West Hendford

West Hendford

Formerly Horsey Lane


Originally West Hendford was known as Horsey Lane, sometimes referred to as Horses Lane, and ran from its entrance opposite the Three Choughs in Hendford to the catchpool (now the junction of West Hendford and Beer Street) before turning sharply left to Hendford Bridge by today's Railway Hotel.

Today's West Hendford appeared as Salthouse Lane on E Watts' map of 1806 and as Horsey's Lane on E Watts Jnr's map of 1831.

At the southern end of today's Salthouse Lane was a tan yard owned by John Perrott and facing today's West Hendford. Perrott was in dispute with the Town Commissioners and threatened to 'indict' the road unless they would put it into good repair. The authorities refused to be threatened but a compromise was reached in 1835 when it was agreed that the road, from the Three Choughs to today's Beer Street, was to be put into good repair at the expense of the private residents (of which there were very few), but after February 1836 the responsibility for maintenance of the road would be assumed by the Commissioners.

West Hendford was a rural lane bounded both sides by fields and orchards and in the 1841 Census it was listed as both Horsy’s Lane and Horsey’s Lane but only contained three households with a total of twelve people. In the mid-nineteenth century Horsey Lane was re-named West Hendford, apart from the final short stretch between the catchpool and Hendford which remains Horsey Lane to this day.

In a complete change, and for no currently-apparent reason, today's West Hendford was named Cricket Lane in the 1901 census. In fact Cricket Lane was a colloquial name used simply because a field used for cricket was situated off West Hendford, at the time a simple track beyond Beer Street, between the allotments and the Westland factory complex. This was later the Somerset County Cricket ground for five First-class matches between 1935 and 1939.

Although a few more houses had appeared by the time of the 1901 Ordnance Survey in the area of Manor Road, fields still bounded the north of West Hendford from Salthouse Lane to Beer Street. Most of the remaining houses, including The Crescent, were built in the late 1930s, just before the Second World War.

West Hendford was bisected by the construction of Queensway in the 1970s.



This section of Bidder's map of Yeovil of 1843 shows the extent of Hendford Park - the grounds of Hendford House (today's Manor Hotel) - all but filling the space between today's West Hendford, seen running from top right to lower left, and Hendford, running down the right hand side of the map. At the bottom, in the land marked as 'Mr R Tucker' was Hendford Lodge, the lodge to Hendford House.

The map also shows the length of the original Horsey Lane running from top right diagonally to lower left then running diagonally down to just right of centre at the bottom.


This photograph is the view from Hendford, with the photographer's back against the Three Choughs Hotel. At extreme left is the Three Choughs Hotel's guest's garage, then the narrow entrance to West Hendford. The building at left is the former Oxford Inn and at right is Mr Banfield's Cottage Café and the Chough's Restaurant (previously the Chough's Tap) above what would become Modelkits, owned by Mr Banfield's son, Bob, later Verger at St John's church. Photograph taken about 1960.

The quaint roundabout with the traffic light had gone by the early 1970's - in fact when I moved to Yeovil in 1973 there were no traffic lights in the town whatsoever. Those were the days!


This photograph, taken around 1960, shows the very narrow entrance to West Hendford running alongside the Oxford Inn. Note that the Three Coughs Hotel (standing immediately behind the photographer) had a garage for patrons. This was the former livery stables of the Three Choughs Hotel.


The entrance to West Hendford seen in 2012, now blocked to vehicular access. The site of the former Chough's stables / garages now occupied by a massive block of flats.


Looking back to the entrance of West Hendford and its junction with Hendford opposite the Three Choughs in 1956. The photo shows how narrow West Hendford was at its junction with Hendford. At the end of the road, beyond the van, is the Three Choughs Hotel. At the end of West Hendford, on the left just before the van is the Oxford Inn and all along the right hand side are the former livery stables and later garaging of the Three Choughs Hotel.  


A similar view of the early 1960s. Everything, apart from the Three Choughs, is now gone - including the van. 


Demolition of the cottages begins, around 1965.


Today, apart from the width of the road, everything has changed. Photographed in 2012.


Moving west along West Hendford, at extreme left is the corner of Morley House and at centre the houses of Felix Place. Photographed in the 1960s.


.... and a little further west, again in the 1960s.


Courtesy of Vivien and John Cornelius. This photo features in my book 'Now That's What I Call Yeovil'.

The last remaining building from the original Wellington Street seen from West Hendford. Photographed in 1998 at which time it was the premises of Taylor's Paints, who had taken over what had originally been the old candle factory at the junction of Salthouse Lane and Wellington Street with West Hendford.


The same building seen from West Hendford and, photographed in 2015.


Honeycombe's shop at 61 West Hendford on the corner of Manor Road. Probably photographed around 1915. In 1910 the shop was run by Mrs Burrows - that may be her in the doorway.


West Hendford seen from The Crescent and looking across to the junction of Manor Road with the former Honeycombe's shop at left and Mike Loveless' betting shop on the other corner. Photographed around 1965.


West Hendford House is on the north side of West Hendford next to the junction with Berkeley Road. It is a fine, double-fronted, two-storey large residence typical of its period. It was built in 1896 by Levi Beer and was built on the former field known as Hibbard's Orchard (Parcel 311). Photographed in 2013.


Now further west, the Brunswick Glove Co's glove factory in West Hendford is the white building with the car outside. The junction with Horsey Lane and Beer Street is seen left of centre. Photographed in the 1960's. I remember this well as the photograph was taken from outside the front of my house.


Courtesy of Tony Robins

Outside Harold Robins' shop on Wednesday 9 July 1958. The West Hendford / Beer Street / Horsey Lane crossroads was a bit of a racetrack at the time and this car ended up on its roof outside the shop. The driver of the upturned vehicle was Peter Unwin (then a teacher at Yeovil School) and his passenger was another teacher, Miss Whelan, who taught music. The car was driven by Mr R Cobner of 15 Kingston. Tony Robins recalled "There was petrol pouring out of the car and that bloke was standing there with a lighted cigarette in his hand!"


Many thanks to Barry Rawlings for passing on this snippet from the Western Gazette's edition of 18 July 1958 - “CROSS-ROAD CRASH Mr PR Unwin, 2 Yeovil-road, Montacute, writes thanking all those kind people who were so helpful after the accident at the Horsey-lane—West Hendford cross roads on Wednesday week. Mr Unwin was driving a small utility-type vehicle which was involved in a collision with a car driven by Mr R Cobner of 15 Kingston.”



Photographed in the 1960s, from the junction of Beer Street (bottom left) and Horsey Lane (bottom right) while West Hendford runs off to centre right, towards the town centre. The corner shop was run by Harold Robins who bought it in 1927. The building had been purpose-built as a shop in 1888 and Harold bought it from the previous shopkeeper, Mrs Palmer.


Courtesy of Tony Robins

The Robins' shop on the corner of Beer Street (left) and West Hendford (running across the photograph). It was built, more or less, on the site of the earlier catchpool. Photographed in the 1980s it was, by this time, being run by Harold Robins' son, Tony.


Looking east along West Hendford, back to the junction with Horsey Lane and Beer Street, right of centre. Photographed in 2015.


Courtesy of John Cornelius. This photograph features in my book "Now That's What I Call Yeovil"

This Art Deco-inspired light industrial unit was built in 1954 for the electricity board. It was empty by 2008 and demolished in 2010.


Courtesy of John Cornelius. This photograph features in my book "Now That's What I Call Yeovil"

This building in West Hendford (on the opposite side of the road to the building in the previous photo) was Douglas Seaton's Accident Repair Centre - now replaced by blocks of flats.