Where do we come from?


This is the big conundrum. Any help or idea would be VERY welcome. I have been on this quest for over 10 years!

The first Yonge we know of with a definite link is John Yonge (A) who married  Joanna Blackaller in Dartmouth in 1640.

 Anything before then is pure speculation. What is clear from the Article "Whats in a Name?" that both Yonge and Young leads need to be followed up.

Probably the enquiries can be confined to Devon but as John Yonge Dartmouth at that period attracted settlers from all over England v because of the booming trade in Newfoundland Cod we cannot even be sure of that.

The Yonge's of Carnes  Hall,  Cayton, Bristol and Colyton have been well researched by members of those families and  it seems clear as one can be, that there is no link there.

Other Yonge families such as in the Isle of Wight, Ringwood cannot be ruled out. The Suffolk Yonge's, a branch of which went to America in the 17th century have no link. Nor do the Yonge's of Georgia and Florida in the USA.

In this account the spelling YONGE even though contemporaneous records may use a different spelling.

John Yonge (A)

The records of St Saviours Dartmouth show that he married Joana Blackaller there in 1640. She was the daughter of Nicholas Blackaller, who may have been a seaman an dRosamund Bale. There is however no evidence thatJohn Yonge was  a resident of that town. The parish registers show numerous Blackallers but only the odd Yonge.

At that time Dartmouth was  a boom town because of its heavy involvement in Newfoundland cod. We know from the journal of his son Dr James Yonge (B) that he had been to Newfoundland with the cod fishing fleets. So it is possible he came from somewhere else in the country and met his wife to be whilst with the Dartmouth fleets.

Shortly after their marriage, John and Joannay moved to Plymouth which was to be John's home for the rest of his life.

We also know from the Journal of Dr James Yonge (B) that he was   a surgeon. The true professionals in medicine were doctors and  surgeons were considered the poor relation with many being considered as little better than butchers. This was reflected in their relatively low social status.

Also from the College of Arms (see below) we know that he tried but failed to obtain coat of arms so he had social pretensions.

Dr James (B), also wrote:

"tt's [Mesina, Sicily] incompassed with high hills and made a haven by a hook of sand strangely lying before it. We entered the boca [bay] and hauling our ship to the key,  (as it were before my fathers door at Plymouth) lay always afloat .... "

The waterfront was still at this point the place to live in Plymouth and having a home  their suggests some wealth and status.

However though  John (A) had some real estate but significant property assets and with that social status, only came with Dr James son, James (C) on his marriage to Mary Upton in the early 18th century.

There was a John Yonge surgeon fine of £1 from book St Michael's 1571 Michaelmas 1572. could this be John's (A)  father? Same name and same profession but no more to go on. it has been suggested that Dr James (B) at some point refers to his grandfather being  a surgeon but I have never seen any material that might corroborate this.


Brother Maurice


There is one reference in Dr James diary to his father (A) having a brother Morris, who  was said to be in the Guards. The surviving albeit incomplete military records show no one of that name in the army and no "Morris" appears in any Yonge visitation or tree. Morris or Maurice is a common name in Wales. The very Welsh name "Aphredos" appears in the Colebrooke Visitation (see below) but there is no evidence of a link.  However to be an officer in the small standing army of the first part of Charles 11 reign would suggest some status.

Dr James Yonge (B) 1647-1721

James was born on the 27th February 1647. He was baptised in the church of St Andrews by George Hughes, the Presbyterian vicar. Dr James says in his diary that this was in the Presbyterian district. One should not draw any conclusion from this as to John's politics. When his father moved to Plymouth to Plymouth is not clear. An examination of Plymouth records show no reference to a John Yonge in Plymouth during the parliamentary siege.

However it seems from Dr James Journal that John (A) was inclined the Parliament way and both Dartmouth and Plymouth were largely  Puritan in temperament. That however really says nothing about him for that was a trait shared by many from the high to the low.

Apart from the snippets referred to here Dr James, likewise his descendants,  says nothing about his families past. Was this lack of knowledge or was this socially mobile rather snobbish establishment figure ashamed of that past?


