Elihu Yale, of Place Gronow, Esq.

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Elihu Yale, Esq.

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut
Death: July 8, 1721 (73)
London, Middlesex, England
Place of Burial: Wrexham, North Wales, Wales
Immediate Family:

Son of David Yale and Ursula Yale
Husband of Catherine Yale and Katharine Elford
Partner of Heironima de Paiba
Father of Catherine North; David Yale; Ann Cavendish; Ersula Yale and Charles Yale
Brother of Joseph Yale; Elizabeth Yale; David Yale; Theophilus Yale; Thomas Yale and 2 others

Occupation: Governor of East India Co., Benefactor of Yale College, Govenor of Madras, a Governor in the East Indies
Managed by: Susan
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elihu Yale, of Place Gronow, Esq.

Elihu Yale (April 5, 1649 – July 8, 1721) was a British merchant, philanthropist, governor of the British East India Company, and a benefactor of Collegiate School of Connecticut, which in 1718 was named Yale College in his honor.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elihu_Yale

Born in Boston, Massachusetts to David Yale (1613–1690) and Ursula Knight (1624–1698), Yale was the grandson of Ann Lloyd (1591–1659), who after the death of her first husband, Thomas Yale (1590–1619) in Chester, Cheshire, England, married Governor Theophilus Eaton (1590–1657) of New Haven Colony. In 1652, when Elihu was three years old, the Yale family moved back to England and never returned to North America.

Yale's ancestry can be traced back to the family estate at Plas yn Iâl near the village of Llandegla, Denbighshire, Wales. The name Yale is the English spelling of the Welsh place name, Iâl.

For 20 years, Yale was part of the British East India Company, and he became the second governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1687, after Streynsham Master. He was instrumental in the development of the Government General Hospital, housed at Fort St. George. Yale amassed a fortune in his lifetime, largely through secret contracts with Madras merchants, against the East India Company's directive. By 1692, Elihu Yale's repeated flouting of East India Company regulations and growing embarrassment at his illegal profiteering resulted in his being relieved of the post of governor.

Yale returned to London in 1699, and resided at Plas Grono, near Wrexham, a mansion bought by his father. Having amassed considerable wealth, Yale spent it liberally in England.

In 1718, Cotton Mather contacted Yale and asked for his help. Mather represented a small institution of learning that had been founded as the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701, and it needed money for a new building in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale sent Mather a carton of goods that the school subsequently sold, earning them £800 pounds sterling, a substantial sum in the early 18th century. In gratitude, officials named the new building Yale; eventually the entire institution became Yale College.


Dudley North, of Glemham, in Suffolk, who m. Catherine, daughter of Elihu Yale, esq. a governor in the East Indies.

From The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 145. By John Nichols.   Page 206. Memoirs of the North and Long Families:

"This gentleman was a native of America, who went out as an adventurer to the East Indies, and found his speculation, if not answer his most sanguine wishes, far exceed the probabilities of advancement in his favour. He obtained the Presidency of Madras, and appears to have ruled the colony with most oppressive authority. An anecdote, illustrative of his arbitrary disposition, is recorded in a way arising from that authenticity which gives it irrefragable proof."

  • >"His groom, having rode out a favourite horse two or three days for the purposes of airing and exercise, without first obtaining leave to authorise his so doing, the Governor caused him peremptorily to be hanged up, for daring to use such a supposed discretionary power. For this murder he was ordered to return to England; and, having been tried for the crime, by some undetected oeillet of the law he escaped the punishment of death, and only suffered a heavy pecuniary fine." (1)

"He was also remarkable for his auctions. The first of these was about the year 1700. He had brought such quantities of goods from India, that, finding no one house large enough to stow them in, be had a public sale of the overplus; and that was the first auction of the kind in England."

"He lies buried in the churchyard of Wrexham, in Denbighshire, and on his tomb is the following inscription, which, while it describes an uncommon diversity of fortune attending an individual, contains a modest confession, and breathes the proper moral sentiment of a memento mori:

"Under this tomb lyes interred Elihu Yale of Place Gronow, Esq. born 5th April, 1648, and dyed the 8th of July, 1723, aged 75 years."

  • Born in America, in Europe bred,
  • In Affiic travell'd, and in Asia wed,
  • Where long he liv'd and thriv'd, at London dead.
  • Much good, some ill he did, so hopes all's even,
  • And that his soul, through mercy's gone to Heav'n.
  • Ymi that survive and read this tale, take care
  • For this most certain exit to prepare,
  • Where, blest in peace, the actions of the just,
  • Shall sweet and blossom in the silent dust."

"The altar-piece of Wrexham was brought from Rome and given to the church by Mr. Yale. It is a fine painting, representing the Institution of the Sacrament. 'Mini is a portrait of this gentleman at Glemham-hall."


  • 1 Harris's Collection of Voyages and Travels.



  1. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies ... By John Burke, Sir Bernard Burke.  Page 99.  "Cann."

Elihu Yale was a British (born in the USA) merchant and philanthropist, governor of the East India Company settlement at Madras and a benefactor of the Collegiate School of the Connecticut which was named Yale College (now Yale University) in his honor.

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Elihu Yale, of Place Gronow, Esq.'s Timeline

April 5, 1648
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut
Age 35
Madras, India
Age 36
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India
Age 41
July 8, 1721
Age 73
London, Middlesex, England
Age 72
Wrexham, North Wales, Wales