YEO, Leonard (by 1512-86), of Cheapside, London; Totnes, Devon; later of Exeter, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1512, 2nd s. of Nicholas Yeo of Heanton Satchville, Devon by Joan, da. of Richard Lybbe of Tavistock, Devon. m. (1) ?27 Oct. 1534, Arminell (will dated 8 July 1545), da. of Christopher Beresford of London, wid. of John Broke (d.1533) of London, at least 1s. 2da.; (2) Denise (will dated ‘1561’), da. of William Dotyn of Harberton, Devon.1

Offices Held

Member, Mercers Co. London by 1533; mayor, Totnes 1558-9, 1570-1.


Born in Tavistock, Yeo was apprenticed to a London mercer, whose widow he married and whose business he took over. For some unascertained reason—possibly his stepson wished to continue the London firm—Yeo moved to Totnes, where he served as MP and mayor. In the last year or two of his life when he was, in his own words, ‘not only a man of extreme age, but also very weak and feeble of body and remembrance’ he had to defend a court of requests case brought by two children of his first wife, who alleged that he was detaining their property to the value of £800. Yeo argued that they ‘of long time have held themselves well content therewith until now of late’. By this time he had retired to Exeter, where he had evidently had some property since at least 1542 when one of his daughters was baptized there. In his will, made April 1586, he described himself as of Exeter, and instructed the sole executor, his son George, ‘upon my blessing to use my tenants well.’ He left 40s. to the poor of Tavistock. Yeo died 30 May 1586, worth over £1,000 and his will was proved that October.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: N. M. Fuidge / A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 217; PCC 21 Holgate, 51 Windsor; NRA 5984 (citing Devon RO, S12 M/FY 35, 37-40, 44, 67); Req. 2/124/59. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 834-5 compounds the errors in Vis. Devon (Harl. Soc. vi), 324.
  • 2. Trans. Dev. Assoc. xxxii. 438; Western Antiq. ix. 152; London Rep. 13(2), f. 354a; CPR, 1560-3, p. 389; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 638; Req. 2/124/59; Wards 7/21/183; PCC 51 Windsor.