Carew's Surveys of Devon and Cornwall

These were compiled in the first half of the 17th century. Many county families of note are listed including the Yonge's of Colyton but no other Yonge's which would suggest that our Yonge's were not of the area or were too modest socially to count.

Why the Colyton line is rejected

Burke's landed Gentry shows John Yonge and Elizabeth Strode of Colyton as having  two children named John with the older as being the father of Dr James (B) the diarist: However:

I) It would have been highly unusual for parents to give two children living at the same time, the single same name.

2) The Visitation signed off by a member of the Colyton family only shows the one John and he would have been too young to be our John (A)..

3) That Visitation also shows that the above John Yonge born 1623 died 1639/40, whereas the father of Dr James lived until 1679, according to Dr James in his journal,

4) The parish records for Colyton and Axmouth tie in exactly with the Visitations for the Yonge's of Colyton.

5) Dr James (B) in his diary refers to an uncle Morice, on his fathers side of the family, but this name does not appear in Colyton trees.

6) Dr James (B) in his journal refers to people he met in Devon and names Walter Yonge of Colyton but there is no suggestion that he was a relative.

7) Sir George Yonge is said to be the last of the Colyton line and the baronetcy clearly died with him. However under the laws of succession, if the Colyton and Puslinch Yonge's had been the same family, it would have continued through to the present time.

8) John Yonge, died 1772, refers the family origins but makes no reference to any Colyton Yonge's

9) The records of the College of Arms state that John Yonge (K5) father of Dr James had been using the arms which were later granted to his grandchildren and that they applied for formal recognition in order to regularise the position. The Colyton Yonge's had arms and very different arms well before he applied.

A History of Devon published in 1797

This states:

Yonge of Puslinch

The late Sir William Yonge G. C.B. was of this family. He had a younger brother Admiral James Yonge of Barton End Gloucestershire. The following arms were granted in 1725 to James and William brothers of this family Arms -or six ogresses in fesse between three lions salient. no tincture given Crest -On a wreath or and gules a bucks head couped between fern branches vert [In this grant of arms the name is spelt both Yonge and Young]. At this time the parties to whom the grant was made failed in proving their right to arms. But appears from documents in the Heralds College that the ancestors of the
Yonges. then of Landsend in Colebrooke and Sturminster Newton had
a grant from the celebrated Camden, Clarencieux King of arms of the following coats      

Camden was King of arms 1696-1623. Also

This family which came from Sturminster Newton . Dorset, had resided for several generations at Lansdend in the parish of Colebrooke. They removed to Puslinch in consequence of emettieqe with a co heiress of Upton in the beginning of the last century.

The marriage was in fact at the start of that century. Also the reference is wrong for it was in fact through the marriage of the Puslinch Yonge's with the Upton family who had land in Colebrooke, that the Puslinch Yonges had a connection with Colebrooke. Position is complicated by fact that Colebrooke had a connection with Colyton Yonge's and Colebrooke/Sturminster Newton Yonge's.· As to the Sturminster Newton reported connection this may be true but there is no evidence at all and .the inaccuracies we do know about do not inspire confidence. The Heralds office say that this book cannot be relied upon.

Burkes Landed Gentry

Burkes Landed Gentry which unfortunately is taken as gospel by other works and publications including on  the web,  but  a mistake does not become correct merely because it is endlessly recycled to this day, states:

"The Yonge's of Puslinch descend from a family of the name of considerable antiquity in Devon and originally came from Basingbourne Berks. In 1600 they had settled at many seats in Devon and elsewhere such as Axminster Upton Hellions, Escott, Pallaton Cold broke and Colyton. In 1656 Sir John Yonge was MP for Plymouth. John Yonge son of Sir John Yonge and his wife Elizabeth Strode [of the Colyton Yonge's] was settled in Plymouth in 1640, he married Joanna Blackaller daughter of Nicholas Blackaller of Sharpham Devon. "

Burkes Landed Gentry, also stated that James Yonge, (C) who married Mary Upton is also described as being of Puslinch and Landsend. This however is only because Landsend farm, Landsend Wood and Birchment, all of Colebroke, all belonged to the Fortescue family, From them it passed to the Upton's and from the Upton's to James Yonge on his marriage.

