YORKE, Thomas (1658-1716), of Gouthwaite Hall and Richmond, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 29 June 1658, 1st s. of Sir John Yorke† of Gouthwaite Hall by Mary, da. of Maulger Norton† of St. Nicholas, nr. Richmond. m. 7 Dec. 1680, Catherine (d. 1731), da. and h. of Thomas Lister of Arnoldsbigging, Yorks., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1663.1
Yorke owned a large mansion on Bargate Green in Richmond, one of the two finest houses in the town. He had inherited five burgages from his father, who had also represented Richmond, and increased his interest by judicious purchases to 16 burgages by 1716. Successful for the borough in a contested election in 1695, Yorke was classed as ‘doubtful’ in the forecast for the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, but was later reclassified as likely to support the Court. He was prompt in signing the Association. He was given leave of absence on 2 Mar., ‘his mother being very ill’, which probably accounts for his being absent from the division on the price of guineas. In the following session he voted on 25 Nov. for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. On 8 Mar. 1697 he was again given leave of absence. However, he was back in London by February 1698, when he was one of several MPs who were supportive of Edward Morris, the vicar of Aldborough, who had been accused of intercepting mail relating to the by-election in that borough the previous month. Following his re-election in 1698, Yorke was classed as a Court supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new Commons. In an analysis of the House into ‘interests’ in early 1700 he was listed as an adherent of the Junto. Returned unopposed in the two 1701 elections, during the latter election Yorke supported the successful candidature of the Whig Lord Irwin (Arthur Ingram) for the county, while at Ripon, where he was a burgage owner, he voted for John Aislabie* and John Sharp*. Other than his attendance and voting, Yorke remained a passive member of the House throughout his parliamentary career. Returned once more at the 1702 election, he was granted leave of absence on 23 Jan. 1703. At the beginning of the 1704–5 session he was noted as a probable opponent of the Tack, and did not vote for it on 28 Nov.2
Successful in a contested election in Richmond in 1705, Yorke was classed as ‘Low Church’ in an analysis of the new Parliament, and on 25 Oct. he voted for the Court candidate as Speaker. During these years Yorke seems to have entered into some form of electoral ‘alliance’ with Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*) at Richmond, which was to account for the consistent return of two Whigs at the remaining elections in Queen Anne’s reign. Yorke was returned unopposed in 1708, in which year he was classed as a Whig. He supported the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709, and though in 1710 he was recorded on various lists as voting both for and against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, it is probable that he supported the impeachment, given his Whig affiliations. At the 1710 election he stood down in favour of his son John, who was returned unopposed. However, in 1713 Yorke stood for Richmond once again, and topped the poll in a heated contest. He voted on 18 Mar. 1714 against the expulsion of Richard Steele, and was noted as a Whig in both the Worsley list and a comparative analysis of the Parliaments of 1713 and 1715. He died the following year, and was buried at Gouthwaite on 16 Nov. His son and heir, John, was returned at the ensuing by-election in 1717.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath
- 1. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, ii. 281–2.
- 2. R. Fieldhouse and B. Jennings, Hist. Richmond and Swaledale, 328, 413; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xliv. 209; Bodl. Willis 15, ff. 112, 130; N. Yorks. RO, Lawson-Tancred mss ZUH, Morris to Andrew Wilkinson, 9 Feb. 1697–8; N. Yorks. RO Swinton mss, Danby pprs. ZS, ‘Persons to be elected’ at Ripon, 24 Nov. 1701; W. Yorks. Archs. (Leeds), Temple Newsam mss TN/C9/143, Thomas Pulleine to Ld. Irwin, 15 Nov. 1701.
- 3. Bull. IHR, xxxvii. 34; Fieldhouse and Jennings, 413–18; Robbins thesis, 197–8; Speck thesis, 73; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 223; Quinn thesis, 125–8; Clay, 282.