Robert Yeo & Ann Syms


John Yeo (b. 1843) and Elizabeth Crout

Dunsford Parish Church
John Yeo , son of Robert Yeo and Ann Syms , was born on 27 Aug 1843 in South Tawton and died in 1910 in Shaldon, Devon at age 67. John married Elizabeth Crout , daughter of Robert Crout and Jane Stone , on 5 Dec 1865 in Moretonhampstead. Elizabeth was born in 1849 in Chagford, Devon and died in 1930 in Shaldon, Devon aged 81. John was an agricultural labourer and was known as Jack. According to Aunt Mabel, he was a professional wrestler who entered competitions in Devon and Cornwall and had a jovial personality and always a twinkle in his eyes and with his wife, Elizabeth, they certainly passed some strong genes, work ethics and skills onto their many children.

In 1861 John was an agricultural apprentice living with Samuel Powlesland , a farmer, at Falkadon in Spreyton, Devon.

In 1871 he was living at Cleave Cottage, Holcombe Burnell with his wife Elizabeth and children, John aged 4, William aged 3 and Alice 10 months. Elizabeth was born in Chagford, the daughter of Robert Crout & Jane nee Stone. Shortly after her birth Robert moved to Moretonhampstead and Elizabeth probably knew John from an early age as they were neighbours. John & Elizabeth moved around during their marriage as John was born in Mortonhampstead, William in Hennock and Alice in Holcombe Burnell.

By 1881 John & Elizabeth were living at Parkgate in Dunsford , with children Alice aged 11, Henry aged 8, Susan aged 6, Annie aged 4, Ellen aged 2 and baby Charles .

In 1891 they were living in Lowley Cottage, Doddiscombsleigh , with children, John aged 24, an agricultural labourer, Henry aged 18, an agricultural labourer, Susan aged 16, a general domestic servant, Nellie aged 12, a scholar, Charles aged 10, a scholar, Jessie aged 6 and William aged 4. Nellie, Charles, Jessie and William were all born in Dunsford.

By 1901 they had moved to Coombeinteignhead, and living with them was Robert Crout , Elizabeth's aged father. However in 1904 when their youngest son, William James joined the Navy, he gave their address as Parkgate in Dunsford so they could have moved back. John was buried in Stokeingteignead where he died in 1910.

Children from this marriage were:

    • John Yeo born in 1867 in Moretonhampstead, Devon and married Catherine Lee
    • William Charles Yeo born in 1868 and baptised on 13 Sep 1868 in Dunsford, Devon. William died in 1884 in Dunsford aged 16 when he was killed by a horsedrawn roller.
    • Alice Yeo born in 1870 in Holcombe Burnell. She married Edwin Ellis
    • Henry Yeo born in 1872 in Holcombe Burnell. He married Alice Mary Lee
    • Susan Jane Yeo born in 1874 in Holcombe Burnell. She married Alfred Bulley
    • Elizabeth Ann Yeo born in 1876 in Holcombe Burnell. She married William John Howe
    • Ellen Yeo born in 1879 in Holcombe Burnell. She married Alfred Tree on the 7th Sep 1896 in Christow. Alfred was born in 1974 in Thorverton, Devon. Ellen (Nell) had two sons
    • Charles Yeo born in 1880 in Holcombe Burnelland married Kathleen James
    • Jessie Melisa Yeo was born in 1885 in Holcombe Burnell, Devon and married Alfred Bulley
    • William James Yeo born the on 13th Sep 1886 in Dunsford. He married Margaret Ann Moore

Alice Yeo (b. 1870) and Edwin Ellis

  From left to right, Edwin, Mabel, with baby Edwin, Alice and her mother Elizabeth

Alice Yeo , daughter of John Yeo and Elizabeth Crout married Edwin Ellis , in 1890 in Dunsford Area. Alice was born in 1870 in Holcombe Burnell. . One of the children from this marriage was Mabel Ellis who married Alfred Mudge .

