YELVERTON, Sir WILLIAM (1400?–1472?), judge, born probably about 1400, was son of John Yelverton of Rackheath, Norfolk, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Rede or Read of Rougham in the same county, and widow of Robert Clere of Stokesby. The father was recorder of Norwich in 1403, and William was educated for the legal profession, possibly at Gray’s Inn, where he is said to have been reader. In 1427 he was justice of the peace for Norwich, of which he was recorder from 1433 to 1450. On 24 Sept. 1435, and again on 30 Dec. 1436, he was returned to parliament for Great Yarmouth, and at Michaelmas 1439 he was made serjeant-at-law. In 1443 he was appointed a judge of the king’s bench, and, in spite of some apparent reluctance to recognise the new king (Paston Letters, i. 131, 150, 172), he was continued in this office by Edward IV, who knighted him before September 1461. His name occurs in many judicial commissions | in the early years of Edward’s reign, and he was annually appointed justice of the peace for Norfolk and Suffolk (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1461-7, passim).
In 1459 Sir John Fastolf [q. v.] had appointed Yelverton one of his executors, and he thus became involved in the prolonged disputes about the disposition of Fastolf’s property; he generally acted in concert with William Worcester [q. v.] in opposition to the Pastons, and there is frequent mention of his name in the ‘ Past on Letters.’ When Henry VI was restored in 1471 Yelverton was transferred to the bench of common pleas (Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 316), but on Edward IV’s return he disappears from the list of judges. He died on 27 March, probably in 1472, and was buried in Rougham church. The inscription on his tomb, printed by Weever, has no date. Rubbings of the monumental brasses to him and his second wife in the vestry of Rougham church are given in British Museum Additional MSS. 32478 ff. 50, 121, 122, 32479 H. 10.
Yelverton married, first, Joan, daughter of Sir Oliver Grose; and, secondly, Agnes, daughter of Sir Thomas Brewse, and widow of John Rands, who survived him, and died in 1489. His son John married Margery, daughter of William Mosley, and was father of Sir William Yelverton, who married, first, in 1477, Anne, daughter of John Paston (1421-1466) [q. v.] Sir Christopher Yelverton [q. v.] was descended from his second marriage with Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Brewse. [Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner, passim ; Cal. Patent Rolls ; Dugdale’s Origines ; Official Return of Members of Parl.; Foss’s Lives of the Judges; Harl. MS. 1174, f. 4; Visitation of Norfolk, 1563; Blomefield’s Norfolk; Weever’s Funerall Mon.; Burke’s Extinct Baronetcies.]
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 63
Yelverton, William (1400?-1472?) by Albert Frederick Pollard