north lane house

north lane house

North Lane


North Lane House was a large residence with four reception rooms and six bedrooms on the south side of North Lane; its location is now covered by the entrance to the North Lane car park.

The house, at right angles to North Lane, was of two storeys and three bays under a double Welsh slated roof with a projecting porch. In the photograph of 1955 below it is seen that the structural stability of the house had been compromised and required shoring up. This was possibly as a result of the bombing raid of 12 October 1940 in which nearby Church House and St John's church also sustained damage. The house was demolished in the 1960's.

Its gardens covered the area which is today’s North Lane car park and extended as far as Church Path. Part of its garden wall complete with its Ham stone garden entrance, photographed below, survives.

The house probably dated from the 1820's being certainly shown on E Watts' map 1829 when it was noted that it was the premises of a Mr Andrews. The house is certainly shown on Watts' map of 1831 (see below) and possibly on his map of 1806 (also below). Watts' 1831 map notes the property as belonging to Mr Raymond and the 1832 Poll Book lists Richard Raymond as the owner of the freehold house in North Lane. The 1846 Tithe Apportionment noted that North Lane House, as 'House & Garden' (Parcel 33) was owned and occupied by Richard Raymond (d1854) and that the area of land occupied was 0a 1r 20p.

In the 1851 census it was the home of 54-year old Charles Raymond who lived there with a domestic servant and an errand boy. Raymond caused North Lane to be known to a generation of Yeovilians as Raymond's Lane. He was a shoeing smith employing four men and two boys.

By 1861 Charles Raymond was no longer residing at North Lane House but two spinster relatives, Ann and Sarah Raymond aged 66 and 62 respectively, had taken residence.

During the 1870s a Mrs Hewitt was in residence, but she left in August 1877.

In 1881 North Lane House was the residence of 73-year old spinster Amelia Wilmington, who was of independent means. Living with her was her niece, Martha Watts, together with a cook, housemaid and gardener. Remaining a spinster, 65-year old Martha Watts was "living on her own means" at North Lane House in 1891, again with a cook, housemaid and gardener. Miss Watts was still in residence in October 1896 when she advertised in the Western Gazette for "Cook (good plain) wanted immediately. One lady. Two servants kept" and again in August 1898 when she advertised for a new cook. In September 1910 Messrs Palmer were instructed to sell the furniture and contents of North Lane house "by Miss Watts, leaving England".

In July 1918 then-resident Alexander Buchanan, a 49-year old widower who worked as a tailor and draper, was categorised as Grade 2 and given temporary dispensation to avoid enlisting for military service. Alexander clearly married again as in 1932 Mrs Buchanan placed an advertisement in the Western gazette seeking a general servant "Plain cooking. Two in Family".

In 1948 North Lane House was home to John R Vincent and his wife Joan née Snell. On 3 October 1948 their son Christopher John was born. Sadly Christopher died in Yeovil hospital on 15 January 1950 and at the inquest the Coroner stated that "there had been rumours floating around Yeovil that a child had not been treated properly". However after just a brief retirement the jury found that the death was "from natural causes and that there was not the slightest evidence of neglect on the part of anyone concerned".

By 1950 North Lane House was a branch office of the Western Provident Association for Hospital and Nursing Home Services Ltd and was also the premises of 'Rita, Dressmaker' who advertised extensively in the Western Gazette. Later in the 1950's North Lane House was the premises of tailor SE Low.



E Watts' map of 1806 shows Sheep Lane, today's North Lane. The house below the 'ee' of Sheep may be North Lane House.


E Watt's map of 1831 shows North Lane House as Parcel 270, the property of Mr Raymond.

The 1886 Ordnance Survey showing North Lane House, left of centre, in its extensive gardens just below the 'O' or North Lane.




A report of the burglary at North Lane House as reported in the 16 January 1855 edition of the Western Flying Post. The Mr Raymond mentioned in the report was Charles Raymond.


North Lane House, from a blurry photograph of the 1920s.


A notice of the sale of North Lane House placed in the 6 October 1933 edition of the Western Gazette, noting that the house had four reception rooms and six bedrooms.


An aerial view of North Lane House at centre, taken in 1955.  At this time there was clearly doubts about its structural stability as indicated by the two reinforcing struts on the front elevation, either side of the entrance porch. Notice the market sheds of the Fair Ground in the top right quadrant. The complex of small buildings to the immediate right of North Lane House had earlier been one of several town centre abattoirs.


North Lane House, at left, from a photograph taken in 1956 overlooking the market sheds of the Fair Ground.


A still from a home movie of around 1962 taken from the top of the Odeon Cinema and showing the eastern end of the garden of North Lane House running across the bottom with St John's churchyard at left and the Chantry at top right.


A blurred still from the same video showing the house itself with the double reinforcing struts.


North Lane car park - the whole of this area was originally the grounds of North Lane House as seen in the movie still above. Photographed in 2013 from the location of the house.


The Ham stone entrance to North Lane House gardens still survives in the remains of its fine boundary wall seen from Church Path. This is now the car park pedestrian entrance. Photographed in 2013.