The Yonge Family Royal Links



Many native born people in England have ancestors who come from a Royal line, although it can often be difficult to trace the link. This picture shows Edmung Lagley Duke of York, one of the many sons of Edwad111, who is our link with the Royal Family.

 This is sole because in medieval times it was the practice, unlike on the Continent, for English kings to marry off their children to the great noble families. The aim was to secure the barons loyalty, although this did not always work.

 In practice this led to a rapid diffusion of royal blood down to “ordinary” people. Thus the five daughters of Edward 1 were all married to barons. Their daughters sons then married into the lesser nobility and within a few generations the younger sons of younger sons would have been little more than minor gentry and then if some of those went down in the world a serf could easily carry the genes of a king. The process would have continued until their descendants, as is the case, would be lost in the general population.

 If we estimate that each of the descendants of Edward 1 had two children who left issue, then over the twenty five generations between his time and ours, this produces a theoretical total of 2 to the 25th, giving some thirty three and a half million people.

In reality of course some of the aristocracy had only one or no children and others had half a dozen or more from whom descendants can be traced. Of course some lines died out altogether which would cut off whole swathes off the theoretical number of descendants.

 Also often the same descendants appear over and over again through intermarriage. So if in the third generation down from a king, first cousins married, that would reinforce the royal link.

 In times past with limited social and geographical mobility, intermarriage between closely connected people was quite common. The Yonge family with numerous marriages, between cousins, with the Crawley Boevey family in the 17/18th centuries, is an example of this.

 Of the population of Britain of nearly 60 million, 93% are white and while a few of these, such as recent Jewish or European migrants, would form a distinct racial group, the vast majority would be related and could thus claim royal ancestors.

 If someone is not a recent migrant then even if by some statistical fluke say the father of the family had no royal blood, it is unlikely that his wife would also be in that position. Even if she was the chances of their children doing the same would be very remote. With each generation the chances of royal descent double and with increased geographical and social mobility any isolated genetic pools, without royal genes, are likely to continue to diminish.

 The practice of monarchs marrying their daughters into the aristocracy stopped with the Stuarts and did not revive until Queen Victoria but that is so recent that it could as yet have had no appreciable effect on the general genetic pool but over time that will give another infusion of royal blood

 Edward 111, which is where, together with Edward IV, the Yonge family can first claim a royal link, has been described as “the Clapham Junction of genealogy”. Go back to him and you can go back where you please: Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Ethelred the Unready, Rolf the Ganger and the early Scottish kings.Edward 11 had foutteen children, seen of whom had children of their own. The time of Edward 111 (1312-1367) was a time of great change in the population of England

 Climatic deterioration began from about 1300, with colder winters and wetter summers. These conditions contributed to the Great European Famine of 1315 - 1322, in which millions perished.

Chronic malnourishment weakened the population, perhaps making people more susceptible to the Black Death, the worst disease in recorded history, which arrived in Europe in 1347 and in England the following year.

Chronic malnourishment weakened the population, perhaps making people more susceptible to the Black Death, the worst disease in recorded history, which arrived in Europe in 1347 and in England the following year.

The disease killed between one third and 50% of the population within a year, but the main effect was that it returned with alarming regularity in 1361, 1374 and regularly thereafter until it disappeared from Britain in about 1670. The population of Britain and Ireland before the Black Death may have been eight million, of which three-quarters lived in England.

Decline continued until about 1450, when the population was perhaps two or three million, the lowest count during the last millennium. By 1485 the population was beginning to rise again.

These disasters affected poor people far more than the rich so many blood lines of the peasantry must have died out in that period.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said We are the children of many sires, and every drop of blood in us in its turn betrays its ancestor

 With no compulsory record keeping of births deaths or deaths until the middle period or the reign of Queen Elizabeth and with many people without surnames or fixed surnames, unless any members of the family held important positions there would be no records for the earliest times for the ordinary people. By linking into the Saxon and Norman royal lines a blood line but not a family name, can be traced back to the 6th century and conjecturally further back. That in genealogical terms is the importance of being able to trace royal roots, not the fact they are royalty.