This very special photograph hung in the Drewe Arms , Drewsteignton for many years. It must have been taken in 1929 as it includes little Ernest, the baby Mabel & Alfred lost. Also in the photograph are Alfred and Mabel, her mother Alice and grandmother, Elizabeth Yeo nee Crout. When Aunt Mabel eventually had to go into a nursing home her friend and employee, Elaine Chudley sent me the photograph which I quickly photocopied and then returned so no-one was aware it was missing. Elizabeth must have died soon after this photograph was taken.

Biography on Aunt Mabel

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Henry Yeo (b. 1872) and Alice Lee

Henry Yeo , third son of John Yeo and Elizabeth Crout , was born in 1872 in Holcombe Burnell and died on 20 Feb 1938 at age 66. Henry married Alice Mary Lee , daughter of Anthony Lee and Mary Nichols , in 1894 in Exeter area, Devon. Alice was born in 1872 in Christow, Devon and died in 1949 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon at age 77.

Henry married Alice in 1894 and was living in Teign Terrace, Christow in 1901 in Alice's father's old house next door to her mother, Mary Lee. The Lee family entwined with the Yeo family massively at this point. Two Yeo brothers, John and Henry married two Lee sisters, Carrie and Alice. Their brother Harry Lee 's daughter, Beatrice married William Henry Brusey who was a second cousin of John & Henry Yeo and then Harry married William Henry's sister Susan Anne Brusey.. So the Yeos, Lees and Bruseys were all related

By the time their son, John Henry was killed in 1916 they had moved and were living at Biddlecombe, Chudleigh. However later they then seem to have moved to Gappah and the Sandygate area of Kingsteignton.

Children from this marriage are:-:

  • Bessie Yeo was born in 1896 in Christow. Bessie married Mr Bilski in 1918
  • John Henry Yeo was born in 1896 in Stokeinteignhead and died on 31 May 1916 in France (War) at age 20
  • Fred Yeo was born in 1897 in Christow, Devon. Fred married Minnie Coffey in Northern Ireland.
  • Frank Yeo was born in 1900 in Christow, Devon and married Edith Partridge in 1925
  • Elizabeth May Yeo was born in 1906 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon and married Jack Ball who owned the mill in Crossley Moor Road, Kingsteignton .. When they sold the mill they moved into a bungalow opposite the mill and started the Crossley Moor Caravan Park . Elizabeth was a very keen gardener and before my marriage I spent many hours sharing gardening tips with her. They didn't have any children.
  • Charles Yeo was born in 1908 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon and died in 1949 in Newton Abbot Area, aged 41
  • George Yeo was born on 22 Jan 1911 and died on 26 Apr 1937 at age 26.
  • Alice Yeo was born in 1915 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon.

    John Henry Yeo

    John Henry Yeo
    John Henry was born in 1896 in Stokeinteignhead and was killed onthe 31st May 1916 in France aged 20
    J/4882 Leading Seaman John Henry Yeo , Royal Navy, HMS Tiger. son of Henry and Alice M M Yeo of Biddlecombe, Chudleigh was killed in action on the 31st May 1916, no known grave, age 21 and commemorated on the Naval Memorial on the Hoe, Plymouth and also on his parents gravestone in Kingsteignton Parish Churchyard.

    John appears on the Chudleigh town and church memorials, on the latter with the incorrect rank of Chief Petty Officer. His father was an estate worker at Ugbrooke Park. HMS Tiger was a modern (launched 1913) battle cruiser of 28,500 tons. As part of the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet, she was one of the vast array of British and German warships which, on 31st May, 1916, fought each other in what came to be known as the Battle of Jutland.

    John HenryYeo died in the opening phase of the battle when, at 3.45 p.m. the Tiger, Lion, Princess Royal and Queen Mary engaged five German battle cruisers at a range of 16,000 yards. Due to the thick smoke and confusion with signals, one of the German ships the Derflinger, was not fired upon, and, for ten minutes, she was able to score hits on the British ships without interruption.

    The Tiger was struck by several of her 12 inch shells. According to a friend who later wrote to his family, John Henry Yeo was serving a gun in one of the ship's turrets and was killed outright. At around 4.30 p.m. with the two fleets coming into ever closer contact, HMS Queen Mary was hit by plunging fire which penetrated her decks and ignited the magazines.

