Samuel Yonge/Young A 17th Century Religious Zealot

Samuel Yonge/Young - A Stuart Religious Zealot

Samuel Young/Yonge



Samuel Yonge was the third son of John Yonge and Joanna Blackaller. He was born in 1648, new calendar, and must have been conceived almost immediately after his elder brother Dr James Yonge was born




Samuel went to Lincoln College, Oxford in 1667. The College was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, to combat the Lollard 'heresy' of John Wyclif. He intended it to be 'a little college of true students of theology who would defend the mysteries of Scripture against those ignorant laymen who profaned with swinish snouts its most holy pearls'.

In the 18th century Lincoln became the cradle of Methodism when John Wesley, at that time a fellow there, held religious meetings with his brother Charles.

The college is home to a chapel in late perpendicular architecture. The chapel was built between 1629 and 1631.

Dr James in his journal describes him as a scholar. With the Restoration, Oxford, which had never been strongly puritan even in Cromwell’s time, became a centre of high Toryism and passive obedience to the Restoration Monarchy. Clearly at that time Samuel had been wiling to subscribe to the Church of England and observe at least its outward forms. As to his father John, who is suspected of Having Puritan leanings, it is probable that like so many individuals, he rapidly adjusted to the new regime but possibly only on the surface.


The 19th century biographical entry in Palmer’s Non Conformist Memorial reads “ Yonge, Samuel. s. John of Plymouth, Devon, pleb. LINCOLN COLL., matric. 15 March 1666-7, aged 18: said to have been MA, and died 1707.”


That word 'pleb.' would seem to support the view of the humble origin of the Yonge's in the mid 1600s.


Dr James describes in his Journal how in 1667 "We came into the City [Exeter] about 7 o'clock where I met my father, my brother John and brother Samuel. The first and last went next morning for Oxford, where my father placed my brother a scholar in Lincoln College."


Clearly both father and son must have “conformed” in order for Samuel to get a place in Oxford or perhaps in Samuel's case appeared to conform to be admitted for he wrote in “An Apology for Congregational Divines”


When I was a member of the University I frequented meetings and there only received the Lords supper, I finding no Presbyterian congregation there I desired good old doctor Rogers to let me sit down occasionally with them and tie which he did. This man was a very good holy man although when a young man “profane” for which he was called “mad kit of Lincoln.



However later on Dr James' Journal seems to suggest that Samuel's decision to conform was not cut and dried. In September 1669 (two and a half years after Samuel had gone up to Lincoln College, Oxford) he writes, "He [brother John] being gone, my brother Samuel at Oxford, and my father not well pleased with his resolutions not to conform, I thought to have enjoyed his kindness, especially being now on a thriving way, but at his departure my brother buzzed my father in ear, as if my mother had a design to make me elder and greater than he. This, with some other ill things his discontent suggested, made me ill with my father, so I resolved to sea again,……..."


One could read this as suggesting that James was angry with his father while Samuel (potentially, though not actually, James' ally against their father) was angry at conformity. This probably places the father, John at the centre of family discord rather than committed to any one cause.




Dr James writes in his Journal “Near at the time of my brothers marriage [ Dec 1678] that Samuel Samuel married in Bristol Dorothy the daughter of Henry Stubbs a non Conformist minister, who brought with her £500.” Dr James describes her as discreet pious woman. Dr James indicates Henry Stubs was alive at the time of the marriage but Henry Stubbs died prior to the 5th September 1678, being the date of his probate and while he refers to Dorothy several times in his will, she is clearly not married at the date of the Will, 30th May 1678. and there is no reference to a forthcoming marriage. The Will refers to Dorothy being left £200 being in addition to what she had already had. Perhaps Dr. James was not too familiar with his brothers affairs!


