YEO (YAWE, YOWE), Hugh (by 1499-1548), of Braunton, Devon.

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 1499, 1st s. of John Yeo of Hatherleigh by Joan, da. of Thomas Asshe of Brampton. educ. M. Temple, adm. 9 Feb. 1517. m. by 1520, Alice, da. of John Pyke, 3s. 1da.1

Offices Held

J.p. Devon by 1535-d.; commr. tenths of spiritualities, Devon and Exeter 1535, oyer and terminer, Devon 1540, subsidy 1540, 1543, under steward and auditor of Pilton, Devon, for bp. of Exeter.2


When his mill at Braunton was the subject of a chancery suit Hugh Yeo professed himself ‘loath to be in trouble with the law’, a disclaimer which accords ill with his reputation as a man learned in that science: the mayor and corporation of Barnstaple retained his counsel for upwards of 20 years until his death and he acted for Lady Lisle in her protracted dispute with the 2nd Lord Daubeney and her other estate business. Yeo was less wide of the mark in deprecating his kinship and ‘ability’, for although he was of gentle birth his family was of small standing and in the main poorly connected: if it was by marrying a kinswoman that he acquired the manor of Little Buckland, and his residence at Fairlinch in the parish of Braunton, his brother William, an Inner Templar, did better for himself with Audrey Stukley, daughter of a recorder of Barnstaple.3

It was doubtless to Sir Thomas Stukley, who had held that office for the three years preceding, that Yeo owed his election in 1529. Having seen this protracted Parliament through, he was probably returned again in 1536, when the King issued a general request for the re-election of the previous Members, and may even have sat in 1539, when the names of both Members are also lost, and in 1542, when only one name has survived. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons nothing is known. He was made a justice of the peace by 1535 and it was as such that in July of that year he and Humphrey Prideaux tried to eject the abbot of Hartland. It must have been either then or in an earlier summer that he had a deer from Viscount Lisle’s park at Umberleigh; in the next few years, when he was busy with her affairs, Yeo would thank Lady Lisle for other presents. Yet he does not seem to have acquired further property; it was doubtless as an agent that in May 1542 he was joined with John Prideaux, probably the future Member for Plymouth and Devon, in a recovery against the 2nd Earl of Bath for Spitchwick park, Widecombe. For the subsidy of 1540 he was assessed at the modest figure of 30s.4

Yeo died on 25 Oct. 1548 and was buried in the church at Braunton three days later. He appears to have left no will, but at the inquisition held at Exeter on 2 Oct. 1550 his 30 year-old son William was found to be his heir. Leonard Yeo, Member for Totnes in 1555 and 1558, was a kinsman, although the relationship is not clear.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: L. M. Kirk / A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Devon ed. Colby, 218; N. Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple, D. Drake ms ‘MPs Barnstaple’, 21.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, viii, xv; E179/97/214, 98/255; D. H. Pill, ‘The diocese of Exeter under Bp. Veysey’ (Exeter Univ. M.A. thesis, 1963), 199.
  • 3. C1/1013/6, 1038/48-9, 1093/15; St.Ch.2/27/126; N. Devon Athenaeum, 3972, ff. 33v, 36, 49(3), 50(2); D. Drake ms op. cit. 21; LP Hen. VIII, vi, viii, xii, xiii, add.; M. L. Bush, ‘Lisle-Seymour Land Disputes’, Hist. Jnl. ix. 255-74; PCC 29 Dyngeley.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, vi, viii, xii, xiii; L. Snell, Suppression of Rel. Foundations Devon and Cornw. 67; NRA 6042, p. 20; E179/97/214.
  • 5. C142/90/62; N. Devon Athenaeum, D. Drake ms op. cit. 21.