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York

The York(e) family were very significant in the 18th century and have left their mark in place names such as York’s Lane in West End .  Some members of the family were based in the ‘Adams’ estate  which may have been based on Adams Corner  or Adams Grove. Another possibility is Coles farm  which is at the bottom of  York Lane. Mearn’s Cross is at the other end. Other members of the family may have been living in or near Chewton Priory or what later became Chewton House. Another branch were living in East End and one possibility for their East End property is seen in the 1794 map .
There were at least two branches of the family active in the village. The ‘e’ on the end of the name suggests that a wealthier branch was involved but that cannot be relied upon. There mayhave been a third ‘professional’branch whowere school teachers and lawyers.
 Somerset archive record DD\PH/213/35 dated 30th January 1612 is  a letter about a law suit against Sir James Yorke and others addressed to the Solicitor-General, Attorney -General and others to review examinations which had come to the hands of the Archbishop Abbot. No link has yet been made from this James Yorke  to the Chewton Mendip family but there is a reasonable chance there was a link. A number of records held in Taunton starting with DD\CC/B/112234 identify a James Yorke living in Wells and other records link the Chewton Mendip Yorkes to Wells. Some records suggest there was a link between the Yorke and Jenkins families who both held land in several villages but lived in Wells. The reference to ‘Archbishop Abbot’ in 1612 suggests there was some element of a dispute about ownership of church land, possibly land one held by Glastonbury Abbey.
 Elizabeth York, widow, was buried in Chewton Mendip on 5th October of 1623. Sarrell , the son? of Rysck Yorke, was christened in Chewton Mendip on 10th February 1624. This data is taken from FreeReg and no further information is currently available about these people. The same source also identifies that Francis & Elizabeth Yorke had a son, John, who was christened in Chewton Mendip on 8th March 1640-41. A number of other records may refer to him.
Edmund Racks survey of Somerset conducted in the 1780s  lists  a number of memorials in the church that may have subsequently been lost. The inscriptions may be hidden under carpets or they may have been lost in subsequent alterations to the church. These  lost/hidden inscriptions include some of the first record of the Yorks family that can be put into context. Sicilly (Cecily?) Yorke is/was commemorated in Chewton Mendip church. She died 26th August 1656. She may have been married to James Yorke who died  in 11th August 1684. Edmund Rack also recorded that John York, gent died 21st August 1723 aged 82. Simple mathematics and allowing for the change in calendar  show that his parents were probably Francis and Elizabeth. A George Adams who died 7th April 1694 is also listed by Edmund Rack and he may have lived in the property that was occupied by members of the Yorke family in the 18th century.
A record held by the Hampshire archive dated 24th September 1692 is an agreement for John Yorke, Gent, to take over an a property of  Richard Loxton. Property transactions of the time were not accurate in defining the specific location but this was probably the basis of the Loxton’s estate that is mentioned churchwardens accounts   and the later poor records. This record specifies that John Yorke had two sons, John and James.
The first page of the churchwardens accounts are dated 1699 and the last two items describe that James Yorke was paid 12s and 10d that was owed to him by the parish for a unspecified reason. The very last item stated that he was paid 2s and 6d for keeping the book. The records may have been in his handwriting or that of Richard Hippisley  or Richard Webb  who were the churchwardens in 1699 .
Somerset archive record DD\SVL/2/5/8 identifies that James Yorke was involved in a legal dispute concerning land in Dinder which specifies Richard Tarswell and Grace his wife. The Taswells have strong links to the church and Chewton Mendip. The papers cover the period 1659-1739.
James York Junior 1704 A record held in Bristol (P.St M/CH/15/c) is an agreement to pay annuities was countersigned by James Yorke the younger in 1716 was the same person who was signing churchwarden accounts in 1704. The signature in the Bristol record ads the junior suffix which is missing in the example shown on the left which is taken from the churchwarden accounts. The sample also shows the signatures of Richard Hippisley and John York who is assumed to be the son of James Yorke the senior and the brother of James Yorke the younger.
A Richard Hippisley married Anne Yorke 18th August 1668 who was the mother of Preston Hippisley.   Richard Hippisley, and subsequently Preston, inherited the Hippisley estate. This family association may be the source of the name of Preston Wood next to Coles Farm and is at the bottom of York Lane. However, this Richard Hippisley probably as not the churchwarden and Anne Yorke came from Wiltshire which may discount the theory.However, the Yorkes were wealthy people whict land hodings in many places. Marriages for the gentry were more or less arranged as social and economic alliances so they have been a link somewhere between the Yorkes of West End and West Lavington, Wiltshire, where Anne was baptised. Anne herself ony lasted 10 days after the birth of Preston and is buried in Ston Easton.
Anne Parker married James Yorke of Chewton Mendip. A number of Somerset records dated c1738 identifies Anne as the wife of James Yorke deceased who had been the proprietor of Adams and Burges as confirmation that it was James Yorke the younger whose signature is seen above. He had got himself into debt by overreaching himself in various property transactions. The published data states it is not clear if he was acting as an agent for another person or for himself who got himself into debt. Anne may have died in 1758 and was commemorated in Farleigh Hungerford church. These records are part of the Hippisley collection as further evidence of the strength of the link between the Yorkes and Hippisley families.
 Another Somerset record DD\FS/35/7/5 connects John and Palmer Dory of Chewton Mendip and Thomas Dory the elder and the younger of Ston Easton with James Yorke of Wells in connection with land held in Ashcott which may have subsequently been awarded to the school.
 Another branch, possibly unrelated to the wealthy branch, were receiving poor relief throughout the 18th century. Families were supposed to support their less fortunate relatives so the similarity in name may have been coincidental. Confusingly, there were several people with very similar names like James, John and Elizabeth York in receipt of poor relief.
 Some members of  the substantial family were based in the Town tithing. They are mentioned in connection with the King family paying poor rates for ‘Ye Inn’ and the Loxton estate. Other information suggests that the owner of these properties were the Kingsmill family at the time. It is suggested that part of Chewton House was once a coaching inn and is one possibility for the York’s estate based in Town.
 Yorke Parks are listed in the 1766 ledgers but theie location is not clear.
Various members of the York(e) family were acting as book keepers throughout the 18th century. A record held in Bristol (32395/4c)  dated 1780 identifies a John York who was a school teacher and was acting as a trustee of a will. He may have been the same person who was acting as the book keeper for the vestry committee.
 Members of the York family were still living in Chewton Mendip in the modern era.
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