John Shapland Yeo was born at Stonehouse in Gloucestershire. His parents were John Yeo (1825–1880) and Emma Matilda Spearing, who moved to Gloucestershire in the early 1850s and ran a grocery and drapery business. His grandparents were James Yeo and Elizabeth Shapland.
John Shapland Yeo showed great promise at school and was a talented mathematician. He graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge with a first class degree in mathematics, receiving the second highest mark in his year. Sheila found this article from the Cambridge University magazine The Graphic dated 18 February 1882:
Mr. John Shapland Yeo, Scholar of St. John’s, the Second Wrangler, is a son of the late John Yeo, of Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, and was born in 1860. He received his primary education at Blundel’s School, Tiverton, under Mr. A.L. Francis, the Rev R. Duckworth being the mathematical master. In 1878 he was awarded an open Minor Scholarship at St. John’s College of the value of £7 per year, and in the same year was elected to the Huish Exhibition of 5s per year open to scholars from Sherborn, Taunton, Exeter and Tiverton schools. In 1880 he was elected a Foundation Scholar of St. John’s. At the college examinations in each year of his residence, he was obtained the first place. He was awarded the Hughes Prize, Sir John Herschel’s Prize for Astronomy, and the Wright Prize. His college tutor was Mr. J.E. Sandys; his private tutor Mr. R.R. Webb, M.A. Fellow of St. John’s.
After he graduated, John Shapland Yeo became a teacher at Fettes College, a public school in Edinburgh. He died in 1904 at the age of 44.
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