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  • Writer's pictureHaydn Wheeler

Thomas Young, "a man more eloquent than trustworthy you could say."

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Castle Hill in Shaftesbury, scene of the capture of Thomas Young and Clubmen leaders, 1645.

Thomas Young of Manston.

Speaking of the ringleaders of the Clubmen at a meeting with General Thomas Fairfax in Dorchester on the 3rd July 1645, Rushworth says "the deputation to him was led by men of good name, it contained a Trenchard and a Hollis, John St Loe, Peter Hopkins esquire, master Robert J Avlet and Master Thomas Young, an attorney, a man more eloquent than trustworthy, F (Fairfax) should like to know more of master Young, the orator of Badbury."

Thomas Young name on the Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Dorset

Thomas Young of Manston Dorset also going by the spelling Tho Yonge was present throughout the Clubmen risings in Dorset, yet as Rushworth also said of him, he was a man of no history. What is on record as to his history, is his involvement in the wording and making of the petitions brought forward by the Clubmen in 1645. The Desires and Resolutions written in May, which he read to at a gathering of 4000 at Badbury. This was followed by "The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of the County of Dorset" and presented to His Majesty at Ragland on July 8th by Thomas Young in person, he was accompanied by Henry Goche, Peter Hopkins and the Reverend Thomas Bravel. (The Reverend Bravel would later lead the Clubmen at the "Battle of Hambledon Hill" on August 4th, and suffer losses under the charge of Cromwell's Dragoons.)

Young was speaking at gatherings of Clubmen and was at the centre of events throughout the summer of 1645 across Dorset and Wiltshire.

Reverend Thomas Aylesbury of Berwick St Leonards Church 1625-1650

A reference to Thomas Young at Beacon Hill in a witness account concerning the Reverend Thomas Aylesbury is recorded in July 1646 in The Committee for Plundered Ministers.

Meere Beacon (Mere Beacon), pic below is view from <Beacon Hill> at Mere in Wiltshire. Scene of Clubmen gathering, 25th July 1645.

The account by the witness; The said Mr Aylesbury was very forward in the club business, and at a rendezvous by Mere Beacon (hill) which was on 25th July 1645, one Mr Young made a long speech onto the people and when the said Mr Young ended his speech the said Mr Aylesbury spoke, saying , "Mr Young, Mr Young, let not the book of common pray be forgotten."

The Reverend Aylesbury was marked as a man later involved in "Club Business"

General Fairfax was in the SW of England at this time, and was holding a council of war on the same date as the Clubmen gathering of 25th July. Whether to chase Lord Goring, commander of the Royalist army of the South West in 1645 or to deal with the Clubmen was up for discussion. Dealing with Young no doubt also in his plan ( the meeting of Fairfax with the Army and Clubmen being on the same date, is no coincidence) We know Young was later of such note, as to be held important enough, that William Waller the Parliamentary general had him marked for special attention.

Clubmen meeting at Mere Beacon

Reverend Thomas Aylesbury below recorded as vicar in 1625 at St Leonards Church.

The taking of the Clubmen leaders at Shaftesbury on August 3rd gives us a clue into Young's past. On the list of names Thomas Young has of note against him "Tho Yonge of Manston of the old Star Chamber." Taking this as where Young spent time in his early years it is of note, there was a Thomas Young as a student of law at Staple Inn in 1617, if this is our Young, I do not know, what is recorded though is of a Thomas Young in 1636 of the Star Chamber for the Kings Causes Domestic. This also has to be looked at with an air of caution for also at a later date a Thomas Young of the old Star Chamber is with Charles II on the Kings Commission, our Thomas Young by Charles II restoration is now deceased.

Thomas Young Signature on Covenant to Land Seized, Manston

Tho Yonge at this time is living in St Martin in the Fields and is on the marriage register dated 24th October 1632. Recorded here as a bachelor of 27 and marrying Katherine Sheldon a spinster of age about 29, this puts Young as being of birth date around 1605. The marriage itself was had in Southwark at the church of St Saviour. On August 19 of 1633 we have a baptism of a Thomas Young, son of Thomas Young and Katherine at St Martin in the Fields.

The Dorset connection with St Martin in the Fields continues, as the vicar of St Martin's is called William Bray (a Puritan of early days now under Laud) Two years later after Young's marriage, William Bray is presented by the King to the village of Chaldon-Herring in Dorset. Tho Yonge and William Bray I would conclude, passed the time of day on occasion, in their early days at St Martins.

