YOUNG, Richard (c.1580-1651), of Philip Lane, London; later of Weybridge, Surr. and Aldermanbury, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



c. Oct. 1605
1624 - 24 Mar. 1624
31 Mar. 1624

Family and Education

b. c.1580,1 2nd s. of Lewis Young of Bryn Yorkin, Caergwrle, Flint. and Lawri, da. of Lewis ap Ievan of Galchog, Northop, Flint. educ. L. Inn 1597. m. 22 Jan. 1618, Martha, da. of Robert Forth of Butley Priory, Suff., wid. of Sir Thomas Hayes (d.1617), Draper, of Aldermanbury, London, lord mayor of London 1614-15, s.p. kntd. 7 Jan. 1618; cr. bt. 10 Mar. 1628.2 bur. 19 Mar. 1651. sig. Ri[chard] Yonge.

Offices Held

Sec. to Edward Zouche, 11th Lord Zouche by 1603-17,3 to Sir Francis Bacon* 1617-21;4 jt. clerk of the patents 1618-25;5 gent. of the privy chamber by 1622-46;6 acting clerk of the Hanaper 1634-at least 1643.7

Collector of customs, Sandwich, Kent by 1618-21;8 freeman, Dover, Kent 1620, 1624;9 j.p. Hants 1625-33, Surr. 1626-42;10 commr. subsidy, Surr. 1626, 1629, 1641,11 to survey Dorney House, Weybridge 1629,12 charitable uses, Surr. 1630,13 sewers, I.o.W. 1631, Surr. 1632,14 Poll Tax 1641, array 1642.15

Member, E.I. Co. 1618.16


Young came from a cadet branch of a Welsh family which had assumed an English surname after marrying a local heiress seven generations back. After studying at Lincoln’s Inn he found employment as secretary to Lord Zouche, who became lord president of the Marches in June 1602. Zouche used the enfranchisement of Bewdley in 1605 to provide Young with a seat at Westminster and himself with a spokesman in the Commons.17 How far Young took an active part in parliamentary affairs is unclear, as he is not distinguished in the Journal from John Young*. However, he certainly served on the committee for the Welsh government bill, delivering ‘a very long speech’ on the report stage in his employer’s defence (10 Mar. 1606), and he also achieved sufficient prominence while at Westminster to merit a mention in the Fart poem: ‘ I knew the time, quoth Mr. Young, if he had thus slipped, / In the marches of Wales he had been sore whipped’.18 The fact that he was well known among his colleagues perhaps suggests that it was Young rather than the Member for Rye who was appointed on 3 Feb. 1606 to attend the conference on the recusancy laws, and that it was also he who was assigned to the committee for the bill of attainder on the Gunpowder plotters (30 Apr.) and instructed to attend the king with the House’s grievances (14 May). It was probably Young, too, who, in the third session, was chosen to help confer with the Lords over the Union with Scotland (24 November).19 When Parliament resumed for the fourth session, it was presumably Young who was required to attend the conference with the Lords of 15 Feb. 1610, at which the Great Contract was proposed, and who accompanied the Speaker with the Commons’ response on 28 May. It also seems likely that it was he who was among those chosen to attend the king with the House’s grievances on 7 July, and who held the petition while it was read to James.20 He left no trace on the records of the fifth session. While a Member of the first Jacobean Parliament, Young evidently lived at Zouche’s London house in Philip Lane.21

Following his master’s loss of office in 1607, Young remained in Zouche’s employment but he was in no position to stand for election to the Addled Parliament. In June 1615, however, Zouche became lord warden of the Cinque Ports, and doubtless it was through Zouche’s intercession that Young was subsequently appointed collector of customs at Sandwich. Young remained in Zouche’s service until at least March 1616, when the corporation of Dover presented him with a silver cup ‘in respect of the love and affection that Mr. Young, his lordship’s secretary, hath and may have to this corporation’.22 However, by July 1617, though still on cordial terms with the lord warden, he had transferred to the service of the newly appointed lord keeper, Sir Francis Bacon, who required an additional secretary. Bacon was much better placed than Zouche to secure honours and advancement for his servants, and in 1618 Young began to reap the benefits of his change of employer. Knighted at Whitehall in January, he was appointed joint clerk of the patents three months later, along with Robert Pye*. This office, which he held for life, was specially created for him, and since it involved him in constant attendance about the great seal he was empowered to appoint a deputy to discharge his duties as a customs official.23 In addition, in June 1618 Young, together with his fellow Bacon secretary, Thomas Meautys*, and another man, were granted the right to levy 6d. on every writ issued to private individuals by the Crown in return for an annual rent of £1,000.24