 It is interesting that a Yonge/Landsend connection is still being referred to in the 18th century. This is confirmed by documents in the Yonge collection 107 at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. These documents also name the tenants. no Yonge appears.

Clearly Burkes has lumped together  a number of separate Young families and all one can usefully say is that Sturminster Newton/Colebrooke is the most common reference in various works so just maybe the answer lies there.


The following is extracted from Polewhele's History of Devonshire, first published between 1793-1806. this extract is taken from the 1793 edition with the heading "Mr Yonge in Devonshire"  compiled by the Rev John Yonge who died in 1792.

"Old Puslinch was inhabited by the family of Uptons or Uppetons, as sometimes spelt for several centuries, till at the beginning of this century it fell into the joint possession of two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, the latter of whom in this century married James Yonge, surgeon of Plymouth by which means and purchase of the other sisters moiety, he became possessed of the whole, and it has since continued in his family. This gentleman was the grandfather 'of the Rev James Yonge and was the son of James Yonge, also surgeon and . physician, of the same place, by which practice he. made a pretty considerable fortune for those times, and whose father appears to have some concerns or estates in Ireland, and. was perhaps originally from that country, tho' he appears to have
settled in Plymouth in the year 1640."

Of particular interest is the reference to the family having business interests in Ireland and possible having come from there to begin with. This of course may simply be repeating what is suggested or rather implied in Dr James Journal. for there is a little more information than in the Journal. However if it is from Dr James, rather than coming from a separate source, it is still interesting for it suggests the family had no other ideas of their origin.

 Lysons Magna Brittanica 1822

This too cannot be relied upon. It states

"Yonge, of Puslinch. - This family, which came from Sturminster Newton, in Dorsetshire, had resided for several generations at Landsend, in the parish of Colebrooke: they removed to Puslinch in consequence of a marriage with a co-heiress of Upton, in the beginning of the last century. The Rev. John Yonge, of Puslinch, is the present representative. The late Sir William Young, G. C. B., was of this family: he had a younger brother, Admiral James Young, now of Barton-end, in Gloucestershire."

One can see the picture of the same stories being recycled with never any primary source material to back them up.


The family obtained a coat of arms in 1725, was a time when College was not
noted for academic integrity

In granting new arms the College often looked at and based arms on other families with same name without checking if they were related. They did not check on and did not require extensive pedigrees. So it is likely to be unproductive to draw any conclusions from any similarity of the Puslinch arms to the arms of any other Yonge family.

The tree the College, have though it has some odd omissions is, the Herald said,
surprisingly detailed and must have been based on some extensive evidence. However it does  not go back earlier than John Yonge (A).

The records also state that John (A) had been using the arms which were later granted or devised to his grandchildren James Yonge and William Young and that they applied for formal recognition in order to regularise the position. This clearly suggests that John was on his way up in the world.  


Dr James Yonge's (B)  journal contains a reference to a visit to CapeClear in Ireland in 1658s where a Colonel Townsend/Townshend was living in the castle and that he was one "was formerly a fellow -servant with my father but grown great in the late rebellious war."

The reference to "servant" may mean that both were at one time fellow apprentices surgeons together.

"An Officer of the Long Parliament and his descendants by family members being some account of the life and times of Colonel Richard Townsend of Castle town and a chronicle of his family" edited by R and D Townsend 1892  states that s he was born in 1892 but that little was known about his early life.

The only possible correct reference we have is Richard Townsend of Ditchford in Warwick who matriculated at Hart Hall Oxford aged 1637 aged 19.

There are some Devonshire Townsend's but there is no known link with any other branches of the family. However there was a captain Townsend serving in the Parliamentary garrison in Exeter in 1643

The above work then recounts that on March 3rd a Capt Townsend took 100 horsemen through the siege lines and surprised the Royalists in an attack on Bridport . This is also referred to in the Lyme diary of the Earl of Warwick who was in charge of the Parliamentary forces.