His father in law was Henry Stubbs was a noted Non Conformist minister. and ejected minister, was matriculated from Magdalen Hall, Oxford, on 16 April 1624, aged eighteen, graduated BA on 27 January 1628, and proceeded MA in June or July 1630. Within eighteen months he became rector of Partney, Lincolnshire; about this time he married Mary Purefoy, By July 1647 he was vicar of St Philip and St Jacob, Bristol, and in 1648 he became vicar of Chew Magna in that county. By September 1652 he was one of the ministers of St Cuthbert, Wells. At the Restoration, Stubbes was still at St Cuthbert, Wells, but he left when the sequestered minister was restored and served as assistant Dursely Gloucestershire, until 1662, when he was again ejected. Over the next decade he appeared throughout London, establishing his reputation as a learned and energetic preacher, but he retained links with the west country: In 1672 John Prichett, bishop of Gloucester awarded Stubbs the vicarage of Horsley, nar Dursley. Here he 'preached for some years … in peace'. While on a preaching visit to London in of 1678 Stubbs died on 7 July. Two funeral sermons were delivered, one on a Sunday by Thomas Watson, the other on a weekday by Richard Baxter. He was survived by his second wife, Dorothy, three sons (Robert, Samuel, and John), and a daughter Dorothy.


There is no apparent record of the marriage in any of the Bristol parishes or outlying parishes or for Horsley Gloucs where Henry had been minister. It may be that they were not married in an Anglican Church and if so the marriage would not have been officially recognised. The question of marriages, baptisms and burials was a complex one for non conformists. Generally Presbyterian continued to accept the rites of the Church of England unless the incumbent was high church and excluded them, so before 1689 Presbyterian marriages were rare.


What Samuel's wife made of her argumentative and prickly husband can only be imagined.


His brother in law Henry Stubbs 1606-76 died before the marriage was a noted author and also a physician and is referred to briefly in Dr James Journal but he makes no reference to the family link.


He appeared to spend some time in Bristol. In one of his works he refers to having a small house there.





The Act of Uniformity, which came into effect in 1662, accomplished the purpose of its framers in expelling Puritanism from the Church established by law in England and Wales. Puritanism or what was by then known as non conformity, was obnoxious to King Charles II and his court, and a large majority of the men high in office in both Church and State not so much on theological grounds but on political and social grounds. There was a determination of those in power to avoid the reliogous e had let to the civil war..


With the ejectment of the two thousand ministers, Calvinism was banished from the Church of England and Arminianism took its place. The ejected were Calvinists almost to a man and mainly Presbyterians; some, however, were Independents, and a few Baptists.


Then the State Church, presented the spectacle which went far to justify the sarcasm of an eminent writer, that it possessed "A Popish Liturgy, a Calvinistic Creed, and an Arminian clergy."


Arminiasim was, a theological movement (named after its founder James Arminius) , a liberal reaction to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. The movement began early in the 17th century and asserted that God's sovereignty and man's free will are compatible.


The strictness and fervour of the Puritans however did not last long. Many Presbyterians were the first to begin to adopt a more pragmatic approach and there is considerable evidence that many once ardent Presbyterians soon became equally ardent Anglicans but not Samuel. He was a strict one might sat fanatical intolerant Presbyterian, as much against other non conformists as he was the Tory Anglican Church.


Presbyterianism derive itsr name from the Presbyterian form of Church government whereby is governed by representative assemblies of powerful elders. It traces its roots to the Calvinist Church of Scotland. Presbyterian theology typically emphasises the sovereignty of God, the literal authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of gracethrough faith in Christ.





He always appeared to be a non conformist or at the very least low church whilst he was still formally part of the established Church of England. In one of his works he wrote:


"I remember about 15 years since an itinerant priest came into a donative [a benefice] which I then had and opposed me, some charged this poor predicant [preacher]with harbouring a crucifix in his breast though he pretended zeal for the church of England. When motion was made of searching him, he sat sat down in consternation and quite he was on a souden and which some say he was either a papist and had a crucifix in his breast or he was so poor he had no shirt on and that he so feared to be searcht. Were you the man. You write only W.C. and he I assure you was a weather cock or a wicked cheat."


At some point (The Church guide suggests 1683 but 1680 would seem more likely), he was curate at the parish church of Brislington (then known variously as Bursletown and Busselton) near Bristol. At that time the main village was at the foot of the hill with two other groups of houses in west Town and "the Rock." A Lord De Warr lived in a fortified manor house near the road to some local holy wells.