A couple of weeks after he was knighted, Young married the widow of a wealthy London Draper, Sir Thomas Hayes, for whom he had acted in a property transaction a few years earlier.25 His wife, Lady Martha, brought with her a substantial estate - Young was later reputed to be worth £1,000 p.a., - and six months later she also transferred to him £2,000 worth of stock in the East India Company.26 In April 1619 Young carried the banner roll at the funeral of Anne of Denmark.27 He remained on good terms with Zouche, sending him news regarding Court affairs in June 1620, and consequently his former master recommended him later that year to Dover’s corporation for the third Jacobean Parliament.28 The corporation proved happy to oblige, and Young offered the usual £5 fee for the freedom of the borough, but the money was returned to him ‘in respect of the favour heretofore by him done and hereafter to be performed’.29

Young played a modest, though not insignificant, role in the 1621 Parliament. His appointments, of which there were six, included the committee for privileges and returns (5 Feb.), and the conference of 16 Feb. with the Lords on recusancy.30 On 29 Mar. he advised his constituents to send up ‘some knowledgeable person’ to represent the Cinque Ports before the free trade committee, and helped to consider the subsequent bill.31 His own interests were involved in the Wey navigation bill, which measure he was appointed to consider on 6 Mar., as his wife’s former husband had owned property at Weybridge, and it was there that he himself was living (in property leased from the Crown) by 1623.32 However, it was the impeachment of Bacon, now lord chancellor, that brought Young into unexpected and disagreeable prominence in this Parliament. One of the main charges concerned his cousin, a litigant named Edward Egerton, with whom Young had enjoyed ‘much inwardness and familiarity’ since their student days at the inns of court, and who ‘might have commanded more than any ordinary courtesy at his hands’.33 On 14 Mar. Egerton described to the Commons how, in the presence of (Sir) George Hastings*, he had given Young £400 in a purse or bag to be delivered to Bacon, and had been told that it was greatly accepted. ‘Grieved to hear or speak of this’, Young admitted that ‘the latitude of the lord chancellor’s favours to him hath far exceeded his deserts’; but being ‘summoned to answer here in a great senate’ he would neither ‘deny nor blanch truth’. With Hastings, he had indeed brought Egerton’s bribe to Bacon, who at first ‘gave a step back, making some doubt whether he might take it or no; yet took it ... to buy him a suit of hangings for his house, which was then preparing’. Bacon, however, had told both Hastings and himself that they must deny the story ‘upon his honour’. Young also confessed, on 20 Mar., to bringing Bacon a letter and cabinet from Sir John Trevor I*, who had a Chancery suit pending and whose estate of Plas Têg lay near the Young family property in north Wales. That same day Young was given permission to repeat his evidence ‘voluntarily’ in the Lords.34 Young did not escape completely unscathed from the inquiry, for on 22 Mar. he had to admit to an encroachment on the office of the Clerk of the Crown in sealing 14 pardons ‘which he ought not to have written’ and had to pay the clerk Sir Thomas Edmondes* £21 in fees.35

Young’s evidence played a crucial part in bringing about the fall of the lord chancellor, and threatened to bring an end to his own career in royal administration, but the ‘credit and favour’ of Pye’s patron Buckingham and ‘the intercession of my friends’ ensured that he was no loser by his betrayal, and he was made a member of the privy chamber.36 On duty on the evening of the day Parliament was dissolved (6 Jan. 1622), he acted promptly when the king was thrown by his horse into the New River. Alighting, Young went into the river and lifted out James, who had fallen through the ice so far ‘that nothing but his boots was seen’.37 It was probably this quick intervention that encouraged Young to apply, shortly before James’s death, for permission to rebuild his house at Weybridge, which he described as ‘so little and roomless that it cannot easily receive Your Majesty’s servant and his family together’.38