"Determined attacks were made in April and Mayan Lyme and in an attack on the 27th of May the by then Major Townsend was "shot in the head but still lives" said Warwick in report to his secretary [ pamphlet 160 23 being "an exact and true return of the resolution of th Garrison of Lyme in Devonshire by the Right Honourable earl of Warwick .. ]

Could it be that John Yonge (K5) was there and treated Richard Townsend, thus making the connection? If so this would suggest that at one. time John was in the Parliamentary forces

On the 19th of June 1647 Parliament ordered Colonel Townsend and his regiment "be hereby required and commanded to be shipped and transported to Ireland". There was a lot of unfinished business in Ireland but he New Model army were reluctant to go there. There were already some Townsends in Ireland but if and how close a connection there was with Richard is not known.

The fact that Colonel Richard Townsend, appeared as a leading signatory representative of the Royalist 'Old Irish" protestant officers of Munster in 1648, which would suggest a connection pre civil war.


Large numbers of English people had been settled in Ireland, especially the south. Of these so many came from Devon that the Irish accent has been attributed to the Devon.

John Yonge (A) had married a Joanna Blackaller from Dartmouth in 1640 so no visible Irish connection. The references to Ireland come from the Journal of his son Dr James Yonge (B). In his Journal, refers to a visit to Ireland in 1659.

"From Plymouth we were ordered to sail for Kinsale to convey some ships thither. My father having some business in Ireland to recover a debt and to see his mother, then living, went with us. When we come to Kinsale my father left us and rode to Cork".

Unless she remarried her name should be Yonge although the spelling may have been "Younge" or "Young". We have no Christian name for Dr James (B) grandmother.

James grandmother may have been Irish (which if true could well explain why the family did not want to know about their past for at that time many persons saw the Irish as no better than the North American Indians) but Cork did have a large English community and she was far more likely to be part of the Protestant ascendancy. Her name however does not appear in the records of the main Protestant Church of Cork.

There are several other references to Kinsale and Ireland in his Journal but in none  of these does he make any reference to his family being there.

A transcript of the Court Book of Kinsale and this shows a number of YOUNG entries in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Council Book of Kinsale makes a number or references to Yonge's holding various official posts. On the other hand the Court Book of Cork, though years 1643-90, are missing, shows no entries.

Kinsale is a small coastal town south west of Cork, which traded with England, including the west country in particular. At that time it was a thriving and important port, possibly more important than Cork.

The native Irish apparently lived outside the walls in Kinsale (and also Cork). The work by john Silke on the Spanish occupation of Kinsale in 1601-2, makes no reference to the Family.

Parish registers for the period are incomplete. In the Fiants of Elizabeth 1st for Ireland there are many references to YONGE, YANG, YOUNGE and YOUNG In the Irish Patent Rolls of James 1st also has similar name references. It seems that a number Irish Yonge's came from Scotland, where at least Young is a very common name.

If there was a presence in the area it would be difficult to follow up as we do not know the mothers maiden name and many records of the Anglican Church in Ireland and other records were lost when the Public Record Office was destroyed in 1922.



Charlotte Mary Yonge


The Victorian writer Charlotte Yonge says in her autobiography.

"Our tradition is that in the time of James I, when knights fees were heavy a gentleman of the Norfolk family eluded the expensive honour by fleeing into Devonshire. His son acted as a surgeon in the Cavalier Army. "          

This account poses several problems:

The only reference we have to Norfolk Yonge's is to a branch of the Caynton Yonge's who moved there in the 19th century.

Moving from Norfolk to Devon is hardly likely to result in the authorities losing all track of a member of the gentry.

The law at the time was pay for a knighthood or pay for refusing one. However application was not widespread. James I toyed with the idea but did not implement it and Charles only imposed it once and that on his coronation .

The "book of Compositions for not taking order of Knighthood at Coronation of Charles 1st 1630-32" has been checked for counties of Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Bristol, BristolCity, Norfolk and Suffolk. This only showed a Robert Yonge in Suffolk and a William Young in Bristol.

The "commission from the Privy Council of Charles I 28th February 1631 appointing Sir Hamon Le Strange of Hunstanton Collector of fines or compositions for Knighthood in the County of Norfolk" does not show any Yonge/Young listed.

