YORKE, Sir William (c.1646-1702), of Burton Pedwardine, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



23 May 1679
Oct. 1679
Feb. 1701
Dec. 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1646, o.s. of William Yorke of Leasingham by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Simon Walwyn of Burton Pedwardine. educ. Grantham g.s. (Mr Stokes); St. John’s, Camb. adm. 22 May 1663, aged 16; L. Inn 1665, called 1674. m. Penelope, da. of Richard Samwell of Gayton, Northants., 6s. (3 d.v.p.) 2da. Kntd. 7 Nov. 1674; suc. fa. 1682.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Lincs. 1673-9, 1689-1701; j.p. Lincs. Northants. Rutland and Warws. 1675-81, Lincs. (Holland and Kesteven) Feb. 1688-d., Leics. 1694-d.; commr. for inquiry into recusancy fines, Lincs. Notts. and Derbys. Mar. 1688.2


The Yorke family first acquired property in Lincolnshire in the early years of Elizabeth. Yorke’s father was probably a Presbyterian, but does not seem to have taken any active part in the Civil War. He was appointed to the Lincolnshire militia commission of 1659. Yorke himself was knighted in 1674, but clearly opposed the Danby administration. Sir Philip Monckton wrote to him in 1676 of his plans for organizing a petition for the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament, and fresh elections.3

When (Sir) William Ellys was raised to the bench during the first Exclusion Parliament, Yorke was returned for Boston at a by-election, too late to take his seat. He was re-elected on the country interest in August, and became a moderately active Member of the second Exclusion Parliament, in which he was appointed to ten committees. He was among those ordered to examine the charges against Sir Robert Peyton, and was added to the committee of inquiry into abhorring on 19 Nov. 1680. He also helped to consider the measures for prohibiting the import of Scottish cattle, regulating parliamentary elections and providing relief against arbitrary fines. There is no evidence that he attended the Oxford Parliament, but he was removed from the commissions of the peace in the following July. After the Rye House Plot in 1683, his house was searched for arms on the orders of the Earl of Lindsey (Robert Bertie I), who described him as disaffected and one of the leading Lincolnshire Presbyterians. Only a blunderbuss was found and no further action seems to have been taken. He may have been a Whig collaborator in 1688, when he was recommended as a j.p. for Holland and Kesteven. He regained his seat in 1689, and became moderately active in the Convention, with sixteen committees, including that to consider the toleration bill. After the recess he was named to the committee of inquiry into the expenses of the war, and helped to consider the tithe recovery bill, no doubt with the object of wrecking it. He was among those appointed on 4 Nov. 1689 to bring in a militia bill. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and was appointed to the committee for the general oath of allegiance. On the day of the prorogation he acted as teller against debating the Lords amendments to the tithe bill. He remained a court Whig under William, and probably died before the elections to Anne’s first Parliament. He was the only member of the family to sit.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1125; E. Trollope, Sleaford, 352.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1806.
  • 3. Trollope, 202; CSP Dom. 1676-7, pp. 145, 194.
  • 4. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 180; Trollope, 267.