George Yonge
Portrait by Edmund Scott, 1790.
Secretary at War
In office
MonarchGeorge III
Preceded byRichard FitzPatrick
Succeeded byWilliam Windham
In office
MonarchGeorge III
Preceded byThe Viscount Sydney
Succeeded byRichard FitzPatrick
Governor of the Cape Colony
In office
10 December 1799 – 20 April 1801
MonarchGeorge III
Preceded byFrancis Dundas
Succeeded byFrancis Dundas
Member of Parliament for Honiton
In office
Preceded byHenry Reginald Courtenay
Succeeded byGeorge Chambers
In office
Preceded bySir William Yonge
Succeeded byJohn Duke
Personal details
Born(1731-07-17)17 July 1731
Great House, Colyton, Devon, England
Died25 September 1812(1812-09-25) (aged 81)
Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, England
Resting placeColyton, Devon, England
Ann Cleeve
(m. 1765)
EducationEton College
Alma materUniversity of Leipzig

Sir George Yonge, 5th Baronet, KCB, PC, FRS (/jʌŋ/; 17 July 1731 – 25 September 1812), of Escot House in the parish of Talaton in Devon, England, was a British Secretary at War (1782–1783 and 1783–1794). He succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1755, which became extinct when he died without children. He is remembered by, among other things, the name of Yonge Street, a principal road in what is now Toronto, Canada, so named in 1793 by the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe.

Life and career

Escot House in 1794
Arms of Yonge: Ermine, on a bend cotised sable three griffin's heads erased or

Yonge was born in 1731[1] at Great House in the parish of Colyton, Devon, the son and heir of Sir William Yonge, 4th Baronet by his second wife Ann Howard. He had a stepbrother, Walter Yonge, from his father's first wife Mary Heathcote.

He was educated at Eton College and then at the University of Leipzig.[2] He served as a Member of Parliament for his family's Rotten Borough of Honiton, Devon, from 1754 to 1761 and again from 1763 to 1796. He was quoted to have often said that he had inherited £80,000 from his father, acquired another £80,000 when he married and £80,000 from Parliament but Honiton had "swallowed it all," This was due to the huge briberies which were commonplace to influence the electorate in rotten borough elections of the time. Yonge was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1782, and acted as Governor of the Cape Colony for a short period from 1799 to 1801. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1784 [3] and was invested as a Knight of the Bath in 1788.

In 1755, he inherited Escot House near Ottery St Mary, Devon, on the death of his father. In 1794, he sold it for £26,000 to Sir John Kennaway, 1st Baronet, under whose occupancy it burnt down in 1808.

When Yonge died, indebted, on 25 September 1812 at Hampton Court, the baronetcy died with him.[2] Initially he was interred at the place of his death but his remains were later exhumed and transported by sea to be laid to rest in the family crypt in the parish of Colyton. The re-burial was reputed to have taken place by night in fear that his creditors may seize the body.


Yonge married Ann Cleeve, daughter and sole heir of Bourchier Cleeve, on 10 July 1765.[4] Yonge was then 34 years old and Ann 20 or perhaps just 21. Ann's father, two days before his death, changed his will[5][6] to place restrictions on Ann's inheritance should she marry someone whom her mother deemed inappropriate. Whether this occurred is not clear.

Ann had no children. She died at Hampton on 7 January 1833.[7]

There is great confusion in many sources, both online and in print, that give George Yonge's wife's name as Elizabeth. This seems to be a mistake. For a discussion, see the talk page.


Yonge Street, Toronto

Yonge was considered an expert on Roman roads: 'He was a man of letters, an F.R.S., and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, to which he communicated an excellent memoir on the subject of Roman roads and camps, in connection with some discoveries that had been made at Mansfied, in Nottinghamshire, and hence the peculiar fitness of naming Yonge Street after him, it being precisely such a road, and adapted to similar uses, as those he had been engaged in examining.[8]

Yonge Street, the main north–south street of Toronto, was built between 1795 and 1796 from Eglinton Avenue to Lake Simcoe. Later the road was extended south to Bloor Street and still later, south to Lake Ontario. Yonge Mills Road and Townline Road Escott Yonge in Front of Yonge Township in Mallorytown, Ontario are named for him as well.


Leigh Rayment's list of baronets

  1. ^ Other sources give 1732: Scadding, Henry (January 1878). "Yonge Street and Dundas Street: The Men after whom they were named". The Canadian Journal of Science, Literature and History. 15 (8): 616. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Early Days in Richmond Hill: A History of the Community to 1930 : electronic edition. : The Road through Richmond Hill".
  3. ^ "Library and Archive catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  4. ^ Namier, Lewis (1985). The House of Commons 1754-1790. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9780436304200.
  5. ^ "Catalogue description Will of Bourchier Cleeve of Footscray Place , Kent". 17 March 1760 – via National Archive of the UK.
  6. ^ "Bourchier Cleeve". 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Morning Post". 15 January 1833.
  8. ^ Engineering. Office for Advertisements and Publication. 1879. p. 389.
Parliament of Great Britain Preceded bySir William Yonge, BtJohn Heath Member of Parliament for Honiton 17541761 With: Henry Reginald Courtenay Succeeded byHenry Reginald CourtenayJohn Duke Preceded byHenry Reginald CourtenayJohn Duke Member of Parliament for Honiton 1763–1796 With: John Duke 1763–1768Brass Crosby 1768–1774Laurence Cox 1774–1780Alexander Macleod 1780–1781Jacob Wilkinson 1781–1784Sir George Collier 1784–1790George Templer 1790–1796 Succeeded byGeorge ChambersGeorge Shum Preceded byGeorge HardingeCharles Williams-Wynn Member of Parliament for Old Sarum 1799–1801 With: George Hardinge Succeeded byParliament of the United Kingdom Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byParliament of Great Britain Member of Parliament for Old Sarum 1801 With: George Hardinge Succeeded byGeorge HardingeJohn Horne Tooke Political offices Preceded byThomas Townshend Secretary at War 1782–1783 Succeeded byRichard Fitzpatrick Preceded byRichard Fitzpatrick Secretary at War 1783–1794 Succeeded byWilliam Windham Preceded byThe Marquess Townshend Master of the Mint 1794–1799 Succeeded byLord Hawkesbury Government offices Preceded byFrancis Dundas, acting Governor of the Cape Colony 1799–1801 Succeeded byFrancis Dundas, acting Baronetage of England Preceded byWilliam Yonge Baronet(of Culliton) 1755–1812 Extinct