 A record from the Norfolk Record Office appears to show a Young paying a fine of £10 for refusing to take a knighthood but the writing is difficult to interpret and there is nothing to link the name to any other person .

 For the grandfather of Dr James to have come to Devon at the time of James let alone Charles 1st in 1625 would not tie in with the Colebrooke tree or anything else we have.

 Charlotte refers in to the reference as being" A tradition" but on the other hand whoever told her of the tradition would have been a lot closer in time to the events than we are .

 As Dr James (B) was a very strong royalist one would have expected him to refer to  his father's role in the civil war, if he had been in the King's army.

As to the reference to the Cavalier Army, original records at Kew have been checked. They are not complete but do not really assist.

Primary original source documents and secondary sources have been checked for military associations in the Civil War, with following results.

 Captain John Young L & W Lord Gerrard's Regiment
Ensign Young of Duke of Yorks Regiment

Captain John Yonge from Salop with Sir Vincent Corbit's's Horse
Ensign Arthur Young with Sir William Coastbles Regiment

47 Chirugions and 5 Phyfitians are listed but none bear the name Yonge.

There was a Captain Young in a company under Captain Fortescue ( is this significant in relation to the Fortescues mentioned elsewhere in this note?) but this unit was part of Sir Thomas Fairfax forces and he was a Parliamentarian.

On checking on the primary and secondary Civil War references for Plymouth Plymouth and the Civil War, there are no Yonge references .

It could be that Charlotte has got confused with Dr James Yonge (B) who at the time of Monmouth's landing was a surgeon in Lords Baths Regiment, part of the Royalist army. She was not noted for the accuracy of her history of the family.

Colebrooke, Devon

An account of Colebrooke and other areas written in the time of The Rev James Yonge of Puslinch (second half of 18th century) says recounts:

Landsend belongs to the Rev James Yonge [died 1797J of Puslinch, in whose family it has been many generations In fact it was about two generations.  

Yonge of Puslinch

This family which came from Sturminster Newton Dorset, had resided for several
generations at Lansdend in the parish
of Colebrooke. They removed to Puslinch in consequence of a marriage with a co heiress of Upton in the beginning of the last [17th] century. The marriage was in fact at the start of the 18th century]. The Rev John Yonge [probably this refer to John Yonge  who died in 1772 of Puslinch is the present representative. The late Sir William Yonge GCB was of this family. He had a younger brother Admiral James Yonge of Barton end Gloucestershire.

This does not tie in with what we know or the Puslinch Yonge's.  While the book referred to was written in the 18th century was a lot closer in time than now, to the events, it is clearly not reliable.

The family could have come from the present day "Young's farm" which is opposite church at Colebrooke. The owners have been contacted and while  interested in  the history have no information.

Colebrooke Visitation 1620

Thomas Yonge of Sturminster Newton, died in 1586 had four sons Alphredos, Robert Thomas and John . This information is also confirmed by his will


The Visitation gives the children and grandchildren of Alphredos.


Robert had a son John. However we know his wives, Anne Chichester and Elizabeth Burrington and we know he died in 1672. So he could not be right.


The Visitation of 1620 shows him as having three sons. None were called John and there is no record of grandchildren of that name


That leaves the third brother, John. He married a daughter of one Seamour. They had two children John  and Thomas. There are no dates at present for the marriage or the birth of the children. However the child John must have been alive in 1620 when the first part of the Visitation was compiled. If a young child then that would be perfectly consistent with his marriage in 1640.

Thus while there is no evidence that this John Yonge is the John Yonge (A) who married Joanna Blackaller. looking just at the Visitations and the parish records, he is the only possible John Yonge that I have come across. Looking at other members of the family of the same generation, where we have a birth date, he could have been born in about 1620. We know John married in 1640 and died in 1679. This could all be consistent with being born in about 1620. The fact the Visitation gives no information about what happened to John it could be he had left the area and had lost touch. However still just speculation.

