Yorke, Philip (1743-1804) (DNB00)
YORKE, PHILIP (1743–1804), author of the ‘Royal Tribes of Wales,’ born in 1743, was the son of Symon Yorke (d. 28 July 1767) of Erddig, a few miles south of Wrexham, who married Dorothy, daughter and heiress of Matthew Hutton of Newnham, Hertfordshire. His grandfather, Simon Yorke, was uncle of Philip Yorke, first earl of Hardwicke [q. v.] Philip was admitted a fellow-commoner of Bene't (Corpus Christi) College, Cambridge, in 1765, and was created M.A. per literas regias in the same year. Three years later he was admitted a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Through his wife's interest he obtained a seat in parliament for the Cornish borough of Helston, in the place of a member disqualified by order of the House of Commons (October 1774), and he retained this seat until he retired in 1781. Subsequently he sat for Grantham from 17 Jan. 1792 until 7 Jan. 1793, when he accepted the stewardship of the manor of East Hendred, and made over the representation to his son Simon. His panegyrists wrote of him that his most distinguishing trait was his talent for conversation, ‘which made him the very life and delight of society;’ but he never spoke in the House of Commons, owing to a ‘constitutional diffidence.’ In his later years he turned his attention to Welsh history and genealogy, and in 1795 issued seventy copies of his ‘Tracts of Powys,’ a genealogical history of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, and the ‘Third Royal Tribe of North Wales’ (1795, 4to, printed by J. Marsh at the Druid Press, Wrexham). The dedication, to Thomas Pennant of Downing, is dated ‘Erthig, 20 April 1795.’ An appendix contains interesting letters from Lewis Morris to William Vaughan and others. In a revised and expanded form this work was reissued in 1799 as ‘The Royal Tribes of Wales’ (London, 4to), a valuable brief account of the five regal tribes, with much interesting information of their distinguished descendants. The illustrative portraits, drawn by J. Allen and engraved by W. Bond, are those of Lord Ellesmere, Sir Thomas Myddelton, Sir John Wynn, Humphrey, duke of Buckingham, Catherine of Beren, George, lord Jeffreys, Sir John Trevor, Sir Orlando Bridgman, Humphrey Llwyd, Sir Thomas Hanmer, and Sir William Williams. The British Museum Library has Robert Southey's autograph copy of Yorke's ‘Royal Tribes’ (‘Keswick, 22 Dec. 1834’).
Yorke had the intention of proceeding in the same manner with the fifteen tribes of North Wales, but this scheme he was unable to realise. This study, wrote one of his critics, ‘rather dry in itself, was in his hands enlivened by a variety of authentic and entertaining anecdotes, many of which had escaped preceding historians.’ At the same time we are assured that his ‘taste for natural beauty was very correct.’ Yorke died at his seat of Erddig Park, Wrexham, which he had greatly embellished since he succeeded to the property, on 19 Feb. 1804. He married, first, on 2 July 1770, Elizabeth, younger daughter of Sir John Cust [q. v.]; and secondly, in 1782, Diana, widow of Ridgeway Owen Meyrick and daughter and heiress of Pierce Wynne of Dyffryn Aled, Denbighshire. He was succeeded by Simon Yorke (1771–1834), his eldest son by his first wife. A portrait of Yorke by Gainsborough was engraved by Scriven; another with a dog, by Reynolds, was engraved by Bartolozzi.[Annual Register, 1804, p. 474; Gent. Mag. 1767 p. 430, 1804 i. 280; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1898, p. 1659; Williams's Dict. of Eminent Welshmen, p. 552; Graduati Cantabr.; Chalmers's Biogr. Dictionary; Official Return of Members of Parliament; Courtney's Parliamentary Represent. of Cornwall; Moule's Bibl. Herald. p. 488; Monthly Rev. 1799, iii. 252; Malone's Dict. of Engl. Literature; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, Nos. 11679, 23223; Addit. MS. 32967 ff. 16, 267; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn); Brit. Mus. Cat.]