An interesting dispute between Bray and the Earl of Bedford took place in 1638 regarding a parish church in Covent Garden. The dispute was heard by the the King in council. This from London Past and Present 1891 and an account of the settlement.

Bray had by 1643 falling out with favour with Parliament. On the 12th January 1643 Parliament proceeded to sequester the vicarage of St Martin and displacing Bray. This led later to his books being seized, him being plundered and imprisoned, causing him to flee London.

"WHEREAS Dr. Braye, Vicar of the Parish of St. St.Martin', Martin's in the Fields, hath for the Space of these Three in the Fields Months last past, deserted his Cure, and betaken himself." unto the Army of the Cavaliers; whereby that great Congregation, frequented by divers of the Nobility, and many other Gentry of great Quality, hath been either wholly neglected, or for the most part supplied by unfit Men, to the Dishonour of God, and Scandal of Religion"

Journals of the House of Lords and the sequester of Jan 12th 1643.

A connection not only with later Clubmen Thomas Young and Bray comes in the form of the sequesters appointed to have power over who collects the rents from the vicarage of St Martin.

Provisions of fit Maintenance for those that shall officiate therein, do hereby Constitute and Ordain, That Sir John Hipisly, Mr. Glynn, Mr. Oldsworth, Mr. Trenchard, Members of the House of Commons;

We see on the list Parliamentarian Thomas Trenchard MP, son of George Trenchard of Wolveton, Charminster, Dorset. Thomas Trenchard MP for Dorset was one of the designated envoys of the Clubmen to Parliament with the Clubmen petition of July 3rd 1645.

Thomas Young appears in name again in 1635 on a; Covenant to Stand Seized. Here with a Katherine Young of birth name Sheldon. Young is by now, as said, married to Katherine Sheldon daughter of Elizabeth Sheldon. On this document he is described as a gent from London, later on following his death he is registered as from Manston and buried in Manston.

Our Clubmen lawyer Young as he is later known, and his connections to the Kings court and early London life, would later hold him in good stead with the ending of the Civil War.

By the 11th March 1645 we see Letters of Administration of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury with the goods of Francis Sheldon late of Manston granted to Thomas Young and Katherine Young (Seldon) his wife. (The sister and creditor of the deceased.) The legal battles over property in Manston continued thereafter between a Thomas Sheldon and Thomas Young, where as late as 1647 there was still no resolve.

A sketch of Thomas Young the orator, and Clubmen at Badbury Rings by Dorset local artist Stewart MacArthur. The Desires and Resolutions reading of 1645 read again in 2016 by Stephen Burden.

Young comes back into the fray in the aftermath of the Civil War, the records of The Calendar for Advanced Money 1642-1656 tell of Sir William Waller raising a troop of horse, and seeing Thomas Young of some importance to go after and capture. This was prevented by a Rob Ryves who raised a party of men to ambush Waller's troop and threatened to shoot a man who refused to go. This seems to have quashed Waller's plans as Young is still footloose and fancy free, and only a charge against Ryves ( Reeves) for the episode is brought forward in February 1649 and later in May 1649 with new information, concerning him as "being in the commission of the King."

A charge against Young of Manston occurs also in May of 1649 with it being said "he was a commissioner to the King and did have several rendezvous with him." This linked to the same second charge to Ryves and would, you would think be a charge not easy to deny. His dealings through 1645 make Young a figure of high profile in the counties of Dorset and Wiltshire.

Several of the Dorset Clubmen face charges by the end of the Civil Wars as can be seen by the charge against Thomas Harding of Shapwick. "He set forth, horse and drum as colours for the Clubmen" being typical of the format of the charge.

Young as I have mentioned seems to be well connected throughout the region and after the Wars, for all charges against him were dismissed. The 1646-1650 Dorset Standing Committee says of Young with the charge of Delinquent against him, "for an end of molestation against him and his estate."

The death of Elizabeth Sheldon at St Giles in the Field on 18th June 1657 followed the death the day before on the 17th June of Thomas Young's wife Katherine Young (Sheldon). Thomas Young himself was deceased by 21st June 1659 and the name Young of Manston fades thereafter.

Thomas Young that man who Fairfax "would like to know of in his history," I think would have had little weight in knowing, for he seems to be a man who could talk a good spiel and turn a head in his favour. Thomas Young was"a man more eloquent then trustworthy you could say."

Reference, Rev Thomas Aylesbury. by Rev Colin Alsbury, MA

Main Source. Committee Minutes for Plundered Ministers 1645-47

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