YOUNG, John (by 1519-89), of Bristol, Glos., London and Melbury Sampford, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1519, 1st (surv.) s. of Hugh Young of Bristol and Castle Combe, Wilts. by Alice. m. c.1563, Joan, da. of John Wadham of Merrifield, Som., wid. of Sir Giles Strangways II (d. 11 Apr. 1562) of Melbury Sampford, 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 7 Jan. 1534. Kntd. Aug. 1574.2

Offices Held

?Sewer, the chamber by 1546; collector of customs, Bristol Mar. 1559, sheriff, Dorset 1569-70; j.p.q. Dorset and Som. 1573/74-d., ?Wilts. 1583-d.; keeper, Castle Cary park, Som. and Melbury park, Dorset.3


It was probably the same John Young who sat in five Parliaments and for four boroughs in all between 1547 and 1571. A Bristolian who inherited his patrimony while still under age, he is first met with as a servant of Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, who as constable of Bristol castle (in survivorship with his father) from 1517 and steward of the city from 1544 exercised a powerful attraction there. It was to Hertford that Young doubtless owed the post in the royal household which he appears to have been holding by 1546 and the seat in Parliament for Old Sarum which he secured either in the following year or perhaps at a by-election later. In 1548 he travelled in Italy, whence he corresponded with his master, now Duke of Somerset: while there he may have met William Thomas, who was to become his fellow-Member for Old Sarum by the last session of the Parliament. In July 1549 he was sent by the Privy Council with letters to the west country at the time of the rebellion. Of his fortunes during the decline and downfall of his master nothing has come to light, but he emerged from it early in 1552 as the recipient of a crown annuity of £150. At what point Young had detached himself from Seymour is unknown, but he seems to have transferred his allegiance to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke. The transition was a natural one, for Pembroke was Seymour’s successor at Bristol as well as in Wiltshire: Young could also claim kinship with the earl’s first wife Anne Parr, Queen Catherine’s sister.4

Young was probably the man of that name whose arrest was ordered in February 1554, doubtless on suspicion of complicity in Wyatt’s rebellion. He must have cleared himself for he was soon released, but 18 months later he was still engaged in controversy with Charles, 8th Baron Stourton over the return of goods seized at the time of his arrest. These tribulations did not prevent his return for Plymouth to the fourth Parliament of the reign. His patron is unknown but Young was apparently a distant kinsman of George Ferrers, another courtier who had survived the fall of Somerset; William Baldwin, a friend of Ferrers and co-author of A myrroure for magistrates, later dedicated one of his works to Young, who may also have known Ferrers’s other friend and fellow-Member for Plymouth Thomas Sternhold. (It is unlikely that Young was the man of his name who was elected to this Parliament by Rye but was passed over by the lord warden in favour of John Holmes I (q.v.).) Young opposed one of the government’s bills in this Parliament and was named by John Daniell as having been present when the ‘opposition’ group met to arrange its tactics. The six other men named by Daniell were connected by various ties of blood, friendship or common experience and four of them were from Devon, including Sir Arthur Champernon whose family had influence in Plymouth. Young was the only one of the seven not involved in the Dudley conspiracy of the following year. If this was a sign of his renewed allegiance to Pembroke, who had chosen to remain loyal to the Marian government, he had to wait until the following reign for his reward.5

Young was returned to the Parliament of 1559 for Devizes, presumably on Pembroke’s nomination, and shortly afterwards he was appointed collector of customs at Bristol. Within a few years he married the widow of Sir Giles Strangways, who had likewise voted against the crown in the Parliament of 1555 and who had been named an executor by Sir William Courtenay II, one of the Members named by Daniell. If he was also the John Young who received £40 by the will of Sir James Stumpe, this bequest may also reflect a similar community of outlook and experience, for Stumpe too had opposed the crown in 1555. Although he was to sit twice more in Parliament, Young seems to have passed the remainder of his life largely in the west, building the large house on the site of the Carmelite friary in Bristol where he died on 4 Sept. 1589.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xv. 227-45; Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. xx), 86; CPR, 1558-60, p. 215.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xi; CPR, 1558-60, p. 49; St.Ch.5/Y1/9, 38.
  • 4. CP, xii(1), 60; Bristol AO, 04721/295; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 11; VCH Wilts. v. 115; APC, ii. 163, 306, 539; CPR, 1550-3, p. 386; HP ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509 (Biogs.), 661, 980.
  • 5. APC, iv. 401; v. 56-57, 151, 160; F. B. Williams, Index of Dedications, 206; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; SP11/8/35.
  • 6. Prob. 10/34; PCC 23 Chayre, 93 Leicester; C142/222/51.