 In England people are often keen to say "my antecedents came over with the Conqueror" in the same way that Americans like to say that their antecedents came over on the Mayflower. Both statements of course while true are also meaningless for everyone has lots of antecedents and they did not all come over with William or all sail on the Mayflower.

 The story commences with the Vikings who lead into the English royal family through William the Conqueror.

 Vikings and William the Conqueror

 Concentrating on William the Conqueror we start with Rognvald Earl of More (died 890) and Hild both well known in the saga world. Going back further than them leads you into the orld of Norse mythology or unreliabe and contradictory sagas an dannals. Rognvald played a leading role in the unification of Norway. At that time Norway was in no way a nation but was ruled by local chiefs and war leaders who were only as good as there last battle. They had a son Rolf the Ganger.

 IIn Alesund, Norway there is a statue to Rolf Ganger, It is a copy of a statue in Rouen, and has the following inscription on the base.


 Rolf the Ganger or Ganger Rolf, "Ganger means long legged, which would have been very apparent whilst riding a pony. However it must be remembered that the traditional Norwegian pony is short. The spelling "Rollo" is the French version of the name. Rolf is the ancestor furthest back in time about whom there is any detailed and probably accurate historical knowledge.

 Rolf first appears in history as a pirate plundering the Baltic . All told Rolf seems to have been a particularly violent person in a particularly violent age.

 He next turns up in Valland in Western France in 876 or 886. During this period there were many Viking raids on France and Dido says that Rolf led the raid on Paris in 881 although another account names another leader.

 All this is recorded in the Heimskringla version of the Sturgesson Sage written in about 1250 by Snorre. It reads.

 Rolf became a great Viking, and was of so stout a growth that no horse could carry him, and wheresoever he went he must go on foot; and therefore he was called Rolf Ganger. He plundered much in the East Sea. One summer, as he was coming from the eastward on a Viking’s expedition to the coast of Viken, he landed there and made a cattle foray.

 As King Harald happened, just at that time, to be in Viken, he heard of it, and as in a great rage; for he had forbid, by the greatest punishment, the plundering within the bounds of the country. The king assembled a Thing, and had Rolf declared an outlaw over all Norway.

 When Rolf's mother, Hild heard of it she hastened to the king, and entreated peace for Rolf; but the king was so enraged that her entreaty was of no avail.

 Rolf Ganger went afterwards over sea to the West to the Hebrides, or Sudreys; and at last farther west to Valland, where he plundered and subdued for himself a great earldom, which he peopled with Northmen, from which that land is called.

 From Ganger Rolf are descended the Earls of Rouen who have long reckoned themselves of kin to the chiefs of Norway and held them in such respect that they were always the greatest friends of the northmen and every northmen found a friendly country on Normandy if he required it. To Normandy King Olaf came in Autumn, he stayed all winter in good peace and quiet.

 Rolf Ganger's son was William, father to Richard, and grandfather to another Richard, who was the father of Robert Longspear, and grandfather of William the Bastard, from whom all the following English kings are descended. From Rolf Ganger also are descended the earls in Normandy.

 Dido states that in 890 Rolf attacked Bayeux and then polygamously married Popa (it is through her the line descends) who was the daughter of the defender of Bayeux Count Berrenger De Sellis. While “marriage” was a legally defined term, there was nothing to prevent men having mistresses, concubines or “underwives” and bastardy was not considered to be a problem. It was very common at this time for Vikings to have more than one “wife”.

 In 911 Rolf was defeated at Chatres by Charles 111 (the Simple) but the French King realising that the Viking problem would not just go away and hoping perhaps that Rolf would keep off further marauding bands, entered into a pact with Rolf. Rolf was baptised, married Charles daughter and in return for acknowledging Charles as his overlord Charles acknowledged Rolfs rule over Upper Normandy.

