Peverell branches and descendants in the Tiverton area. If and when the Somerset Parish Registers are published online with a similar level of coverage, we may be able to refine our research and link up other Somerset families.
The Yea Coat of Arms from the pedigree of William Yea of Pyrland, Somerset granted by the College of Arms in 1759
There is also a very large family of Yaw's/Yeaw's in North America commencing with David and Jane Yeaw ca. 1728 in Marblehead , Mass. They had children Joseph, David, Phillip, Amos, John, William and Mary and you have to wonder whether David emigrated from Sampford Peverell or a nearby parish as all of these names are so familiar to that area. David, Amos and Phillip are quite rare names in these families.
We have recently transcribed several cases from the Court of Chancery in London which have revealed that Marie, the wife of Robert Yea (the son of Richard who died in Wiveliscombe in 1548), remarried to John Hutchins in 1545 - before Richard died and that David Slocombe therefore did not bring up his grand children as we previously thought. Presumably Richard appointed him as an executor of his will in order to safeguard his grand-childrens' future interests bearing in mind this marriage.
The original research is a must to read for anyone with Yea/Yeaw/Yaw roots in Somerset and Devon. Mike has worked on this for ten years and has used mainly original records and deeds not previously transcribed to substantiate his research.
Somerset & Devon Yea, Yaw & Yeaw Family Roots
His thorough work on the Yea family of Wiveliscombe leads on to the Yaw/Yea families of Somerset into Devon with only two family lines to this current day surviving in the UK with the name of Yea. The Kingston line is included in the report below. The Devon Yea's which we had originating from David Yaw and Mary Jessop have now had their ancestors extended by a couple of generations – details of which can be obtained from Mike if required.
The Somerset Yea/Yaw/Yeaw Families by Mike Darch
More recently Mike has been joined in this research effort by David Yaw, whose grandfather originated from Wiveliscombe. Their work links Thomas Yea of Yea in Wiveliscombe from around 1510 to his descendants in Sampford Peverell, Templeton and Washfield, and down to the present day.
(PDF link) The descendants of Thomas Yea of Yea by David Yaw
Many thanks to Mike and David for sharing this with us. They would like to hear from anyone interested in these families. Details of some unpublished wills, deeds and land record transcripts may be available by contacting them below
Yea Family of Wiveliscombe - an article sent to me by Joyce Foster several years ago.