YORKE, Sir William (b. c.1646), of Leasingham and Burton Pedwardine, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



23 May 1679 - Mar. 1681
1689 - 1698
Feb. 1701 - 1702

Family and Education

b. c.1646, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of William Yorke of Leasingham by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Simon Walynn of Burton Pedwardine.  educ. Grantham sch.; St. John’s, Camb. matric. 22 May 1663, aged 16; L. Inn 1665, called 1674.  m. (1) by 1668, Penelope, da. of Richard Samwell of Upton, Northants.; sis. of Sir Thomas Samwell, 1st Bt.*, 6s. (3 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) lic. 15 Apr. 1690, Catherine, da. of William Bainbrigge of Lockington, Leics., wid. of William Leake, serjeant-at-law, of Wymeswold, Leics., s.p.  Kntd. 7 Nov. 1674; suc. fa. 1682.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Boston, 1675–d.2

Commr. inquiry into recusancy fines, Notts., Lincs, 1688.3


Yorke, a Presbyterian from a long-established family in Lincolnshire, was a Whig at the time of the Restoration and, being recommended as a j.p. for Lincolnshire in 1688 and sitting on the inquiry into recusancy fines, was almost certainly a Whig collaborator of James II. Nevertheless, he supported the post-revolutionary regime and, on his return to the Commons in 1690, was classed as a Whig and probable Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Country supporter, in contrast to Grascome who listed him as an adherent of the Court. He was not a notably active Member at any stage of his career. His interest in the Mildmay estate bill, which he carried up to the Lords on 21 May 1694, was probably due to his kinship by marriage with one of the parties concerned, his brother-in-law Samwell. In 1694 Yorke was one of the Whigs appointed to replace several Tories as deputy-lieutenants for Leicestershire.4

Returned again for Boston in 1695, Yorke anticipated his absence from a call of the House originally appointed for 23 Dec. 1695 and wrote to Harley on 4 Jan. 1696 desiring him to make his excuses to the Commons. A possible interest in reform notwithstanding, Yorke sided with the Court on at least some significant issues. He was forecast in January 1696 as likely to support the Court in connexion with the proposed council of trade, signed the Association in February, and in March voted with the Court on fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He was absent, however, from the division on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. On 23 Mar. 1697 he was granted leave of absence to recover his health. A comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments drawn up in around September 1698 noted his apparent swing away from the Court, classing him as a member of the Country party.5

Yorke did not stand in the 1698 election but was returned for Boston in January 1701. Although he continued to serve until the end of the second 1701 Parliament, his name does not appear on any of the party lists for this period. He was granted leave of absence for the recovery of his health on 22 May 1701. After being returned unopposed in the second election of 1701, he was appointed on 6 Jan. 1702 to a drafting committee for a bill to provide for and employ the poor. He did not stand in the election later that year, and indeed may have died shortly afterwards, as he was replaced on the Lincolnshire assessment commission during 1702.

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Sonya Wynne


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1125–6; E. Trollope, Sleaford, 352; IGI, Lincs.; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1524; J. Nichols, Leics. iii. 506, 882.
  • 2. Boston Corp. Mins. ed. Bailey, iv. 89.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1806.
  • 4. Trollope, 266–7; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), 150, 155; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 114.
  • 5. Add. 70037, f. 114.