Was she called Ellen?

William Yeo of Heanton Sachville married in the middle of the 15th century, some eighty years before the introduction of parish records, and there is no written record of the marriage.

William’s wife is generally referred to as Ellen Grenville, a name that appears to be based on three of these five sources:
– The record of the inquisition post mortem held for William Yeo in 1481, transcribed by Harry Tapley-Soper: ‘Leva Yeo his wife’ and ‘Leva is yet living’
– The 1872 edition of the Visitations, edited by Frederic Thomas Colby, p. 322: ‘Ellin d. of Wm Greenfield of Stowe in com. Cornwall’
– The 1881 edition of the Visitations, also edited by Colby, p. 217: ‘Ellizab. d. of William Greenfield of Stowe’
– The 1895 edition of the Visitations, edited by Lt-Col John Lambrick Vivian, p. 834: ‘Ellin, Da. of Wm Grenfield of Stowe in Com. Cornubiae’
The History of the Granville Family by Roger Granville, published in 1895, p.57: ‘Ellena, who was married to William Yeo’

According to research by Douglas Richardson, ‘Leva Yeo, widow’ is named in several common-law legal actions between 1483 and 1489.

It can therefore be argued that William Yeo’s wife was called Elizabeth (though there might be an error in the source quoted above) or Leva (perhaps after her maternal grandmother Leva Gorges).

So how should we refer to her? Please the Contact Us page if you have any comments.

See The Visitations of Devon and Cornwall for notes on the Visitations.

Martyn Yeo


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