During the course of 1623 Young provided Lord Zouche with a steady stream of news from Court, and one occasion he even described himself as Zouche’s ‘faithful servant’. Following the announcement of fresh parliamentary elections in 1624, Zouche again obtained a parliamentary seat at Dover for his former secretary, though not before Young had to take out his freedom for a second time, ‘having lost the same, by being absent two years’.39 Soon after the election, Sir Henry Mainwaring, the former lieutenant of Dover Castle, who had unsuccessfully solicited the corporation for a seat, petitioned the Commons to complain that the election was invalid because the ordinary freemen were prohibited from voting. The matter was referred to the privileges committee, of which Young himself was a member, and on 23 Mar. the House ruled that the election was indeed void.40 However, it was also declared that the previously successful candidates, having behaved well, might be chosen again. Enclosing the new writ on 29 Mar., for which he himself paid the necessary fees, Young suggested to Zouche that to facilitate his return to the Commons the mayor should refuse to swear in Mainwaring and his election partner, Sir Thomas Wilsford*, as freemen.41 This mischievous idea was subsequently acted upon, much to the fury of Wilsford, and consequently Young was re-elected without further opposition on 31 March.42 Back in the House by 10 Apr., when he was named to the committee on the bill for the drainage of some North Kent marshland, he was among those appointed to consider bills for the relief of creditors against such as died in execution (17 Apr.) and for the naturalization of the dean of Rochester and two Scottish courtiers (4 May). However, so far as can be discerned, he was not particularly active in this Parliament, his eagerness for a seat being attributable to anxiety over the possible effect of the monopolies bill on his Chancery office. He was right to be apprehensive, for on 20 Apr. he was ordered to bring in his patent of appointment. However, despite complaints of extortionate charges from James Clarke II*, Sir Edward Coke recommended that the office should be allowed to continue on condition that it was not to be renewed on the death of the holders.43

In the spring of 1624 Young became a tenant of Lord Zouche’s house at Odiham, in north-east Hampshire.44 Towards the end of the year Zouche made over the lord wardenship of the Cinque Ports to Buckingham, and thereby brought Young’s parliamentary career to an end. Excused the usual fee for a baronetcy in 1628, Young purchased the Hampshire manor of Shalden from the son of Sir William Kingswell* for £5,050 at around the same time. However, there were difficulties over an encumbrance, and the property was resold to (Sir) Humphrey Bennet†.45 Together with Sir Kenelm Digby, George Kirke*, (Sir) Nicholas Crisp† and two others, Young formed a syndicate which was granted the exclusive rights to the Guinea trade for 30 years in June 1630. The partners quickly fell into debt, and it was not until a ship carrying £30,000 in gold arrived in England in 1636 that they turned a profit.46 In 1635 he lent the king £2,000, and his own credit was good enough at this time for the widow of the great financier Paul Bayning to lend him £500 on favourable terms.47 Following the suspension of George Mynne* in August 1634, Young was granted the right to act as clerk of the Hanaper. Subsequent attempts by Mynne to surrender his office to his neighbour and business partner Robert Parkhurst were thwarted by Young who, in November 1636, obtained a patent protecting his position.48 Though now acting clerk of the Hanaper, Young continued to help manage the Patent Office, the charges imposed by which he was obliged to defend before the commission on exacted fees in 1638.49

