YORKE, Joseph (1807-1889), of Forthampton Court, Tewkesbury, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1831 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 11 Jan. 1807, 1st s. of Joseph Yorke of Forthampton and Catherine, da. of James Cocks, banker, of London. educ. Eton 1823; St. John’s, Camb. 1825. m. 31 Dec. 1834, Frances Antonia, da. of Reginald Pole Carew† of Antony, Cornw., 1s. suc. fa. 1830. d. 4 Feb. 1889.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Glos 1844-5.


Yorke was the great-grandson of the 1st earl of Hardwicke, lord chancellor under Walpole, and the grandson of James Yorke (1730-1808), successively bishop of St. Davids, Gloucester and Ely, who had acquired the Forthampton estate in Gloucestershire through marriage.1 He inherited Forthampton on his father’s death in December 1830.2 He was related to both the patrons for Reigate, the 3rd earl of Hardwicke and the 1st Earl Somers, and it was on the latter’s interest that he was returned unopposed at the general election of 1831. He appears to have attended only occasionally during his brief and undistinguished parliamentary career. He divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reintroduced reform bill, which proposed to partially disfranchise Reigate, 6 July 1831. His only known vote in committee was for use of the 1831 census in determining the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July. Either he or his colleague Charles Philip Yorke denied the imputation that patronal influence at Reigate had been corruptly exercised or sold, 20, 30 July. He voted against the bill’s third reading, 19 Sept., and its passage, 21 Sept. He was in the minority of seven who backed Waldo Sibthorp’s complaint of inaccurate parliamentary reporting by The Times, 12 Sept. Although Lord Somers subsequently changed his position and supported reform, Yorke divided against the second and third readings of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, 22 Mar., and the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May 1832. His only other recorded vote was in the minority for information on military punishments, 16 Feb. 1832.

The surviving seat at Reigate was required for Somers’s son at the general election of 1832, and Yorke never returned to the Commons. A magistrate in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, he maintained his family’s philanthropic traditions on his border estate. His wife’s aunt Lady Lyttelton encountered the Yorkes in 1847 and found them ‘as usual, totally unchanged’.3 He was a director and major shareholder in the Gloucestershire Steam Plough Company, a venture in agricultural mechanization which failed in 1862.4 He died in February 1889 and left Forthampton to his only son John Reginald Yorke (1836-1912), Conservative Member for Tewkesbury, 1864-8, East Gloucestershire, 1872-85, and the Tewkesbury division, 1885-6.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Howard Spencer


  • 1. VCH Glos. viii. 201, 206, 208.
  • 2. The personalty was sworn under £16,000 (PROB 11/1485/729; IR26/1275/1).
  • 3. The Times, 11 Feb. 1889; VCH Glos. viii. 208; Lady Lyttelton Corresp. 366.
  • 4. C. Miller, ‘Glos. Steam Plough Co.’, Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xcix (1982), 141-56.