    Three officers and six ratings survived the explosion, fifty seven officers and 1209 ratings were killed. HMS Tiger escaped that fate and on the evening after the battle, was able to bury her dead at sea. John therefore, rests somewhere in the North Sea. The combined British and German losses in the few hours of the battle were twenty one ships and 9823 officers and men.

    John Henry was identified by his Uncle Charles Yeo , using the ring on his blown off finger. Charles was the chief stoker on the same ship. His cousin, William Yeo was serving on HMS Lion during the battle.


    Fred Yeo born in (1897) in Christow, Devon

    Fred was reported as having died during the first world war so it was quite a surprise when this e-mail was received from Ruth Yeo , it is also interesting that the story of being linked to the upper classes comes in again.
    " Have only just discovered the Yeo website and thought you might like to know that, as far as I know I am the only Yeo in Northern Ireland. I currently live in Belfast and was married to Fred Yeo who died in 1970. We had one daughter, Gail now living in Reigate. My husband's grandfather was William and he came from Devon. He married a Minnie Coffey from Portavogie N Ireland .I know that someone in the family worked on a big estate in Devon, Lord somebody ( my memory is going!) and there was a wonderful family story that a female Yeo from Devon ran off with the Hugenot stable boy and she became a de Voy. My husband was Frederick George de Voy Yeo and I have passed that on to my daughter who married and is now Gail de Voy Yeo Granville"

    Fred married Minnie Coffey and their son, Frederick George De Voy Yeo was born in Northern Ireland and married Ruth from whom the letter was received and they have a daughter, Gail de Voy Yeo who married a Mr Granville . .

    Frank Yeo (1900) born in 1900 in Christow.

    Frank married Edith Partridge in 1925

    Children from this marriage are:-

        • Francis Charles Yeo was born in 1928 in Newton Abbot Area and died in 1987 in the Newton Abbot Area at the age 59. Francis married Hilary Cann and their son Gary F Yeo was born in Exeter area. Gary married Imelda Alim Rabuler and have a son Jason Francis Yeo..
        • Maurice George Yeo was born on 21 Jul 1932 in Newton Abbot Area and died in 1972 in Aylesbury, Bucks at age 40. Maurice joined the RAF (Electrician and Bandsman) where he met Veronica Mary Harrison who was also a RAF Musician. They married in Uxbridge on the 17 th May, 1954, both presumably stationed there. They have four children, Helen, Carol, Susan and Stephen
        • Reg Yeo was born in 1939 in Kingsteignton, Devon and died in 1941 in Kingsteignton, Devon at age 2.
        • Violet I Yeo was born in Kingsteignton, Devon.

Susan Jane Yeo (b. 1874), Jessica Yeo (b. 1885) and Alfred Bulley

Alfred Bulley was born in 1870 in Liverpool, Lancs. Alfred married Susan Jane Yeo , daughter of John Yeo and Elizabeth Crout , married on 9 Jul 1896 in Christow, Devon. Susan was born in 1874 in Holcombe Burnell, Devon and died in 1905 in Shaldon, Devon at the early age of 32, possibly in childbirth. .In 1901 Alfred was a publican, living in Shaldon with his wife Susan nee Yeo and children Richard (Harry) aged 3 and Bertha aged 9 weeks. He was the publican at the Shipwright Arms in Ringmore, Shaldon. Alfred and Susan's children, Harry Bulley , Bertha Bulley Louisa Bulley and Ruby Bulley were born in Shaldon and Susan must have died shortly after Ruby's birth in 1905.


Alfred then married Susan's sister, Jessie Melisa Yeo in 1906 in Exeter, probably by licence. Alfred and Jessie then had five more children, Jim Bulley , Stephen George Bulley born in 1908, Vera E Bulley born in 1912, Joyce Bulley and Gerald H A Bulley born in 1921. They brought up Susan's children as well as their own, as one large family and Alfred, Susan and Jessie are all buried together in one grave in the churchyard of St Nicholas's Church, Ringmore, Shaldon. Their house in Ringmore Road was passed on to their son Gerald who has only recently died.

