YORKE, Hon. Charles (1722-70), of Tittenhanger, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 30 Dec. 1722, 2nd s. of Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, bro. of Hon. John, Joseph and Philip Yorke. educ. Dr. Newcome’s, Hackney; Corpus Christi, Camb. 1739; M. Temple 1735; L. Inn 1742, called 1746, bencher 1745. m. (1) 19 May 1755, Catherine (d. 10 July 1759), da. and h. of William Freeman of Aspenden, Herts., 1s.; (2) 30 Dec. 1762, Agneta, da. and coh. of Henry Johnson of Great Berkhampstead, Herts., 2s. 1da.
Clerk of the Crown in Chancery 1746-d.; K.C. 1754; solicitor-gen. to Prince of Wales 1754-6; solicitor-gen. 1756-61; attorney-gen. 1762-3, 1765-6; recorder, Dover 1764-d.; ld. chancellor 17 Jan. 1770-d.
On being called to the bar in 1746 Charles Yorke was appointed by his father to a Chancery sinecure worth £1,200 a year, the proceeds of which he shared with his younger brother, John, till Lord Hardwicke arranged for him to draw the whole income as a consolation for the recent destruction of his library by fire.1 Succeeding his elder brother, Philip, for the family seat in Reigate in 1747, he was chosen to second the Address in November 1748 and to move it in January 1753. He spoke on the regency bill in 1751, described by Horace Walpole as ‘a young lawyer of good parts, but precise and affected’. Walpole also records that when Henry Fox made a personal attack on Lord Hardwicke during the debates on his marriage bill in 1753, ‘Charles Yorke, the Chancellor’s son, took this up with great anger, and yet with preciseness, beginning with these words, "It is new in Parliament, it is new in politics, it is new in ambition".'2 About this time he was earning £1,000 a year at the bar3 and acting as his father's legal secretary.
In 1754 Lord Hardwicke arranged for both the Prince of Wale's law officer to be promoted,4 thus clearing the way for Charles Yorke's appointment to be solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales—the first rung on the ladder to his goal, the great seal. He achieved his ambition ony to die three days later, 20 Jan. 1770, before the patent for his peerage had been completed.