the history of yeovil's pubs






40 Kingston


There are more Red Lion or Lion Inns in England today than almost any other name. When James VI of Scotland (1566-1625) became James I of the combined kingdoms in 1603 he ordered that his heraldic Red Lion of Scotland be flown from all buildings of any importance, including inns and alehouses.

The White Lion was the symbol of Edward IV (1442-1483) and the Golden Lion that of Henry I (1086-1135).

In his un-witnessed will of 1652, John Hayne wrote "... I give to my Wife Dorathie my house called The Red Lyon in Yeovill And all my goodes whatsoever ...".

In his will of 1667, parchment maker Mathew Will wrote "Item I give and bequeath unto my Wife during her life my house with the Outhouses thereunto belonging [word illegible] called the Redlyon Scituate in the Burrowe of Yeovell in the County aforesaid and after her decease I give the same to my Sonne Mathew Wills for and during his life And from and after my Sonne Mathews decease I give and bequeath the same to my Sonne Samuel."

Although the earliest reference I could find was 1667, it had probably been an inn for many years before that. Having said that, the Red Lyon of 1667 (see above) may have been at a different location or an earlier building. Certainly the Red Lion under discussion here was shown on Edward Bullock Watts' map of 1804.

A lease dated 30 March 1780 between George Cayme of Yeovil, Glover and William Cayme of Yeovil, Lin Cloth Maker, (sons of Mary Cayme, Widow Dec’d) and John Daniell of Yeovil, Banker, refers to the lease of ".... a dwelling house called the Red Lion Alehouse in Yeovil with 1½a."

At the time of the 1846 Tithe Apportionment it was noted that the inn was owned by Ann Reed and the tenant was Thomas Barter.

Yeovil's Red Lion Inn was a large, substantial building mostly of three storeys with extensive stabling and, according to its advertising, lock-up coach houses and loose boxes to let. Horses, traps, carriages, brakes and vehicles were also all let out. The Notice of Sale dated 1873, shown below, noted that the inn had cellars, a brew house, coach house, stables and other outbuildings plus a "large productive garden".

The Red Lion was demolished in 1966 as part of the widening of Reckleford and Kingston.


Yeovilians remember...

Many thanks to Carolyn Osborn for the following memory - "I went to St Gilda's school and we were frequently marched, two by two, through Bide's Gardens to wait at the Red Lion bus stop. There was a small shop opposite the pub that sold sweets, but we weren't allowed to go in. Naturally, we often did venture into the shop and one day I bought some bubble gum. Showing off to my friends I blew an enormous bubble that burst in my face and covered my hair. I got myself into double trouble - told off by the nun for going into the shop and told off again later by mum for getting bubble gum in my hair."



Robert Reade was recorded as licensee in 1822 and by 1830 his widow, Mary, was licensee and was to run the Red Lion for some ten years. Mary was born about 1776 but not in Somerset. In the 1841 census Mary was listed as an inn keeper in Kingston although the pub was not named. She was living with two of her daughters, Mary aged 30 and Anne aged 25. The Tithe Apportionment of 1846 records daughter, Ann, as as the owner and Thomas Barter as the occupier.

Thomas Barter was born in Beaminster, Dorset, on 28 August 1806 the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Barter. He was running the Red Lion by at least 1846 and was mentioned as licensee in several trade directories until 1861. The 1861 census listed him as the innkeeper at the Red Lion with his wife, Jane, a general servant and an ostler. Thomas died on 17 November 1863 and his will was proved, with effects under £450, on 23 January 1864 "The Will of Thomas Barter late of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Innholder deceased who died 17 November 1863 at Yeovil aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry by the oath of Jane Barter of Yeovil aforesaid Widow the Relict the sole Executrix." Jane was listed as licensee of the Red Lion in the 1866 Post Office Directory. Jane died on 15 December 1871 and her will, with effects under £100, was proved 12 January 1872 "The Will of Jane Barter late of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Widow who died on 15 December 1871 at Yeovil was proved at the Principal Registry by John Woodman of Stoke-under-Hamdon in the said County Accountant and Joseph Chaffey Moore of Yeovil Gentleman the Executors."

The next licensee, David Watts, was born about 1823 in Abbotsbury, Dorset, the son of farmer John Watts and his wife, Mary, née Boatswain. In the 1841 census David was still living with his parents, younger sister and four younger brothers and gave his occupation as a butcher. By the time of the 1861 census David was married to Amelia and they were running the Trooper Inn at Caundle Stourton, Dorset. By 1871 David was innkeeper at the Red Lion with Amelia and was still listed there in the 1875 Post Office Directory although he died in March 1875.

