A butcher from Hill Head?

As you leave Stratton in north Cornwall and drive south, the ground rises quite steeply before falling again to cross the line of the old Bude–Holsworthy canal. At the top of the rise is a junction where you can turn west for Bude. This area is called Hill Head.

John Yeo was buried in the churchyard at Stratton in 1691. The entry in the parish register reads ‘John Yeo of Hillhead, husband of Martha’ – the extra details are to distinguish him from other men in the parish of the same name. In his will, written a month before his death, John named his daughter Elizabeth as his executor, but she was still under 21 when John died so the will failed probate. Martha was granted administration of his estate.

No record of John and Martha’s marriage has been found, but a licence for them to marry was issued at Exeter on 7 March 1667/8. Her surname was written as Hambling (and has also been recorded as Hambley and Humbley). Martha later married William Orchard at Stratton in 1696.

Sheila referred to John as a cordwainer, the occupation of his brother Walter Yeo of Stratton, but there is no evidence for this. He is described elsewhere as a butcher but the evidence for this also appears to be lacking. There are therefore details that can be added about John and Martha’s lives, as well as to those of their descendants. 

Jean Ajin has traced her line of descent through John and Martha’s son Philip Yeo, who married Margaret Bond at North Tamerton in 1704 (see Pedigrees). Tanya Kloessel, with Sheila’s help, found that she too is descended from Philip, as are former Conservative MP Tim Yeo and his son Jonathan Yeo, an accomplished portrait painter.

John’s brother Walter had a grandson Richard Yeo who married Katherine Prout in 1745 and has a line of descent in Ontario documented by Alan Richards – see ‘Richard Yeo and Rosina Victor’ under The main Yeo lines.

Please use the Contact Us page if you can add anything to these lines or are a descendant.


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