Thomas and Mary Yeo of Woolfardisworthy

Thomas Yeo died at Woolfardisworthy, the north Devon parish between Bradworthy and Hartland, in 1658. He left a will dated 23 December 1653, and was survived by his widow Mary, who lived until 1662. Mary’s previous surname is not known, but there is evidence that it might have been Yeo. Thomas might have been a grandson of Nicholas Yeo of East Bridge, Stratton or a son of Nicholas Yeo of Exeter.

Thomas’s will was proved in London on 16 February 1658/9 [note 1] and Mary’s will was exhibited at Barnstaple on 6 June 1663. It is useful that transcripts of these wills have survived, as the parish registers for Woolfardisworthy at that time are incomplete [note 2].

Thomas and Mary lived at West Town, a former fortified manor house that was part of the estate of Hartland Abbey. They had eight children:
– Hewe Yeo (baptised at Woolfardisworthy 1608)
– Margaret Yeo (1614–1662, married William Hamlyn)
– William Yeo (baptised c1619, moved to London, where his will was proved in 1637)
– Thomas Yeo (c1620–1671, married Isott Nicholl)
– James Yeo (c1621–1657, moved to Exeter)
– Philip Yeo (1622–1666, moved to London, married Jane Perrot, five children)
– John Yeo (1623–1707, married Mary Neale and Joan Backway née Rowland, nine children)
– Arthur Yeo (baptised c1625, moved to London, where his will was proved in 1648).

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1. For double-dated years see Dates before 1751.
2. They were lost in a fire, and it has been suggested that their destruction was deliberate. Some records exist as bishop’s transcripts, including baptism entries for Hewe and Margaret Yeo.