William Henry Stamp took over the license after the death of David Watts. William was born in Exeter, Devon, about 1850, the son of boot and shoe maker John Stamp and Susanna, née Weeks, his wife. The family (including William's eight siblings) lived in Catherine Street and were still there ten years later although by this time many of the older children had left home and there was a new addition, Reuben. By 1871 William had moved to Yeovil and was working as the head boots at the Three Choughs Hotel. In April 1874 he married Stella Bevis in Yeovil and Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1879 listed him as the licensee of the Red Lion. In the 1881 census he is listed as the innkeeper with Stella and two of their three children - William, Stella and Percy. William moved his family to Bristol during the early 1880s and then to Ringwood, Hampshire.

Mark Vincent was born in Thornford, Dorset, around 1840, the son of farmer John Vincent and his wife, Maria. On 11 September 1860 he married Louisa Woodsford at Beer Hackett, Dorset. Louisa had been born about 1840 in Canford, Dorset, the daughter of farmer William Woodsford of Beer Hackett and his wife, Ann. The following year they were boarding with farmer Henry Ridway at Beer Hackett where Mark was employed as an assistant on the farm and Louisa was employed as the housekeeper. In the 1871 census, still in Beer Hackett, Mark was listed as a farmer of 110 acres employing four men. He and Louisa now had three children under 10; Maria, John and a daughter recorded as ECT Vincent (but actually named Elizabeth). During the next ten years there was a great change for Mark and Louisa for by 1881 they were living in the Duke of Cambridge on Lewisham High Street, London, where Mark was listed as 'innkeeper beer retailer'. With him were Louisa and Elizabeth. By 1884 the family were in Yeovil and Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of that year listed him as the licensee of the Red Lion, but Mark died in June 1886 and thereafter the Red Lion was being run by his widow, Louisa. She is recorded as licensee, probably jointly with her son John (as both had advertisements in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser in 1896 - see above), until around 1900 after which John Vincent was licensee for a couple of years until he too died. The Red Lion was then run briefly by his widow, Emily. Louisa Vincent, in the meantime, had left the Red Lion around 1900 to run the George Hotel in Middle Street, where she was to remain licensee until the mid-1920's. She died in Yeovil in September 1928.

From about 1900 Louisa's son, John, took over the license but he was dead by 1907 when his widow Emily took over. She remarried, becoming Emily Clarke, and continued as the Red Lion's licensee until at least 1916.

Charles Brown (see photograph below), licensee from at least 1919 until 1947 owned a team of four horses and ran a twice-daily carrier service to Taunton, changing horses at Curry Rivel. He was reputed to own the first commercial motor car in Yeovil.


Sketch Plans of the RED LION Hotel


These are sketch plans based on originals held at the Heritage Centre, Taunton. The original plans are dated 1948 when the Red Lion was owned by Brutton, Mitchell Toms Ltd. The steps at top left led up to the extensive gardens.





A notice of the sale of the Red Lion Inn in the 16 May 1873 edition of the Western Gazette.


The Red Lion Inn is seen at right, partly hidden by the tree, in this photograph taken around 1905. Next door to the pub, identified by the flag pole, was the Yeovil County School.


Posing for the photographer outside the Red Lion, regulars prepare for a Saturday afternoon trip circa 1922. Licensee Charles Brown holds the reins and whip.


A photograph of Kingston looking towards Princes Street taken during the late 1920s. At extreme left is the Red Lion, directly ahead is the Mansion House and the tower of St John's church while at right is the Kingston Hotel.


From my collection

The Red Lion Hotel, photographed in the early 1930s. What looks like a glass-fronted shop was, in fact, the games room.


This photograph, taken during the 1930's, is almost taken from the same spot as the first. The position would now be somewhere under the Reckleford approach to the Hospital Roundabout. Behind the bus shelter at right was Red Lion Lane, a footpath leading to Higher Kingston.

From the Cave Collection (colourised). Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

The Red Lion Inn, in this photograph taken in the 1960s, is seen to be a substantial three-storey building. The archway, or porte-cochere, was the entrance to extensive stabling at the rear of the premises.


Flooding in Kingston, outside the Red Lion, in 1948. Between the Red Lion and the bus stop seen at right was the entrance to Red Lion Lane.


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


From the Cave Collection (colourised). Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

This photograph, taken during the 1960's, probably makes the location of the Red Lion much clearer with Vincent's showrooms, now Batten's offices, at the junction of Princes Street and Court Ash. Red Lion Lane started (or ended) between the Red Lion and the bus stop.


From the Cave Collection (colourised). Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

... and pretty much the same view but taken a few yards further north.


Courtesy of Jack Sweet

The Red Lion, probably photographed in the early 1960s.


From the Cave Collection (colourised). Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

The demolition of the Red Lion, photographed in 1966.