The actual record is contained in a work entitled


The Quakers cleared from being Apostates or the Hammerer defeated and proved an Imposter being an answer to a scurilious pamphlet fasley entitled William Penn and the Quakers either Apostates or Imposters subscribed Trepidantum Malleus” written by “B.C.” was first published in 1696 and forms part of a larger work entitled “Quaker tracts 1693-1708” which was published in 1708. British Library reference 4152 ff.1.(3)


It reads in part, where referring to Samuel


The design of this preface is chiefly to let the reader know what sort of adversary, I have to deal with, a person that is said by them that know him to have been mad through and through pride and conceitedness for which he hath been under doctors hands. So deeply had love melancholy seized him before his marriage that as he said himself “twas impossible for him to look upon a woman that he must of necessity lust to be “ but how it is with him since I will not determine. He was one while for exercising the office of a curate in the parish of Bursletown [now Brislington] near Bristol but smelling so strongly of Presbyterary he could not hold it there long; So that his residence has been mostly among the Presbyterians since and how he hath improved his gift of preaching among them they can tell better than I. But his demands for preaching have been so high (as I am informed) as to make some of them uneasy under him. The account I have had of his conversations in general is such that I dare say no moderate Presbytrerian (as some such I know there are) desires to hear more of it. That he has a little learning, he need not be told of it for no ape man can be proud of a top knot more than he is of it. A little rambling wit he also has but that with a spirit of pride, has undone him, since it has beat out all charity, and filled up the vacancy with prejudice and envy, even to such a degree as is not common. An instant of this thou hast in his book page 71.” [Here he had accused the Quakers of being priests and Jesuits]


……….. I have not referred to every paragraph of his book since a considerable part of it is tautologious as well as comical, not fit for a sober man to take notice of.


As a madmen are known by the places they are committed to for cure more than by their discourse at some times, since the maddest of men may have lucid intervals and speak interestingly. So had the author of the Book “William Penn and the Quakers either imposters or Apostates” had but put his name to it, there had been little occasion for an answer, especially in those places where the author is known but since he conceals his name and instead thereof subscribes Trepidantium Malleus I think myself obliged to vindicate the Quakers.


……. As it is next to an impossibility to reduce a madman’s works to method so it can not reasonably be expected that I should exactly trade all his wild rages.


………Quakers practice in the late suffering times abundantly proved their unanimity and whoever is ignorant of it must have lived further off than Moorfields or Box [lunatic asylums. In some of his works Samuel indignantly denies that he was ever put in such an establishment], either, unless infants death, dumb or idiots and for Bristol the place he so often with indignation mentions, it is notorious that when the men and women who constituted the meetings were taken up and committed to poison, the very children by their constant attendance at usual times and places kept up the meetings, they too were sent away with the rest until the very floors of the prison tables and hammocks were so full it was scarce possible to crowd any more in. At which time there was scarce a Presbyterian to be found that had religion enough to think it was worth suffering for; nay for so far were they from it that they were frightened out of the very profession into conformity in that which they esteemed little. In that converted state they continued until King James, his toleration awakened them for which favour by their addresses to him, they mortgaged their lives and fortunes”


…….nor in all his preaching’s that I ever heard, which I have often done in Bristol and London and elsewhere


…… whose [Quakers] principles and avowed practices has been to shift from corner to corner in woods and remote and obscure places or anywhere to save their bacon.”





Samuel Young St Mary the Virgin Stanton Drew linked to chapel of St Thomas the Martyr of Pensken? In 1448 Thomas Young lIb was rector. 1689 Samuel Prig A.B. then served by curates and others (no names known) until 1755, so clearly Samuel could have been there for a period, although the year post 1689 looks too late for Samuel to be an Anglican Minister.


Freedom After Ejection has the following “Samuel Young settled pastor in existing religion at Stanton Crew on Somerset ministers of which we have a competent supply.”




These pages have been selected because they refer to Samuel Young and give a good general idea of the harassment suffered by non conformists in the last quarter of the 18th century.


