Yarranton was born at Larford, Worcestershire some time in 1616, and died in or near Worcester, probably early in 1685. At age sixteen he was apprenticed to a linen draper in Worcester, but ran away almost at once. He is vague about his movements for the next few years, and probably made a living of sorts as an agricultural labourer. He was a presbyterian, or at least had sympathy with the presbyterians, and it is possible that he was also engaged in political activity during this period. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Parliamentary army and served throughout the war, holding the rank of captain by war's end. He left the army some time before 1652 and went into business, establishing a small iron foundry and attempting, with various partners, to develop schemes for building canals and improving river navigation. Between 1662 and 1660 he attempted several such projects on the rivers Salwarp and Stour, but all failed thanks to lack of capital. Yarranton was also interested in agricultural improvement, and he was one of the first in England to recognize the importance of clover as a fixer of nitrates in soil.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.