 Rolf died in 925 or 935. To mark Rolf's death, gifts were made to monasteries but also prisoners were sacrificed thus emphasising the tenuous nature of Viking conversion to Christianity.

 With the capture of Rouen the rulers of Normandy were known as Ruda (Rouen) Jarrar (Count). Richard 1 was the first to style himself "count" and in time this changed to "duke" which was the title William 1 the Conquer used in Normandy. In England he was known as a "king".

 Unlike in England, where the Vikings remained a separate ruling class; the Vikings in Norway, after Rolf, began to loose their Scandinavian culture and language and became increasingly subject to French culture. While more and more Danes as opposed to Norwegians settled in Normandy, at the time of the conquest of England, the nobility who came over with William all claimed Norman descent.

 The line of Rognvald Earl of More ends with he marriage of Henry 1 with Matilda. Maltida was the daughter of Malcolm 111 of Scotland and Margaret. Margaret was the sister of Edgar Aethling and granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. Their daughter Matilda married Geoffrey Plantagenet Duke of Anjou and they founded the Plantagenet dynasty with the birth of their son Henry 11.

 The Wessex Line

 The Wessex kings were Saxons and over the years Wessex had became the leading kingdom in the land and indeed effectively was England.

 The first recorded name is Cerdic who died in 534. The most famous is probably Alfred the Great. King Harold who was killed at the Battle of Hastings was not of the royal blood line.

 The Wessex line end with Maltida referred to above.

 Plantagenet Line

 Matilda married Geoffrey Plantagenet Duke of Anjou and they founded the Plantagenet dynasty with the birth of their son Henry 11. This line continued directly down six generations of monarchs to Edward 111

 The last common link is that of Richard 3rd Duke of York 1411- 1460 m Cecily Neville d of Earl of Westmorland d 1495, who was the father of Edward 1V and George Duke of Clarence.

 Thus it can be seen with the various royal lines that the Yonge family, like most natives of England, is a mixture of English, German, Norse Celtic, French and Norman blood. A mixture they would also have from non royall lines

 Although the Yonge name does not appear until late in our story, names do not determine genetics. The genetic link is there whether or not the same name appears and whether or not it follows through the male or female lines.

 Yonge Family Link to Edward 111 and Edward IV

  Narrative trees are set out below showing descent from Edward 111 and Edward IV. Trees have not been shown for the descents of the monarchs themselves as there are plenty of books and websites that give this detail. The tree clearly shows a descent from royalty down to marriage by 1600, if not earlier, to and between non titled minor gentry, merchants and professional people- the middle classes.

 While it is certainly the case that the middle class was looking upward to the aristocracy, it was not just that they longed for the social privileges of the upper class; they themselves were often an excised remnant of the upper classes.. The pattern of English inheritance customs “primogeniture”made it far easier (in comparison to their counterparts in the majority of Europe) for the offspring of noble parents to descend into relative poverty.

 Primogenitureis the right, by law or custom, of the paternally acknowledged, the first born son was to inherit his parent's entire or main estate, in preference to daughters, elder illegitimate sons, younger sons and collateral relatives. This meant that the siblings of the son who inherited had to make their own way in the World. In Europe however the custom was that the property was shared out.

On the other hand the growing commercial power of England which began to be manifest itself in the 17th century gave opportunities for the middle classes which simply did not exist in most of Europe. Often these families when they had made their money married into the upper classes.

 Tree 1

Edward 111 1312-1377 m Phillipa d of Count of Hainault d 1369.

 Their fourth surviving son, sons wasEdmund Langley Duke of York 1341-1402 m Isabella d of Pedro 1 king of Castile. It was through him that the “House of York” claimed the English throne during the Wars of the Roses.