Following the abolition of Star Chamber in 1641 Mynne, claiming that he had been deprived by an illegal court, appealed to the House of Lords for restoration to office.50 In the short term his plea was disregarded, for as a servant of the king Young enjoyed immunity from legal action. On the outbreak of the Civil War, however, Young found his position more precarious, as he was obliged to attend the king at Oxford. He nevertheless continued to plead privilege as late as January 1643.51 Treated as a royalist delinquent thereafter, his London house was sequestrated in 1644 and let to William Strode*, while his Weybridge property was disposed of by the committee for the advancement of money.52 He compounded for his delinquency on the Oxford articles in 1647 for a mere £73, which sum he paid in January 1648, but remained impecunious, for in April 1649 he defaulted on a mortgage, whereupon his creditor entered onto his Surrey manor of Byfleet.53 He died intestate in the Fleet and was buried at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, on 19 Mar. 1651, the only member of his family to serve in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Aged calculated from date of admiss. to L. Inn.
  • 2. Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick, ii. 315; Arch. Camb. (ser. 4), vi. 329; L. Inn Admiss.; G.E. Cokayne, Ld. Mayors and Sheriffs of London, 68-9; CB.
  • 3. Cal. Wynn Pprs. 46; Add. 29623, f. 35.
  • 4. APC, 1616-17, p. 286; CJ, i. 565a.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 533; 1625-6, p. 29.
  • 6. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 282; LC2/6, f. 38; CCC, 1572.
  • 7. G. Aylmer, The King’s Servants, 120; LJ, v. 564b.
  • 8. SO3/6, unfol. 6 Apr. 1618; E351/619-24.
  • 9. Add. 29623, ff. 51, 64.
  • 10. C231/4, ff. 193, 197v; 231/5, f. 100; ASSI 35/84/6; 35/85/4.
  • 11. E115/437/57, 61; 115/436/74.
  • 12. E178/5664.
  • 13. C192/1, unfol.
  • 14. C181/4, ff. 89, 121v.
  • 15. SR, v. 65, 88, 155; Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 16. CSP Col. E.I. 1617-21, p. 229.
  • 17. For clear evidence that it was Young who was returned, see Worcs. RO, BA8681/236(i), p. 317.
  • 18. CJ, i. 272b, 281b; Add. 34218, f. 20v. In another version of the poem Young is described as ‘Sir John’ Young: J. Mennes, Musarum Deliciae, 69.
  • 19. CJ, i. 263a, 303a, 309a, 324b.
  • 20. Ibid. 394a, 434a, 447a; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 254.
  • 21. SP46/61/197.
  • 22. Add. 29623, f. 35.
  • 23. SO3/6, unfol. (6 Apr. 1618).
  • 24. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 548; C66/2174/4.
  • 25. PROB 11/130, f. 217; C78/449/3.
  • 26. C2/Chas.I/Y5/29, reply of John Coppinger, 6 July 1639; CSP Col. E.I. 1617-21, p. 231.
  • 27. LC2/5, f. 31v.
  • 28. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 152; SP14/119/2.
  • 29. Add. 29623, f. 96.
  • 30. CJ, i. 507b, 523a.
  • 31. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 159.
  • 32. CJ, i. 539b; PROB 11/130, f. 218; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 27.
  • 33. C2/Chas.I/Y2/36.
  • 34. CJ, i. 560b, 564b, 565a; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 161, 171-2; LJ, iii. 54b, 79b, 85b; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 354-5.
  • 35. C231/4, f. 121.
  • 36. Harl. 1581, f. 278.
  • 37. Birch, ii. 282.
  • 38. SP14/185/83.
  • 39. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 147; Add. 29623, f. 64.
  • 40. CJ, i. 748a.
  • 41. SP14/161/51.
  • 42. Eg. 2120, f. 2.
  • 43. CJ, i. 769b, 762a, 771a, 781b, 783b.
  • 44. CSP Dom. 1623-5, pp. 237, 249.
  • 45. Ibid. 1628-9, p. 6; C2/Chas.I/Y6/28; VCH Hants, iv. 103.
  • 46. CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 186; W.R. Scott, Constitution and Finance of English, Scottish and Irish Jt.-Stock Cos. to 1720, ii. 14-15; Select Charters of Trading Cos. ed. C.T. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), pp. xliv-xlv.
  • 47. SP16/540/132.
  • 48. Cal. of the Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 190, 199.
  • 49. E215/303 (13 Mar. 1638).
  • 50. LJ, iv. 519b, 520a; HLRO, HL/PO/JO/10.
  • 51. LJ, v. 508b, 509b, 510a, 564b, 565a, 570b.
  • 52. CCAM, 351.
  • 53. CCC, 1572; SP46/105, f. 158; Surr. Hist. Cent. 2284/1/1, f. 211.