In 1680, another persecution commenced, " the ninth." About the middle of the year, Broadmead was visited by informers, George Helliar, (the notorious Helliar's brother-in-law) and the bishop's apparitor, while Mr. Fownes was preaching. As to George Helliar, he had been lately imprisoned for speaking contemptuously of the mayor, and abusing the watch. He was, therefore, under the necessity of signalizing himself in the good cause, were it only to atone for his former misdemeanour, and regain a character. Accordingly, the very day of his liberation, he went to Mr Weeks's meeting, while Mr. Young (formerly a clergyman at Brislington) was preaching, and commanded him to comedown. But the informer being intoxicated, and Mr. Young sober and prudent, he managed to make his escape from Broadmead.


page 251


On ye 22nd. being Ld's day. our Persecutors said they would have 30 of each side of ye water. and would imprison every man of us. and make us go thro. Fire and Water. This Rage was occasioned by ye Jurys Verdict about Mr. Ford as above. But we went out at 4 in ye morning. and were in Peace.And so were ye other Congregations that Day. Blessed be God.


On Monday. ye 23rd Apr. 1683. we kept a Day of Fasting and Prayer. partly on Acct of Mr. Young. who had lately turned from being Parson of Bussleton to preach among ye Dissenters principally Mr.Weekes. people. And last week he went to Gloucester to see Mr. Fownes in Prison there and it being Sessions Time Ralph Olive went there to prosecute Br. Dickason and spyd Mr. Young riding into ye City; so he dogd him. And having seen where he put up his horse. and getting a Warrant. comes after him into ye Prison. and took him before a Justice. and swore that he heard him within,2 years past preach at a Conventicle in ye fields therefore a Justice committed him for 6 months by ye Five Mile Act.


The committal was to Gloucester gaol. By the mid 17th century all the buildings around the curtain wall had apparently gone, leaving only the keep, used as the gaol, and the main gatehouse standing. Most of the wall itself was removed in the 1630 and 1640, the stone being sold by the deputy constable for road works or burnt in a limekiln at the site. New low walls were built to enclose the gaol area, and circa 1650 the county authorities, who had temporarily asserted their rights against the constable, built a brick Bridewell on the north side of the keep. Thomas Baskerville, who visited the castle in 1683, said that the gaol was esteemed... hither..the best in England, so that if I were forced to go to prison and make my choice I would come '; the prisoners' ample scope for fresh air and exercise was mentioned in 1714. The precincts included a flower garden kept by the gaoler's wife and a bowling green, used by inhabitants of the cit as by the gaoler and prisoners.


On ye 29th. We met near Roe Yate. but ye Informers came upon us. and took some Names. but no Persons. We afterwards met in another place in Peace. And ye Hue and Cry being still out against Watkins and Hore. Smith ye Constable took them both at an Ale-house. after they returnd from us and kept them all night in Custody and ye next day brought them before Justice Newton. But before they came Oliver party had been with ye Justice and told him they had been before a Justice in ye city and he had took Bail for them; so Newton let them go. And Wat ye Marshal accused sd Smith of having ye Minister that was almost drownd in Custody. and feting him go. which was false; but ye justice bound Smith to his good Behavioir and Mr. James Holloway. Merchant being there as a Spectatour. Oliver offerd to swear he had seen him at a Meeting: so ye Justice bound him fover to Gloucr Sessions. Whereupon ye Informers vaunted what they would do. and ye next Day went and knock! boldly at Mr Terrills Gate who was in ye House about 114 of an hour before and was then in ye Back side. His bro in law Listun went to ye Door and seeing Wat, spoke roughly. and said he was there that Day. but lived out of town; which was a gracious Providence. Mr. Terrill knew nothing of it and if ye maid. being a Stranger had went to ye Door. he had been taken then. Then they went and searcht Mr. Young.s and Mr. Jacobs Houses pretending a meeting there but found not ye Eyening. and in other places hoping to catch him or Mr Gifford & etc


Page 264


On ye 27th, our Meeting of about 40 at Br. Pumell's was discovered by a Smith's Wife. Who seeing ye people go, leaves her husband to watch while she fetcht a Constable, but meeting with one that took little notice of it there came Intelligence before any came. So we escaped. Our Pastour, and Mr. Young ye Minister had lain in Gaol in Gloucester near a year and a half. Mr. Fownes was put in upon ye Corporation Act at Easter Sessions. Br. Fownes himself pleaded to an Enditement for a Riot in K's Wood, and so convinced ye Jury that they brought him in not guilty. But tho' they then had nothing against him, Justice Player and Chancellor Parsons would not let him go, unless he would give Bond for his good Behaviour, that is, he must meet no more, - which our Pastour would not do. Then ye Next Sessions they would not let him go unless he would give Bond to appear at Bristol Sessions, and to be of good Behaviour; which was still worse. And, therefore, now at ye Assizes, by Counsel, Mr Fownes moved his Case to Judge Levins, who, they say, would have cleared him; but ye Chancellor Parsons was heard to whisper him that Mr. Fownes and Young were dangerous persons, and it was not safe to ye Government to let them go. Then ye Judge ordered they should give good Bail, £ 100 each, and appear next Assizes. After ye Court arose they provided their Bail, but Hyett said ye order was, they should be bound also to appear at Bristol; and though Dike ye Counsellor said it was not so, yet ye Judge hurrying out of Town, they had not time to apply to him, and so were continued to Prison.