Constructing the hospital - this shows Kingston and the site of the recently demolished Red Lion.


Almost the same view today - Battens' office building is clearly identifiable as the old Vincents showroom building in the photo above and Princes Street is seen to its right. The Red Lion would have been roughly where the central reservation in Reckleford is now as it approaches the Hospital Roundabout just out of shot to the right. 




1652 – John Hayne (will of John Hayne)
1654 – Dorathie Hayne (widow of John Hayne)
1667 – Mathew Wills, owner (will of Mathew Wills)
1668 – Mary Wills, owner (will of Mathew Wills)
1784 – Bailey (Notes of LC Hayward)
1793 – Red Lion insured with the Sun Fire Office by William Cayme
1822 – Robert Reade (Pigot’s 1822 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1824 – Robert Read (Pigot’s 1824 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1828 – Mary Read, owner-occupier (Land Tax Return SRO-Q/RE1)
1830 – Mary Reed, owner-occupier (Land Tax Return SRO-Q/RE1)
1830 – Mary Reed (Pigot’s 1830 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1839 – Mary Reed (Robson’s 1839 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1841 – Mary Reed – Inn Keeper (1841 census) listed in Kingston
1842 – Mary Reed (Pigot’s 1842 Directory)
1846 – Ann Reed, owner – Thomas Barter, occupier (Tithe Apportionment) Red Lion Inn
            and Garden
1850 – Thomas Barter (Hunt's 1850 Directory) listed as Red Lion (Market Inn), Kingston
1851 – Thomas Barter – Licensed Victualler (1851 census) listed as the Red Lyon Inn
1852 – Thomas Barter – Inn Keeper (Slater’s 1852 Directory) listed as the Red Lion, Kingston
1859 – Thomas Barter (Harrison, Hodder & Co's 1859 Directory)
1861 – Thomas Barter – Inn Keeper (1861 census) listed as the Red Lion
1861 – Mrs Jane Barter - Landlady - witness in felony case (Police Court, April)
1866 – Mrs Jane Barter (1866 Post Office Directory)
1871 – David Watts – Inn Keeper (1871 census) listed as Red Lion Inn
1873 – David Watts – occupant (Notice of Sale, above)
1875 – David Watts (1875 Post Office Directory)
1875 – David Watts (Kelly's 1871 Directory - Hotels & Inns)
1879 – WH Stamp.(Whitby's 1879 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1880 – WH Stamp.(Whitby's 1880 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1881 – William Henry Stamp – Inn Keeper (1881 census) listed as Red Lion
1881 – WH Stamp – Proprietor (Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser 1881) as Red Lion Hotel
1884 – Mark Vincent (Whitby's 1884 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1885 – Mark Vincent (Whitby's 1885 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Red Lion Hotel
1886 – Mark Vincent (Whitby's 1886 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1887 – Louisa Vincent (Whitby's 1887 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1889 – Louisa Vincent (Whitby's 1889 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1889 – Mrs Louisa Vincent (Kelly’s 1889 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1891 – Louisa Vincent - summoned for selling whiskey 32 degrees under proof.
1891 – Louisa Vincent (widow aged 49) – Licensed Victualler (1891 census) as Red Lion Hotel
1894 – John Redway Vincent (1894 Western Gazette Almanac)
1895 – Louisa Vincent (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) listed as Red Lion PH
1896 – John Vincent – (Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser 1896) listed as Red Lion Hotel
1897 – Mrs Louisa Vincent (Kelly’s 1897 Directory) listed as Red Lion
Louisa ran the George Hotel between 1900 and the mid-1920's.
1901 – Louisa Vincent (Whitby's 1901 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1901 – John Vincent (son of Louisa above) – Hotel Proprietor (1901 census) as Red Lion Hotel
1902 – John Vincent (Kelly’s 1902 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1907 – Mrs EK Vincent (1907 Western Gazette Almanac)
1911 – Emily Vincent (34 year old widow of John above) - Hotel Proprietor (1911 census)
1912 – Mrs EK Clarke (1912 Western Gazette Almanac)
1914 – Emily Clarke (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) listed as Red Lion PH
1916 – Mrs Emily Kate Clarke (Whitby's 1916 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1919 – Charles Browne (Kelly’s 1919 Directory) listed as Red Lion PH.
1923 – Charles Brown (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1936 – Charles Brown (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
1938 – Charles Brown (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
1939 – Charles Brown (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Red Lion PH
1947 – C Brown (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
1949 – RC Brown (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Red Lion
1951 – RC Brown (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
1954 – RC Brown (1954 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion – RC Brown then moved to the
           newly-opened Fleur-de-Lys on Mudford Road
1957 – J Davies (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
1960 – J Davies (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red Lion
Demolished 1966.