the history of yeovil's pubs





market street inn

7 Market Street


The Market Street Inn was, funnily enough, in Market Street although of course the road had at that time only recently been named as such. At one time a small brook called the Rackel stream (actually little more than an open sewer) had crossed the road close to the Pall Tavern and was shallow enough to be forded, hence the name of Market Street for hundreds of years was Rackleford or Reckleford - even up until the 1840s (not to be confused with today's Reckleford which was originally Reckleford Hill).


Yeovilians remember....

Many thanks to Tony Robins for the following - "Many of Yeovil's pubs were quite small. The Wellington Inn for instance, in Wellington Street, was only a tiny little room with a hatch in one wall. Beer was passed through the hatch from the kitchen which was used as a tap room. The Market Street Inn was the same."


The Market Street Inn was just a few yards up Market Street from the Pall and backing on to the cattle market. It enjoyed special traditional market day opening hours that meant that farmers and dealers attending the market could get a 'wet' breakfast at something like seven in the morning.

Several pubs in Yeovil were allowed special market day opening hours on Fridays, basically staying open all day at a time when most pubs only opened for three hours at lunchtime and then closed for the afternoon, opening again later for the evening session. More than once I've taken a half-day's leave from the office and had a 'market day afternoon' which, at the time, was a rare treat now almost forgotten with today's relaxed 'open all day' licensing laws.



Although it doesn't name it in any of the records in which James Chaffey appears, he must have been licensee of the Market Street Inn. James Chaffey was born about 1837 in Yeovil and was married to Louisa. The two records of him running a beerhouse in Market Street occur in Kelly's Directory of 1872 and 1875. In the 1881 census, the only other record in which I could find him, James Chaffey, with his wife Louisa and son James, was working as a tanner and living at the Market Street Inn, at the time being run by William Ramsdale - although the license was still in the name of Mrs Chaffey and was transferred to Robert Scriven at the Borough Petty Sessions in April 1885. In 1891 Louisa and James were living in South Western Terrace immediately next door to the Alexandra Hotel. Louisa described herself as 'living on my own means' and was listed as married but James was conspicuous by his absence. The exact situation was replicated in the 1901 census. Louisa died in the summer of 1903 but what became of James is a complete mystery.

William Benjamin Ramsdale was born December 1846 in Newington, Southwark, London and I first found him in the 1871 census living in Lambeth, south London, working as a porter. By the following year he had moved to Yeovil and in October 1872 married Emily, who was ten years his senior. In the 1881 census he was listed as a beer house keeper and grocer with Emily at 7 Market Street. Although the premises weren't named in the census, Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of the following year listed William as licensee of the Market Street Inn at that address. By 1889 William was running the Volunteer Inn at Hendford although he didn't stay there too long as in the 1891 census he and Emily were living in Rimpton, five miles northeast of Yeovil, where William was a grocer and shopkeeper. They were still in Rimpton in 1911 when William was listed in the census as a shopkeeper and Emily was listed as his assistant. William died in March 1930, aged 84.

The next licensee, Robert Scriven, was born in Crewkerne in 1834, the son of Hugh Scriven and his wife, Martha née Bartlett. In the 1851 census Hugh Scriven's occupation was listed simply as householder while Robert was an agricultural labourer. In 1861 Hugh was described as a late farmer while Robert was now a tallow chandler - in other words a maker and seller of tallow candles. Tallow being rendered beef or mutton fat, the tallow chandler was considered by Henry Mayhew (who undertook a groundbreaking and influential survey of London's poor in the late 1840's) to be one of the smelliest, odious and lowest forms of occupation. Although, to be fair, Mayhew hadn't visited Yeovil which was, at the time, described as "very stinking place" in a Government report of 1849. In 1871 and, indeed, 1881 Robert was still working as a tallow chandler and, perhaps unsurprisingly, was still living on his own in Crewkerne. By 1891 however, Robert had married and he and his wife, Maria, were living at the Market House Inn where Robert's occupation was listed in the census as publican. Sadly, it was not to last as Robert died in December 1895.

William Albert Dade was born in Yeovil in April 1858, the son of leather dresser William Dade and his wife, glove pointer Keziah, née Culliford. In the 1861 census William, Kesiah and their six children (of whom William was the youngest) were living in Rotten Row (today's Market Street). By 1871 the family had moved to Queen Street; William was still employed as a leather dresser but Keziah was listed as a shopkeeper and 12-year old William was employed as an errand boy. By 1881 William was a journeyman tailor, living on Reckleford with his new wife, Emily Jane, and baby daughter, Emily. Emily died in June 1887 and William remarried in January 1889. The 1891 census lists him as a tailor living at 3 Wyndham Street with his second wife, Annie, ten-year old daughter Emily (from his first marriage) and baby Gertrude. In 1895 Kelly's Directory listed William as a tailor and beer retailer at the Market Street Inn but by the following year, 1896, he had moved to the Nelson Inn in Eastland Road. The 1901 census lists William as a tailor and innkeeper, living with Annie and four daughters; Emily, Elsie, Lilian and Audrey (baby Gertrude had died in 1891 aged just 9 months). Some time during the following ten years William became the licensee of the Bell Inn and the 1911 census lists him as the innkeeper with Annie assisting in the business, with Elsie, Lilian and Audrey still at home. William died in June 1926.