On ye I8th Fran. Whitehead was brought to ye Sessions here, and having got a Lawyer to search ye Records at Gloucr, pleaded before ye Mayor there was no Inditement lodg'd against him; but because Lug said there was, he was sent to Newgate again, where he had lain 6 Months, because he would not be bound to Sessions at Gloucester. Then Br. Cornish was menaced about his speaking against ye Common Prayer, and charged to go to Church that Hellier might see him there, and then he should be discharged.


On this Day also, they passed a Sentence of Banishment on Dr. lcabod Chauncy , and made him swear that he would depart this City and Nation within 3 Months from this Port and no other, and never return without ye K's leave. Ye Dr. was very cheerful under all, tho' he had been above 4 Months in Newgate already.


This day also Br. Dickason was severely handled about ye meeting; of 4 persons at his house, and ye Town-Clark threatned to serve him as he had done Dr. Chauncy; but afterwards Br. Dickason gave ye Town-Clark two Guineas, and so he got off this Sessions. And Br. Town went by advice beforehand to ye Town-Clark, and besought his Pity of a poor man and several Children; and Mr. Yates also speaking to ye Town-Clerk for him, he paid his Fees only, and was released.




It seems as if Samuel was at South Molton by 1681 when he was thirty four. The reference to his predecessor Ralph Sprake speaks of him being settled at South Molton some time after 1666 “where the church had been gathered” This would suggest that at least in the early days there was no permanent place of worship for the Presbyterian's



South Molton Parish Church


Ministers Ejected in Devonshire


Mr. Samuel Young. Dr. C makes no other mention of him than in a lift of perfons who wrote againft MR Baxter. He was an ejected minifter, and had suffered imprisonment on account of his Nonconformity. He was a man of fome wit, and a good fhare of claficall learning; but had a wildnefs and irregularity in his temper little fhortt of madnefs and was vehement and impetuous in every thing he faid or did. He fucceeded Mr. Sprake at South Molton, where he had a fierce bigot to contend with, who almost diffracted him -the parfon of the parifh, who was a true high churchman. Mr Young heard him preach a 3Oth of January- fermon in the ufual cant of the day; which so grievoufly chafed him, that when the fervice was ended he got upon a tomb stone, and preached ex promptu in anfwer to it, on Matth. iii. 10. .'The axe is laid to the root etc". This occafioned a moft violent quarrel a paper war enfued. Young worfted his antagonift by a letter written in Greek, for the parfon could not anfwer it, nor could be find any body to do it for him. Feeling Young's, fuperiority, he prudently quitted the field. But however the victory might gratify Young's vanity, the calm which enfued by no means fuited his temper. His element was contention, and he could not live out of a tempeft. He therefore moved to London to enjoy it in its perfection, at the time when, the republication of Dr. Crifp's works occafioned that warm debate between Dr. Williams and others. He then wrote as violently againft the Antinomians as he had done before againft the Baxterians. He afterwards engaged in feveral other controverfies, and (as the writer of this account expreffes it) died before he was quite mad.


