Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Young, Thomas (1507-1568)

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YOUNG or YONGE, THOMAS (1507–1568), archbishop of York, was the son of John Young and Eleanor his wife, and was born at Hodgeston or Hogeston, near Llanfey, Pembrokeshire, in 1507. He became a student at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, and graduated B.A. 14 June 1529, M.A. 19 March 1533, as secular chaplain, B.C.L. 17 Feb. 1538, (disputation for) D.C.L. 13 Feb. 1566 (fuller details in Boase, Register of University of Oxford, p. 1 57), and was admitted in London (Wood, Fasti, i. 105). He became principal of his hall in 1542, and resigned in 1546. He had already become vicar of Llanfihangel Castle Walter, Cardiganshire, in 1541, rector of Hogeston (his birthplace) in 1542, and, in the same year, of Nashwith-Upton, Pembrokeshire, prebendary of Trallong in the collegiate church of Abergwilly, near Caermarthen, in 1545, and of Caron in the collegiate church of Llanddewi-Brefi in 1560. In 1542 (Le Neve, Fasti, i. 316) he became precentor of St. David's Cathedral, entering into residence in 1547, ‘in which year he was present at the convocation’ (Archdeacon Yardley's MS.) ‘Much scandalised’ at the actions of Robert Ferrar [q. v.]. bishop of St. David's, who had made him his commissary, he, with others of the canons, drew up articles against him, which were investigated by a commission appointed by Edward VI in 1549. Ferrar, in vindication of himself, accused Young and another canon of spoiling the cathedral of crosses, chalices, censers, and other plate, jewels, and ornaments, to the value of five hundred marks or more, ‘for their own private lucre’ (details in Archdeacon Yardley's MS.) Foxe comments very severely on Young's conduct.

On Queen Mary's accession Young was one of the six who, in convocation in 1553, publicly avowed his adherence to the Reformation and resigned his preferments (Le Neve; cf. Dixon, Hist. of the Church of England, iv. 75). He fled to Germany, ‘and there lived obscurely.’ His successor, Morgan Phillips, fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, was collated precentor on 31 May 1554.

On the accession of Elizabeth, Phillips was deprived (1559) and Young was restored. He was shortly afterwards appointed with others on a commission to visit the Welsh cathedrals (Woodd, Athenæ Oxon. i. 463). On the deprivation of Bishop Morgan, he was elected bishop of St. David's on 6 Dec. 1559, confirmed on 18 Jan. 1560, consecrated at Lambeth on 21 Jan. 1560 by Archbishop Parker and the bishops of London, Ely, and Bedford. He was already, it appears, a friend of Lord Robert Dudley, whom he begged to obtain for him the restoration of the temporalities of his see (Cat. State Papers, Dom. 1547−80, p. 151, March 1560). He obtained the restitution on 23 March (cf. Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 561, 576). He received license to hold in commendam the precentorship and a canon's stall, the rectory of Hogeston, and the prebend of Trallong, because of the great extent of his diocese and its expense (license in Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 533). On the deprivation of Nicholas Heath, archbishop of York, Parker recommended Young to the queen as Heath's successor (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547−80, p. 161, For. 1560−l,p. 339; Cal. Hatfield MSS. i. 229). He was elected archbishop on 27 Jan. 1561, and confirmed on 25 Feb., receiving restitution of the temporalities on 4 March 1561.

From the moment of his arrival in the north Young was immersed in the work of pacifying the country, bringing it to conformity in religion, and acting as the royal representative in political and religious matters. He was an active president of the council of the north. His constant correspondence with the queen and Cecil shows him energetic in checking moral offences, in judging on assize, and in reviving the archiepiscopal mint. He was present with Parker at the interviews Elizabeth had in 1561 with De Quadra as to possible reunion through a general council (Cal. State Papers, Spanish, 1558−67, pp. 201, 204). He was given charge of the young Charles, son of the Countess of Lennox, and ordered to repress the Romanist tendencies of the family (ib. p. 447; Dom. 1565, p. 567). As president of the council of the north he received 666l. 13s. 4d. per annum. In his archiepiscopal visitation he claimed the right to visit the diocese of Durham, but was resisted (ib. For. 1561−2, pp. 136, 226). His activity in spreading the work of the Reformation seems to have been very great, and his ‘painful forwardness in setting forth the true religion’ is often recorded (e.g. Cal. State Papers, For. 1561−2, p. 135). On 30 June 1563 he reported to the queen that 'touching ministers and administration of the sacraments they are now thoroughly agreed in these parts according to law' (ib. 1564−5, p. 68).

He was bold in rebuking vice in high places, and even ‘thought well ... to admonish and counsel the queen with regard to her method of life and conduct’ (ib. Spanish, 1558−67, p. 553). On a similar occasion, having spoken to Elizabeth with the archbishop of Canterbury on religious matters, they are reported to have 'come out very crestfallen.'

In 1561 he sat on the commission at Lambeth which drew up the articles. On 26 March 1564 the university of Oxford conferred on him the degree of D.C.L. (see above). In 1564 he visited and reformed the college at Manchester. In 1566, on account of his age, a suffragan, with the title of bishop of Nottingham, was consecrated to assist him (Dr. Richard Barnes, 9 March 1566).

Young is said to have granted several long leases, and to have pulled down buildings belonging to the palace at York for the sake of the lead (see references in Le Neve, Lives of Archbishops). Sir John Harington accuses him of a 'drossie and unworthy part, with which he stained the reputation of learning and religion' (Briefe View, p. 171). He died at Sheffield on 26 June 1568, and was buried in the east end of the choir of York Minster, where his monument still remains. His will is dated the previous day, and was proved on 15 March 1568.

He married, first, a daughter of George Constantine, registrar of St. David's (Foxe, Acts and Monuments, p. 1772); secondly, Jane, daughter of Thomas Kynaston of Estwick, Staffordshire, by whom he had a son, Sir George Young (fl. 1612).

[Manuscripts of chapter of St. David's, Archdeacon Yardley's MS., Menevia Sacra, communicated by the Very Rev. W. H. Davey, dean of Llandaff; Lansd. MS. 981, ff. 45-6; Anthony Wood's Athenae Oxon. ii. 800, and Fasti i. 91, 96, 105; Boase's Register of University of Oxford (Oxford Hist. Soc.); Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714, s.v. 'Yonge;' Calendars of State Papers, Domestic, Foreign. Spanish; Hatfield MSS.; Macleane's Hist. Pembroke Coll. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.); Sir John Harington's Briefe View of the State of the Church of England, 1653; Foxe's Acts and Monuments, ed. 1570; Machyn's Diary (Camden Soc.); Le Neve's Lives of Archbishops, and Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Heylin's Hist. of the Reformation; Burnet's Hist. ed. Pocock; Rymer's Foedera, vol. xv.; Stubbs's Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum; Godwin's Catalogue of Bishops (copy in Bodleian Library with manuscript notes by Anthony Wood).]

W. H. H.