John Ashton Yates

21st Jun 1781 - 1st Nov 1863

Claimant or beneficiary


Author of pamphlets on trade and slavery.

The son of of John Yates (1755–1826), minister of the Unitarian chapel in Paradise Street, Liverpool, and his wife, Elizabeth (1749–1819), daughter of John Brooks Ashton, merchant of Woolton Hall near Liverpool and widow of John Bostock (1744?–1774). His brothers were Joseph Brooks Yates (q.v.) (1780–1855), merchant and antiquary, and Richard Vaughan Yates (1785–1856), founder of Prince's Park, Liverpool.

The Yates family part of the Liverpool elites formed around dissenting religion, business interests and philanthropic and social institutions (literary etc.)

Educated by Rev. W. Shepherd of Gateacre (whose pupils included principal families of the district regardless of whether they were Church or Dissenters). Yates then attended Manchester Academy (later Manchester New College).

(Manchester Academy was begun in 1786; modelled on Warrington College. Run by English Presbyterians, it was one of several academies that provided dissenters with higher education. These academies were key 'training grounds' of Unitarianism as well as other dissenting traditions and supported the repeal of the Test & Corporation Acts, the abolition of slavery and other such good causes.)

Note that although Yates was brought up in this tradition he was also engaged with the slavery business.

While at the Academy, Yates studied with John Dalton, chemist and mathematician.

Apprenticed to William Rathbone's firm alongside Thomas Thornely, later MP for Wolverhampton, and Thomas Bolton, later Mayor of Liverpool. (According to Yates they remained friends for the rest of their lives.)

Subsequently Yates was not only a highly successful Liverpool broker but also, in London, a collector of enrgavings and paintings by old masters and these formed 'one of the finest private minor collections in the metropolis'.

Devotee of political economy as both reader and writer, including his Colonial Slavery (1824) and other writings.

Although Yates a Liberal he was not liberal enough for a minority of the electors of Bolton, where he stood unsuccessfully in 1832. But became MP for Carlow.

Married Frances-Mary, dau. of Rev. Verney Lovett, D.D., rector of Lismore, and niece of Sir Jonathan Lovett, Bart.


Frances (married 30 April, 1845, to Sir Richard Musgrave, Bart, of Tourin (?), Waterford.); Mary Ellen, married to Robert Needham Phillips (MP for Bury); Ellin-Mellissina; Isabella, (died unmarried); and Sophia, (married to Louis Tennyson-d'Eyncourt, youngest son of the late Right Hon. Charles Tennyson-d'Eyncourt, MP.

In 1861 John Ashton Yates aged 79 retired merchant was living at 33 Bryanston Square with wife Frances-Mary, 70 and daughter Eliza, 30. Will of John Ashton Yates late of Bryanston Square who died 01/11/1863 at the Park near Manchester proved (by two of his son-in-laws, Sir Richard Musgrave and Louis Charles Tennyson d'Eyncourt, both given as of Hadley House Barnet) 04/01/1864 effects under £20,000.

Partner (1816-27) in the firm of Yates and Cox, Iron Merchants and Nail Manufacturer, Liverpool with his brothers, Richard Vaughan Yates (1785-1856) and Pemberton Heywood Yates (1791-1822). The Yates brothers provided £15,000, including money lent to the partnership by their father, the Reverend John Yates. R. V. Yates carried on the business until he retired 1854.

Writings by or about John Ashton Yates: (copies are in the British Library)

Colonial Slavery. Letters to the Right Hon. W. Huskisson ... on the present condition of the slaves, and the means best adapted to promote the ... extinction of slavery in the British Colonies (London, 1824). [A view seeking to preserve the interests of the planters while aiming at the gradual extinction of slavery and the improvement of the morals and character of the slave population etc.] [Copy available through Google books]

Essays on currency and circulation, and on the influence of our paper system on the industry, trade, and revenue of Great Britain (London, 1827)

A letter on the distresses of the country: addressed to His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, in consequence of his motion respecting "The revulsion of trade, and our sudden transition from a system of extensive war to a state of peace;" in which the supposed influence of our debt and taxes, upon our manufactures and foreign trade, is investigated (2nd edn., London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1817).


For biographical details: Ireland Genealogical Projects. Appear to have derived the information from letters which were auctioned (on eBay) March 2008; but the provenance is not clear; for the firm see, Liverpool Record Office and Local History Service: Records of Yates, Cox and Company, Iron Merchants And Nail Manufacturer, of Liverpool.

For Yates see Samuel Ashton Thompson Yates, Memorials of the family of the Rev. John Yates. Who for many years resided at The Dingle, Toxteth Park, near Liverpool (1890), pp. 16-18.

We are grateful to Simon Tushingham for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Frances-Mary Lovett
5 daughters
Wealth at death
Private under Rev. W. Shepherd, Gateacre; Manchester Academy

Associated Claims (3)

£622 19s 2d
£263 7s 8d
£1,327 13s 4d

Legacies Summary

Commercial (3)

Name partner
Yates Brothers
General overseas merchant?  
Name partner
Yateses and Cox
General Investment

Historical (1)

Colonial... 1824 
notes →
Sub-title: Letters to the right hon. William Huskisson, President of the Board of Trade, &c. &c. on the present condition of the slaves, and the means best adapted to...

Political (1)

election →
Carlow Carlow
1837 - 1841
parliamentary notes →
Slavery Abolition Act: Committee on the Slavery Abolition Act Amendment Bill
House of Commons 06/04/1838

Relationships (1)


Addresses (1)

33 Bryanston Square, London, Middlesex, London, England