Biography at back of Palmer compiled by G. Fox Park Lane Chapel 1897, states.’Samuel Young MA 1647-1707 Son of John Young of Plymouth pleb matric at Lincoln College Oxford 15/3/ 1666-7 aged 18. Palmer " places him as an ejected minister in Plymouth but in 1662 he was not above 18 years of age. Succeeded Ralph Spake MA 1/1/1627-8 -'3/1/1681-2 as non conformist minister at South Molton Devon. Removed to London to take part in the Crispianism controversy. Wrote against Baxter in 169 I. Also wrote much against the Quakers 1696. 1702. Used pseudonyms T M and Ca'va Philanax FP " a good classicist of strange temper who died before he was quite mad"




Quaker minutes for Bristol also record Samuel’s activities


Meting 31st 6th Month [August] 1696


Samuell Hancock and Eliz: Bourne againe appeared in the pursuance of their intention of mariage, and Samuell brought in a certificate from the Monthly Meting of freinds in Cornwall as to his clearnes from all others as on that account, 14 and so nothing appearing meet to obstruct they have [consent for publication.


Petter Hawksworth againe appeared desiring a certificate of his clearnes here as to mariage in order to his intention of marriage with Alice Paulson of Milksam in the County of Wilts. And since on enquiry made nothing appears to obstruct he hath a certificate granted him.


This meetting being acquainted that one Samll. Young a presbitorian preist has printed A Scurelous Book against friends and since he had his residence some time in this citty, & that he has very much abused severall friends of this city, and since B C [Benjamin Coole] has undertook to answer the said Book to clear Truth & friends. It is agreed that of the said answer when printed, this meeting will take off 150 or 200 of them. 500 in all are to be printed.




"He [Brett] was a very great supporter of the non conformist ministers who were in his day greatly distrest by the Government, whole families at a time have been harboured and maintained by him and he has given them money at their going away. His xeal for the cause of Puritanism occasiond him breeding his son George a minister to whom I now return thinking I could not say any less of his father than I have. When he learnt grammar in Plymouth he was esteemed a boy of good parts. He as removed from that school to a private one, near Bristol kept by one Young a dissenting minister and brother to the well known Dr James Young in Plymouth. he had nothing to recommend him that I could ever hear of but his being a dissenter for he was a man of no learning. much bigotyry, some cruelty and a littel cracked. However his party got him some scholars, some he wipt into learning and others out of their senses. With him Mr Brett finished his school learning and was sent to the then famous academy at Taunton Where he entered on logic the lectures read to him on that seemed so very strange to him that as I have hear him say that he could form no manner of notion about it for a long time which seemed the stranger because he had an head afterwards for much deeper and more abstracted subjects"



In A Rod for Trepidantium [Samuel Young] by Philosensus [George Keith] the writer suggest Samuel had a love of beating persons on the bottom and also suggests unatural sexual practices. How true this is in an age where there were no libel laws and passions ran high, is impossible to tell. There is a separate transcript of this.




These included - Vindicia: Anti-Baxteriana -Some political Trafts; one againft his brother the Phyfician at Plymouth, who was a Jacobite -something againfft Rob Fergufon, the noted apoftate Diffenter, Roger L'Eftrange and dean Hickson -alfo a Piece in favour of Keith the Quaker etc.


Many books he wrote were in opposition to total immersion as a form of baptism. It is difficult to see quite why he was so obsessed by total immersion. As such The present day Catholic Encyclopaedia states that immersion, infusion and aspersion are all equally acceptable and that until the 16th century that total immersion was the more common. Probably the problem was not really immersion itself but that total immersion went with the belief in adult baptism alone and it was adult baptism that he objected to.


He wrote many of his works under the title Trepandintum Maleus'. which means "The hammer of the Quakers." One of his critics indicated that he had to pay for all his books to be published.





They have stated that Samuel does not appear in their lists of incumbents in Devon and Cornwall but hat his name does appear in “Exeter Assembly: The Minutes of the United Brethren of Devon and Cornwall 1691-1717. The biographical notes state:


'b. 1648 Plymouth. At South Molton c1692, in London at time of Crispian controversy 1692. Attended Plymouth assembly Sept 1695. died 1707 Sept. 1695. d. 1707'.






Plymouth 1695 Sept. 3,4. At the meeting of the United Brethren of Devon. r Sherwll" Moderator; Mr Mead Scribe. Mr Galpine. Horsham, Collings, Sandercock. Young, Harding.


Moneys brought in to the Fund.



