the history of yeovil's pubs





bunch of grapes (2)

Wine Street


At the demise of the first King's Arms, about 1850, the public house called the Bunch of Grapes in Silver Street assumed the name of the King's Arms. This freed up the name Bunch of Grapes which was taken on by an establishment in Wine Street, also known as the Grapes.

It was in the building, marked 'E' on the map at left, that had briefly been a beerhouse called the Running Horse. A fatal fight broke out in the Running Horse in 1843 and, probably as a consequence the Running Horse had its license removed and was forced to close. The second Bunch of Grapes under discussion here was certainly in the same building that had housed the Running Horse but whether or not it was run by the same landlord with a new license can only be conjecture. Since the first recorded licensee of the Bunch of Grapes, Thomas Brett, was recorded in 1856, some thirteen years after the fatal altercation, it is therefore most unlikely.



Thomas Brett was born about 1820 in Yeovil, the son of John Brett and his wife Elizabeth, née Ridout. In the 1841 census Thomas was listed as a beer seller in a beerhouse in South Street and was living with his brother John and his family. From the position of Thomas' entry in the census it is apparent that this beerhouse was the fledgling King's Arms (2).

In the 1851 census Thomas was listed in Middle Street as a taylor (sic) living with his mother, unmarried school mistress sister Catherine and a young niece, 11-year old Anna Williams.
According to the notes left by Leonard Hayward, Thomas was the licensee of the Grape Inn in Wine Street in 1856. By 1861 Thomas was married to Hannah and, with their small family, were living in Duke of York Court off Kingston. At this time Thomas was listed as a butcher and tailor.

By 1859 William Brown was advertising the Bunch of Grapes in Harrison, Harrod & Co's 1859 Directory. Although Kelly's Directory of 1861 lists William in the Grapes in Wine Street, the census of the same year lists him as a victualler living with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children. William died in the spring of 1867.

The relative position of William Brown's location in the census indicates that the Bunch of Grapes was situated in the same building that had earlier been occupied by the Running Horse.

Whether or not there was a hiatus between the Running Horse and Bunch of Grapes will probably never be known and it may be the case that Thomas Brett simply changed the name of the premises after he took it over. The animation here shows the development of the Grope Lane / Wine Street premises from 1800 through 1880.




1856 – T Brett, Grape Inn, Wine Street (Notes of LC Hayward)
1859 – William Brown (Harrison, Harrod & Co 1859 Directory) listed as Bunch of Grapes
1861 – William Brown – Victualler (1861 census)
1861 – William Brown (Kelly's 1861 Directory) listed as Grapes, Wine Street
1862 – William Brown – charged with open house on Sunday during Divine service. Dismissed
            (Petty Sessions, September)
1862 – Wm Brown – License decision adjourned 1 month (Petty Sessions, September)