 The original Visitation went up to 1620 but was extended in the 19th century

 Sturminster Newton

Looking at the entries for Yonge's in the Sturminster Newton and nearby Buckhorn Weston areas from the records in Dorchester Record Office, there were at least 9 Yonge's alive in the - period 1525-41 at Buckhorn Weston. At Sturminster Newton there were five in this period. This would suggest the family was well established and it was not a case of one Yonge coming into the area at that time.  

The Sturminster Newton parish records only start in 1681. Earlier ones are lost possibly by the great fire in Sturminster Newton of 1729. Indications however from Visitations are that there was a link between Sturminster Newton and Colebrooke.

 John Bargus Yonge

 He lived at Puslinch and took a keen interest in the family history. Knowledge of this interest must be tempered by the fact that his evident love of the romance of history may outweigh his objectivity.

He created a huge  tree showing all the diffeent Yonge families linked with beautuifully illustated fanciful arms. He showed the Puslinch Yonges as linked to the Colyton Yonges but he must have had doubts for he shows different and only half completed arms for John Yonge who he shows as being descended from a Colyton Yonge. Furtherj he or someone else at a later date has  in pencil uncoupled the two families.  

John Bargus Yonge and J.Y.A. Morshead

In a paper published in 1916 by a relative by marriage, to the family, J.Y.A. Morshead it is stated that the documents used for the paper were transcribed by John Bargus Yonge. On the early history of the Yonge family, it states

"Tradition makes them a Norfolk family who settled in Bristol as merchants. Thence one became mayor of Lyme and the ancestor of the two Whig members who George 1st hated so. Another was the tithe farmer for the dean and chapter of East Devon and a third may have come to Plymouth. At all events there was soon a naval surgeon."

Some basic points:

There may be a connection between the Bristol Yonge's and the Caynton Yonge's and some of Caynton Yonge's did go to Norfolk. However the Bristol Caynton link has still to be proved and  all we know indicates thereis no link between Norfolk and our Yonge's.

The references to the two M.P's is probably a reference to Sir William Yonge and Sir George Yonge but they are of the Colyton branch, which we know is not linked.

Checks have been made with Lyme Regis museum and they have no record of a Yonge ever holding a public office in Lyme Regis.

There is the same reference to Norfolk as Charlotte Yonge save in this case the claim is the family went from Norfolk to Bristol not Norfolk to Devon.


R I Yonge


© 1998



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Annwyn Lewis | Reply 04.02.2020 18.08

What about the Yonge’s of Buckhorn? I have Yonge’s going back from here. This is not my tree https://gw.geneanet.org/schnapper?lang=en&n=bull&oc=0&p=ma ti

Ian Yonge 06.02.2020 17.07

Interesting. Only limited space to reply here so if you can give me your email address I can comment properly. More info welcome



Michelle Rawle | Reply 25.01.2017 03.07

Hi all, I think I've found a link between the young, morice and bonnell names.
No room here but happy to email for opinions.

I Yonge | Reply 01.11.2016 10.03

Interesting reference which I had not come across before. Only limited space to reply here so if you can give me your email address.



Russie McDerment-Fogarty | Reply 31.10.2016 22.35

Re: Uncle Maurice
Bro or BIL of John Y?
William Morice--Nominal Roll of Officers of Royal Regiment of Guards, Raised in England, 1660, by Colonel John Russell

Annie Pomeroy | Reply 06.05.2016 10.48

Sorry wrong record office
Plymouth and West Devon Record Office,

Annie Pomeroy | Reply 06.05.2016 10.47

Yonge Family of Puslinch Catalogue Ref. 308 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk - DRO
ref. 308/177/3/ date: 26 June 1514 and more

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Latest comments

19.08 | 08:27

Dont think are connected. Usual spelling for my family is YONGE and I not know a "Sir Frederick". If you give more details, happy to check further.

18.08 | 22:46

Wow could be related my grandmother Jessie mcdonald née young was in some way related to sir Frederick young so trying to workout how her father was related

11.07 | 02:22

I have been made aware of an article on Puslinch in the Western Districts Morning News 1963. I'm unable to get it online. Is it 100% correct?

10.07 | 09:27

Thanks, will change. This and Eton reference are wrong as previously checked with both bodies. Short account I wrote of his life is more up to date than website

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