YELVERTON, Sir Henry, 2nd Bt. (1633-70), of Easton Maudit, Northants.
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Family and Education
bap. 6 July 1633, o. surv. s. of Sir Christopher Yelverton, 1st Bt.† of Easton Maudit by Anne, da. of Sir William Twysden, 1st Bt., of Roydon Hall, East Peckham, Kent. educ. privately (Dr Thomas Morton); St. Paul’s sch.; Wadham, Oxf. 1651-2. m. c.1654, Susan Longueville, s.j. Baroness Grey, da. and h. of Charles, 12th Lord Grey of Ruthin, 4s. (1 posth.) 1da. suc. fa. 4 Dec. 1654.1
Commr. for assessment, Northants. Jan. 1660-3, 1664-9, militia Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Midland circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Northants. Aug. 1660-1; commr. for enclosures, Deeping fen. 1665.
Gent. of the privy chamber (extraordinary) June 1660-?d.2
Yelverton’s ancestors had been established in Norfolk by the 14th century, first sitting in Parliament in 1451. His great-grandfather bought Easton Maudit in 1578 and represented various Northamptonshire constituencies, becoming Speaker in 1597. But his father was an enclosing landlord and had to go as far afield as Bossiney to find a seat in the Long Parliament, where he served until Pride’s Purge. The family was puritan, but Yelverton was tutored by the deprived bishop of Durham, and became not only a devout Anglican but a controversialist on behalf of episcopacy. Dorothy Osborne found him ‘a very pretty little gentleman’, and claimed the credit for his excellent match. He was arrested as a royalist suspect in 1659, but on his release declared to Morton’s biographer that he was still ready to serve the King by raising 500 horse and securing Northampton. Lord Mordaunt thought him worth cultivating because of his influence with the clergy. With Thomas Crew he presented to George Monck an address of thanks from Northamptonshire for the recall of the secluded Members. Recommended by the Earl of Manchester as a ‘worthy person’, he stood as a Royalist for the county at the general election, with the support of the 2nd Earl of Manchester, and was returned after a contest. Yelverton was among the more prominent Members in the opening weeks of the Convention. He was one of four Members entrusted with counting votes for the delegation to be sent to Breda and among those ordered to prepare the bill for the abolition of the court of wards. He served on the committees for the land purchases and assessment bills and was appointed to the joint committee to organize the reception of the King. In the debates on the indemnity bill, he twice acted as teller, against the disablement of 20 offenders on 8 June and against excepting Major-General William Boteler a week later. He was appointed to the committee to examine unauthorized Anglican publications at the end of the month, but thereafter his activity declined. Altogether he was named to 13 committees in the Convention, and acted as teller in three divisions, but he is not known to have spoken.3
Yelverton does not appear to have stood for reelection in 1661. Perhaps his father’s record was against him, but this is hardly sufficient to account for his failure to retain his place in the lieutenancy. At a by-election for Northampton in 1663 he was defeated by Sir John Bernard, who enjoyed the support of the dissenters, but was seated on petition after complaints of a ‘miscarriage’ by the mayor. Backed by Richard Rainsford I he obtained a letter from the King on 2 June 1664, forbidding the ejection of ‘the loyal party’ from the corporation. Meanwhile Yelverton had acted as teller against a Lords amendment to the conventicles bill, but he was again no more than moderately active. He was appointed to 21 committees in the Cavalier Parliament, of which the most important was to prevent the import of foreign cattle on 20 Oct. 1665. He was teller in one other unimportant division, but does not appear to have spoken in the House, although Samuel Pepys, meeting him for the first time since their school-days, found him ‘a wise man by his manner of discourse’. By 1669 he was receiving official intelligence from Joseph Williamson. He was reckoned a supporter of Ormonde and one of the Members to be engaged for the Court by the Duke of York and his friends. He died suddenly on 3 Oct. 1670. His son inherited the Grey of Ruthin peerage, but no later member of the family entered the Lower House.4