 Richard 3rd Earl of Cambridge 1375- 1415 (beheaded for treason by Henry V) m Anne Mortimer (a direct descendant of Edward 111) They had a son-

 Richard 3rd Duke of York 1411- 1460 m Cicely/Cecily Neville d of Earl of Westmorland d 1495. They had twelve children including a son-

 George 1st Duke of Clarence (drowned in butt of Malmsey Wine) d 1478 m Isabel Neville d of Richard Neville Earl of Salisbury d 1476 , Hisbrother became Edward IV. They had a daughter-

 Margaret Countess of Salisbury 1473 beheaded 1541 on orders of Henry V111. Mm Sir Richard Pole died 1504. They had five children who lived to adulthood including a son-

 Henry Pole Lord Montague 1492- 1538 m Jane Neville da George Nevill 2nd Lord Abergavenny. They had five children al of whom married including a daughter-

 Catherine m Francis Hastings 1514-1561 2nd Earl of Huntingdon died 1561. They had eleven children, nine of whom lived to adulthood, including-

 Henry Hastings 1535-1595 3rd Earl of Huntingdon m Katherine Dudley, a daughter of the 1st Duke of Northumberland. They had a son-

 George Hastings 1540-1604 4th Earl of Huntingdon m Dorothy Port. They had five children including a second son-

 Henry Hastings 1551-1650 m Dorothy Willoughby. Their second son was-

 Henry Hastings 1591-1668 m Susan Offley d 1661. They had a daughter-

 Anne Hastings 1624-83 m 1643 John Ayleway d 1677. They had a daughter-

 Susanna Ayleway d 1732 m John White d 1701. They had a daughter-

 Susanna White m 1709 John Lloyd 1680- 1744. They had a daughter-

 Susanna Lloyd 1712- 1762 m Thomas Crawley(Boevey) 1709- 1769. They had a daughter-

Catherina Crawley 1753-1842 m 1777 Rev Duke Yonge 1775-1823

 Tree 2

Richard 3rd Duke of York 1411- 1460, great grandson of Edward 111, m Cicely/Cecily Neville d of Earl of Westmorland d 1495. They had a son.

 Edward IV 1442-83 (brother of George 1st Duke of Clarence (drowned in butt of Malmsey Wine) by his mistress the “wanton wench” Elizabeth Wayte or Elizabeth Lacey or Elizabeth Shore, had an illegitimate a son

Plantagenet Arthur Viscount Lisle 1461-1514 m Elizabeth Grey 1475-1530. They had a daughter.

 Plantagenet Frances b 1519 m 1535 John Basset 1519-1541. They had a son

 Sir Arthur Basset c 1535-1589 m Eleanor Chichester 1547-1589. They had a daughter.

 Margaret Basset b 1567 m Richard Duke 1575-1641. They had a son.

 Robert Duke 1600-60 m Sarah Reynell. They had a son.

 Thomas Duke m Anne Walrond. They had a son.

 George Duke m Dorothy Marshall. They had a daughter.

 Elizabeth Duke m John Yonge (N18)


Duke Yonge (P3) m Catherina Crawley

From this point all Yonge's descended from this branch have a double link with Royalty via the Duke family and Edward IV and via the Crawley family and Edward III.

 Interestingly both the Chichester and Basset families were Devon families as was the relevant branch ff the Duke family and of course the Yonge's.





Latest comments

27.10 | 10:41

Hi Ian....Has taken me a while but finally found your website. Brilliant. Will be in touch. Julian Hastings

20.06 | 13:06


Thanks. Praise always appreciated! I presume you are a descendant of Peter Herbert. You can email me on for fuller reply


19.06 | 23:35

I am the Great-Great Grandson of Walter Francis Duke Young. This is such a great website and so interesting to read about the Yonge family history!!

27.05 | 17:13

Thank you for this account of Charlotte M Yonge. I wouldn't say she was a recluse, however, judging by her letters.