After William Dade left the Market Street Inn he was replaced by John Sutton who was listed in Kelly's Directory of 1897 and Whitby's 1898 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser although he actually died in December 1897 aged 62. It's a bit tricky sorting out his early life as there was more than one John Sutton in Yeovil at the time. Nevertheless his widow, Susan / Susanna took over the license after his death. She was born in Marston Magna around 1835 but I couldn't trace her before or after the 1901 census. She was last listed as licensee of the Market Street Inn in Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.

Herbert James Holwill was born in Yeovil in March 1872 the son of police sergeant Joseph Holwill and his wife, Tryphena. In 1881 Joseph, Tryphena and their seven children were living at 8 Union Street, next door to the police station but by 1891 they were living in the police station in East Street, Crewkerne. At this time Herbert was an apprentice printer's compositor and in January 1895 he married Annie in Yeovil. In the 1901 census Herbert and Annie were listed in Reckleford and Herbert was working as a printer compositor but by 1907 the Yeovil Directory listed him (incorrectly as T Holwill) as licensee of the Market Street Inn. He and Ann were listed in the 1911 census and Herbert was listed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1912 but by 1914 they had moved on. Herbert died in Sturminster Newton, Dorset, in June 1960 at the age of 88.



This map, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, shows Market Street named as such for the first time and running from its junction with Silver Street and Court Ash at bottom left to Reckleford Hill, today's Reckleford, at top right. The Market Street Inn was the large building immediately above the 'MA' of Market Street.



One of the earliest references to the Market Street Inn is this report of the sad demise of Mary Ann Baker in the 13 February 1874 edition of the Western Gazette.


Photographed in 1960 by Charrington & Co Ltd's surveyors as part of a 'stocktaking' exercise of photographing Brutton's pubs prior to the brewery takeover.


Market Street photographed in 1965 and looking back to the Pall Tavern and St John's church. The Market Street Inn is the white building at right.


Probably taken at the same time as the first photograph, this looks northeast along Market Street towards the junction with Vincent Street.



1872 – James Chaffey – Beer Retailer and Shopkeeper (Kelly's 1872 Directory) in Market Street
1875 – James Chaffey – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1875 Directory) listed in Market Street
1881 – William Ramsdale – Beer House Keeper & Grocer (1881 census) pub not named
1882 – William Ramsdale (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) as Market Street Inn
1885 – Mrs Chaffey - Temp license transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, April)
1885 – Robert Scriven - License transferred (Borough Petty Sessions, July)
1889 – Robert Scriven – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1889 Directory) pub not named
1891 – Robert Scriven – Publican (1891 census) listed as Market Street Inn
1894 – William Day – License transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, November)
1894 – John Sutton – License transferred (Borough Petty Sessions, November)
1895 – William Dade – Tailor & Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) pub not named
1897 – John Sutton – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1897 Directory) pub not named
1898 – John Sutton (Whitby's 1898 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1899 – Mrs Susan Sutton (Whitby's 1899 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1901 – Susanna Sutton (66 year old widow) – Beerhouse Keeper (1901 census) pub not named
1903 – Susanna Sutton (Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1907 – T (sic) Holwill (1907 Yeovil Directory)
1911 – Herbert Holwill - Innkeeper & Printer’s Compositor (1911 census)
1912 – Herbert James Holwill (Whitby's 1912 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1914 – Walter Tompkins – charged with selling beer to a 14-year old (Petty Sessions, July)
1914 – Frederick Tompkins – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) pub not named
1915 – Frederick Tompkins (Whitby's 1915 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1919 – Frederick Tompkins – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1919 Directory) 7 Market Street
1923 – Frederick Tompkins – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) pub not named
1923 – Frederick Tompkins – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) pub not named
1924 – Tompkin - selling bagatelle board (Western Gazette, July) as Market Street Inn
1938 – W Hurley (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1939 – William Hurley (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1947 – J Collins (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1949 – FA Collins (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1951 – FA Collins (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1954 – LW Waddleton (Snell’s 1954 Directory) pub not named
1957 – JH Waternorth (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1960 – Licensee not named (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Market Street Inn
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Market Street Inn