yeovil people

LoWman Mitchell

Glover and Beerhouse Keeper


Lowman (also spelt Loman) Mitchell was born in Yeovil around 1813, the son of James Mitchell (1769-1839) and Mary née Quick (b1769). Little is known of Loman's early life, although in 1833 when he was aged 20, he spent some time in Ilchester Gaol while awaiting trial for larceny. He was accused of "Stealing a Beer Glass of Job Thomas". At the Michaelmas Sessions held on 14 October 1833, he was found not guilty and discharged.

At the time of the 1841 census, Lowman was recorded as aged 23, single and boarding in Higher Kingston. He gave his occupation as a glover. His father had recently died and I could find no trace of his mother at this time. Lowman was listed with his (presumed) siblings; 15-year-old brother Elam (b1826), a glover's apprentice, and his 11-year-old sister Evaline (b1830).

On 4 October 1841, at Yeovil, Lowman married Mary Warren Sims or Symes (1818-1903). Mary, born in Sherborne, Dorset, was the daughter of William Symes (1799-1850) of Charminster, Dorset, and Mary née Warren (1786-1830). Lowman and Mary were to have at least eight children, all born in Yeovil; Lowman Jnr (1843-1916), Joseph (1844-1908), Evalina (1846-1931), Samuel (1851-1921), Rose (1851-1924), Philip (b1853), Mary Selina (b1858) and Kathleen, known as Kate, (1861-1930).

In 1850, Hunt & Co's Directory listed Lowman as a beer retailer of Reckleford (today's Market Street). This was the beerhouse known as the Bricklayers' Arms. The following year, the 1851 census recorded Lowman as a glover and beerhouse keeper and was living with his wife, Mary, and their two small sons, Loman junior and Joseph, on Reckleford Hill (today's Reckleford) where he was landlord of the Nag's Head.

By 1861 he was described as a 'glover layer out' and lived with Mary and their seven children at Rakes Buildings, Reckleford Hill. In the 1871 census, Lowman and Mary, now aged 57 and 52 respectively, together with daughters Rose, Mary and Kate were still living at Reckleford hill - albeit not at the Nag's Head. Lowman gave his occupation as a glover, Mary gave hers as a laundress and 19-year-old Rose was a dressmaker.

Lowman was a member of the Yeovil Guardian Friendly Society and the Western Gazette, in its edition of 29 May 1874 (see Gallery), reported that Lowman was one of four members granted an annual pension of £10 (just shy of £1,000 at today's value). These pension payments were invariably given to Society members who had fallen on hard times. In Lowman's case, it was because he was now blind and disabled with paralysis.

During the following decade, together with Mary, daughters Mary and Kate, and grand daughter Rose, Lowman emigrated to Gloversville, New York, United States, where the family were recorded in the 1880 US federal census (which also recorded 67-year-old Lowman's disabilities). Mary gave her occupation as 'keeping house' while both the daughters were working as glovers.

Lowman died in Gloversville, shortly after his arrival from Yeovil. He was aged 67. Mary died in Gloversville on 6 June 1903, aged 84.




From my collection

A postcard showing a sketch of Ilchester Gaol from shortly after Loman spent time there.


The Nag's Head where, in 1851, Lowman Mitchell was the landlord. This photograph was taken in the mid-1960's. The site of the Nags Head Inn today is marked by the central reservation of Reckleford, just down from the Black Horse


Lowman wasn't all bad - as this story from the Western Flying Post's edition of 23 September 1851 recounts.


Sadly, no photograph of Lowman is known, but this is a photographic portrait of Mary Mitchell.


The 29 May 1874 edition of the Western Gazette's report on the Yeovil Guardian Friendly Society's meeting at which it was reported that Lowman received £10 a year as a pension.