By Mr Sherwill 10 186

Mr Harding 1I 5 0

Mr Sandercock 3 3 6

Mr Mead 3 I 0

Mr Galpine 2 124

Mr Young 2 10 0 [£2 50 pence]


This was a meeting of the Exeter assembly; it was just that one of their meetings was held in Plymouth. The Exeter assembly was part of the 'happy union" of Presbyterians and Congregationalists, which had been established in 1691. This followed a failure of the revolution of 1698 to provide for toleration within the established church. The union soon broke down on London and other areas but lasted longer in the West Country.




If he is to be believed and it sounds credible, his activities were not without personal risk. He wrote in An Apology for Congregational Divines, published in 1698


New occurrences (and I assure you unexpected ones) have since befallen me which makes my apology for me. The story is thus. A Quaker of note (especially for his ignorance) and Mr Penn intimate, sets upon me in the coffee house “that I was a lier and a slanderer to say that Mr Penn said Christ was born in Nazareth, that he would pay me five shillings if I could prove it the next day before a many and competent witnesses, the book was produced, the thing proved and the money paid. Soon afterwords he published everywhere, and at last to me, that a church friend of theirs “vowed that he would break my head” About ten days after this when I came from Mr Keith at nine oclock of the evening (then dark) as soon as I came to the Moore Fields, a man set upon me, struck me to the ground, looked upon me a long time as one considering what to do. I expected in that misery no other but that he would draw his sword and run me through, but he took a great stone and flung it at my head, down ran the blood on all my clothes. In that case I was found and send home. I desired Mr Penn to examine the matter before friends of his and mine. He refused.




It seems that Samuel was possibly rather unhinged rather than just extreme for various works of the period, which might be expected to refer to him, are silent.


In 1720 Thomas Lewis a note Anglican "firebrand" wrote a book entitled English Presbyterians Eloquence or Dissenters Sayings Ancient and Modern" The preface read "That Presbyterians have constantly attempted to subvert the fundamental articles of the Christian faith, and to abolish the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, established by law, to ruin the character of the universities, the convocation and Episcopal clergy, to asperse to the memory of his present Majesties royal progenitors and have bee professed enemies to truth, common sense and good manners from their first settlement in this Kingdom" The work contains many short quotes from Presbyterian ministers and writers but not a single reference to Samuel.


The work by John Howe published in 1689 "The case of the Protestant dissenters represented and Argued" is also silent. As is “The Dissenter sayings” Published in their Own words” by Sir Roger L’Estrange


Benjamin Coole wrote .'Quakers Cleared in 1696 said of Samuel Young., “too great an imposter to be honoured with a confutation." That perhaps best sums him up, he was so way out that he was not really a menace




When Samuel died, Dr James in his journal simply says “The last day of April [1707] my brother Samuel Yonge died. He was 60 years old and had been distracted fourteen years.”


The parish guide to St Luke the evangelist at Brislington says "he defected to the dissenters and died in Gloucester jail" We know he was in Gloucester Jail in 1683 but he did not die until 1707 so either this reference is party wrong or he was imprisoned more than once.



He was buried at St Andrews Plymouth. Dr James paid for the bill for his coffin.


Though unlike Nathaniel, Samuel was a prominent dissenter, Dr James showed none of the venom for Samuel as he did for his brother Nathaniel. It is possible that a significant part of the problem that Dr James had with Nathaniel, was not religion but the favouritism shown to Nathaniel by their father and the obstruction of Nathaniel in the affairs of Plymouth Corporation.


It is interesting that his eldest brother James started life as a non conformist and later became a high church Anglican and a Tory, that Nathaniel seemed a reluctant conformist and a Whig. This probably reflected their upbringing by their father whose formative years were in the pre civil war and civil war period


He was buried local to Dr James, presumably in St Andrew, Plymouth but it seems he had a house in London and may well have died there. In most cases Presbyterians were buried in the Anglican churchyards though perhaps not having a formal Anglican burial service. Presbyterian burial grounds were rare until the early 18th century.


His widow outlived him – one wonders what she made of his life! In one of his works he wrote as to what you should look for in a wife.


If you were to court a woman who must be your serious self, then you should look to her piety, god nature, skill in domestic affairs and a good portion too. Would you look only to her fine dress and trinkets to her top knot.


Though in one of his works he comments scathingly on those who are not parents speaking as to the bringing up and teaching of children, it does not seem that he had any children of his own, though he had his own decided views.


R.I. Yonge 2021


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.