The Shipwright Arms, Ringmore, Shaldon

The Headstone erected for Susan, Jessie and Alfred in St Nicholas's Churchyard, Shaldon


In Memory of

Susan Jane

Beloved wife of Alfred Bulley ,

fell asleep Jun 23rd, 1905 aged 32

The Gardener Soweth

The Master reapeth


In memory of Jessie Melina Bulley

died 30th November, 1950 age 67

Also Alfred Alexander Bulley

died 23rd March, 1952 aged 81 years

At Rest

This is a transcript of the engraving on the gravestone as it is very weathered and difficult to read

Ruby Bulley daughter of Alfred and Susan nee Yeo and her daughter Rosemary used to play with Joe Spiers during the war years. Ruby was obviously friendly with her cousin Beatrice Yeo . Beatrice's father John Yeo was Ruby's mother's sister and Ruby would visit Drumbridges. They lived in Teignmouth and ran a café there.


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Elizabeth Ann Howe (b. 1876) nee Yeo

Charles, with wife, Kitty and his sister, Elizabeth Ann  


This photograph of Charles, Kitty and Elizabeth Howe nee Yeo was sent to me by Yvonne Moreton nee Shapland who was Elizabeth Ann 's granddaughter. Yvonne gave me a lot of information on the family.

William and Elizabeth Howe had three children,

            • Dorothy who died in her early twenties of T.B.,
            • William who died in his early twenties of T.B. after marrying Emily Clark of Kingsteignton. They had a daughter, Mary who sadly died at 9 months old.
            • Beatrice Maud who married Arthur William Shapland and had Yvonne , John , William Arthur and Charles Basil Ray , known as Ray.



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Charles Yeo and Kathleen James

Charles Yeo was born in 1880 in Holcombe Burnell, Devon and died in 1952 in Plymouth, Devon at age 72. Charles married Kathleen James . Kathleen was born in 1879 and died on 18 Oct 1957 in Plymouth, Devon at age 78.

They had a son, Edward Charles Yeo , born 1914 in Plymouth who also joined the Navy and married Edna Lillian Rickard and had a son Charles Henry Yeo, who sent these photographs of him.


Charles & Kitty

Charles wrote "Grandfather was chief stoker on HMS Warspite and the family has a long connection on both sides with Plymouth dockyards. .He came from a large family and left school at twelve years of age to help support the family. When his ship was hit during the Battle of Jutland , on which he was Chief Stoker , he was given the ringed finger of his nephew, (John Henry Yeo ) to identify him when he was killed on the same ship"

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William James Yeo (b. 1886) killed on the 16 th July, 1918

William James Yeo was born on 13 Sep 1886 in Dunsford Area, Devon and died on 16 Jul 1918 at sea at age 31. William married Margaret Ann Moore in 1909 in Swansea, S. Wales. Margaret was born in 1889 and died in 1935 in Swansea.

HMS Anchusa  

Sadly William lost his life during the first world war whilst serving on HMS Anchusa . The ship was torpedoed by a german submarine off the coast of Northern Ireland and she sunk with the loss of all aboard.

He had joined the Navy in 1904 for twelve years at the age of 18 and at that time he was described as being 5ft 31/2 inches tall, with light brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion and his occupation was a farm labourer. He probably joined as an escape from being an agricultural labourer. and married Margaret in 1909 in Swansea, South Wales.

However in his navy records below on the 10th October, 1907 he was invalided out with hydrocele, a collection of fluid in the scrotum and a hernia on the right. He must have left the navy by the time he married Margaret in 1909. It also has the stamp "Killed in Action"

Tragically he was recalled for active duties on the 6th December, 1917 when there was a shortage of young men and seven months later was killed. They had two children who were only aged 5 and 7 when he was killed. Margaret never remarried and died in 1935 in Swansea.

The information on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website

Name: YEO, WILLIAM JAMES Rank: Stoker 1st Class, H.M.S. "Anchusa." Age: 31. Date of Death: 16/07/1918 Service No: 230529. Additional information: Son of John and Elizabeth Yeo , of Park Gate, Dunsford, Exeter, Devon; husband of Margaret Ann Yeo , of 26, William St., Swansea. Memorial: His name is honoured on the Plymouth Naval Memorial

Many thanks to Charles Yeo who sent me the information and photographs of his grandparents.


  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Yeo family and the research contained in this site email [email protected]/ or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978