yeovil people

William Henry Cockle

Watch and Clockmaker of Frederick Place


William Henry Cockle was born in Bath in 1846, the son of gardener John Cockle (1786-1851) and Charlotte née Stiles (b1810). William was baptised on 13 February 1846 at Bathwick. John, however, was to die before William was five years old and in the 1851 census his 44-year old widowed mother Charlotte was working as a laundress to support her five children; Mary (b1835), George (b1837), Eliza (b1839), Joseph (b1843) and 5-year old William.

William does not appear in census records between 1861 and 1881 probably due to service overseas while enlisted in the Royal Navy and the Royal Garrison Artillery.

In 1882, at the age of 36, William married 18-year old Emily Steele of Lydney, Gloucestershire, at Bath. William and Emily set up home in Yeovil and were to have ten children there (although only six reached adulthood); Georgina (1882-1972), Lilian (b1884), Herbert Joseph Steel (1886-1968), Reginald (1886-1970), Violet (1889-1891), Olive (b1890), Louise (1891-1974), Stanley (1894-1895), Arthur John (1896-1899) and William Charles (1898-1900).

In the 1891 census Henry, Emily and the first six of their children were living at 7 Frederick Place and 44-year old William gave his occupation as "Watch & Clockmaker". In Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1898 William was listed as a Watch Maker of 3 Frederick Place, a listing repeated in 1903.

In the following 1901 census the family was listed at 3 Frederick Place (probably the same residence as previously since a lot of street re-numbering went on in Yeovil around this time). William gave his occupation as "Watch & Clock Repairer", Georgina was a Card Box Maker, Lilian was a Dressmaker and Herbert was a Cabinet Maker.

Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1907 listed William as a Jeweller of 3 Frederick Place.

By 1911 65-year old William and 45-year old Emily had been married for 28 years. They were still living at 3 Frederick Place with Herbert, Reginald, Olive and Louise. William gave his occupation as Watch & Clock Repairer, Herbert was still a Cabinet Maker and Olive was still a Dressmaker. Reginald was a leather staker (but in Kelly's Directory of 1935 he was listed as a Watch and Clock Repairer of 47 Matthews Road).

With a wealth of military and naval experience behind him - and at the age of 68 - on 2 September 1914 William enlisted in No 3 Supernumerary Company of the Territorial Force attached to 20th Battalion, County of London Regiment for one year's service in the United Kingdom.

William's final trade directory listing was in Kelly's Directory of 1919 in which he was listed as "WH Cockle, Watch Maker, 3 Frederick Place".

William Henry Cockle died in Yeovil in the spring of 1929. He was aged 83. Emily died in Yeovil in the spring of 1932, aged 66.




Courtesy of Chris Rendell

Frederick Place photographed in 1983. William's home was most likely the house at far left.


William's attestation paper of 2 September 1914 - at the age of 68!!