William Yelverton

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Sir William Yelverton (1400 – 1470s) was a judge in Norfolk, England and twice a member of parliament for Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.


Yelverton was born in Norfolk to his father John Yelverton of Rackheath, Norfolk, and mother Elizabeth, the daughter of John Rede of Rougham, and his father's the second wife.[a][b]

Yelverton was a justice of the peace in Norwich in 1427 and recorder from 1433 to 1450. In 1435 and 1436 he was the member of parliament for Great Yarmouth and in 1439 he was made a sergeant-at-law.[2] He was the under-steward of the Duchy of Lancaster, Norfolk and made judge of the king's bench in 1444.[1]

In spite of some apparent reluctance to recognise the new king,[3] he was continued in this office by Edward IV, who knighted him before September 1461. His name occurs in many judicial commissions in the early years of Edward's reign, and he was annually appointed justice of the peace for Norfolk and Suffolk.[4]

Yelverton seems to have been capable of surviving the reigns of several monarchs and it was said of him that "This learned person seems to have stood equally well with the monarchs of both of the Roses, as we find him not only continued in his judicial office by King Edward IV., but made a Knight of the Bath, in order to grace that king's coronation; and upon the temporary restoration of King Henry [sic VI], appointed by patent, dated October, 1470, one of the judges of the court of common pleas." John Burke from A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland and Scotland... OUP, 1831.[5]

He died in either 1472 or 1477 and was buried in Rougham church.[1] "The inscription on his tomb, printed by Weever, has no date. Rubbings of the monumental brasses to him and his second wife in the vestry of Rougham church.[6] After his death his estate passed to his son William.[7]

Caister Castle and the Pastons[edit]

Main articles: Paston Letters and Caister Castle

Yelverton was an executor and heir to the estate of Sir John Fastolf, a Norfolk knight who died in 1459. In his latter years Fastolf had taken counsel from John Paston, to whom he was related through Paston's wife, Margaret.[8] Fastolf's will was disputed by Yelverton and the other executors once it was discovered that Paston was to inherit the estates. The dispute between Yelverton and Paston was taken up by the Lord Chancellor's office and went on for many years[9] although most notable was the furore over Caister Castle which is written about in the Paston Letters. Other properties had been similarly fought for by Fastolf in previous years and Yelverton had played a part in securing at least one, Dedham manor, for him.[10]

"In 1459 Sir John Fastolf [q. v.] had appointed Yelverton one of his executors, and he thus became involved in the prolonged disputes about the disposition of Fastolf's property; he generally acted in concert with William Worcester [q. v.] in opposition to the Pastons, and there is frequent mention of his name in the Paston Letters." John Burke from A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland and Scotland... OUP, 1831.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elizabeth, Yelverton mother Elizabeth's previous husband was Robert Clere of Stokesby, Norfolk.
  2. ^ Yelverton father John was involved with the legal profession and was the recorder for Norwich. Yelverton. John had two sons by his first wife Jane De Grosse and William by his second wife Ela (or Agnes) Brewes.[1]
  1. ^ a b c Blomefield & Parkin 1809, p. 32.
  2. ^ Pollard 1900, p. 318.
  3. ^ Pollard 1900, p. 318 cites Paston Letters, i. 131, 150, 172.
  4. ^ Pollard 1900, p. 318 cites Cal. Patent Rolls, 1461-7, passim.
  5. ^ a b Burke 1831, p. 583.
  6. ^ Pollard 1900, p. 318 cites British Museum Additional MSS. 32478 ff. 50, 121, 122, 32479 H. 10.
  7. ^ "Westacre Priory, O.S.A. (co. Norfolk) [no ref. or date]" (R. 29856). Manchester University, John Rylands Library: British National Archives. Retrieved 9 November 2010. Sir William Yelverton, kt., of Rougham has granted to William Yelverton, the younger, esq., of Rougham, all his goods and chattels. 8 seals, the seal of the prior and 7 others, and a fragment of Geyton's seal (8 May 1478). 
  8. ^ Ibeji, Dr Mike (15 September 2010). "The Pastons: Who were they?". British History in-depth. BBC. Retrieved 9 November 2010. Dr Mike Ibeji is a Roman military historian who was an associate producer on Simon Schama's "A History of Britain." 
  9. ^ "Chancery pleadings addressed to the Archbishop of York as Lord Chancellor". Court of Chancery: Six Clerks Office: Early Proceedings, Richard II to Philip and Mary. Kew: National Archives. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Indenture". Records of the Treasury of the Receipt. National Archives. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 


  • Blomefield, Frances; Parkin, Charles (1809). Volume 10 of an essay towards a topographical history of the county of Norfolk: Containing a description of the towns, villages, and hamlets, with the foundations of monasteries ...and other buildings (hardback). W. Miller. p. 31. 
  • Burke, John (1831). A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance. Oxford University. p. 583. 

External links[edit]