A wealthy servant

Robert Walpole, first Earl of Orford (1676–1745), was a rich and influential man. He appears to have been a very able politician; he led the British government but rejected the title ‘Prime Minister’.

Walpole’s son, also Robert Walpole (1701–1751), became the second Earl of Orford and married Margaret Rolle, which gives a Devon connection close to the landed Yeo line.

A John Yeo was employed in the service of one or other of these two peers. It seems that John was by no means a menial domestic servant, as he left more than £300 in his will, which was dated 27 October 1729. It was administered in London on 18 February 1733/4 by his widow Jane Yeo.

John has not yet been identified, though he might have been a son from the second marriage of George Yeo (to Mary Bent, at Jacobstowe in 1699). There is the baptism at Hatherleigh on 6 November 1702 of ‘John son of George Yeo gent’ and the marriage of John Yeo to Jane Cole at Marylebone on 18 May 1725. There is no obvious recorded burial in London, where it is reasonable to assume that John would have died.

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