Yeovil People

Susannah Collins



Susannah Collins, also recorded as Susanna and Susan, was born in Yeovil in 1783 and baptised at St John's church on 26 December 1783. She was the daughter of glove manufacturer Henry Collins (1752-1827) of Court Ash House and Elizabeth née Winter (1754-1821). Although claimed on the internet that Susannah was a twin with her sister Mary, the 1851 census recorded Mary as two years older. They were, however, baptised together on the same day.

Susannah had six siblings; Martha (1777-1825), Mary (1782-1872), Henry Jnr (1787-1841), Philip (1788-1835), Sarah (1790-1840) and Elizabeth (1793-1868). Martha married glove manufacturer William Willmington (1773-1860) in 1795, Mary married gentleman farmer John Bryant Phelps (1783-1818) in 1810 and Elizabeth married glove manufacturer Samuel Duffett (1793-1844) in 1821.

Susannah remained a spinster and, certainly by 1841, and despite owning Mansion House (see Gallery) in today's Princes Street, was living with her widowed sister Mary Phelps next door in today's Magnolia House. Indeed, Property apart, Susannah was an independently wealthy lady, with the cash legacies in her will amounting to £1,810 (around £180,000 at today's value).

Susannah Collins died on 30 December 1853, aged 70. She was buried in Yeovil cemetery and her name is inscribed on the Collins memorial in St John's church (see Gallery).


See the Collins Family Tree.




The record of the baptism of both Susanna and Mary Collins on 26 December 1783 from St John's parish register. Although claimed to be twins on the oh-so-reliable internet, the 1851 census shows that Mary was two years older than Susannah.


A contemporary sketch of Court Ash House by an unknown artist. Susannah lived here with her parents.


Mansion House, Kingston (now Princes Street), at the left with the nineteenth century extension, now known as Magnolia House at the right. At the time she made her will in 1854, Susannah owned Mansion House, but for most of her later life she lived with her sister, Mary Phelps, next door in Magnolia House which was, according to Susannah's will, owned by her sister Elizabeth Duffett.


The notice of Susannah's death in the 7 January 1854 edition of the Southern Times and Dorset Herald.


The Collins' memorial in St John's church. 


1854 Will of Susannah Collins


By this my last Will and Testament I Susannah Collins of Yeovil in the county of Somerset Spinster do give devise and bequeath all that my dwellinghouse (Mansion House) and premises situate at Kingston in Yeovil aforesaid now in the occupation of Mr Morse together with the garden pleasure ground right of roadway leading from the bottom of the said garden purchased by the late Mr Peter Daniell to and through a Lane called North Lane and all rights [members?] and appurtenances to the same belonging to my Sister Elizabeth Duffett of Yeovil aforesaid Widow To hold to her her heirs and assigns for ever I give and bequeath the sum of Three hundred pounds to be equally divided between the children of my said Sister Elizabeth Duffett as shall be living at the time of my decease share and share alike I give and bequeath to my Niece Amelia Collins Willmington the like sum of Three hundred pounds and to my Nephew Edwin Willmington I give and bequeath the sum of One hundred pounds Also I give and bequeath the sum of Two hundred pounds to my Niece Sophia Watts now in America Also I give and bequeath unto my Nephew Henry Bryant Phelps the sum of Three hundred pounds also the like sum of Three hundred pounds to my Niece Susan Donisthorpe Phelps and the like sum of Three hundred pounds to my Nephew Robert Phelps I give and bequeath to my Nephew John Bryant Phelps the sum of Ten pounds to purchase a piece of plate in remembrance of me and I wish my Executrix hereinafter named to present my Sister in Law Mrs Ann Collins [married to Susannah's brother, Philip] with a brooch as a token of my regard towards her And I hereby declare that any sum hereby given to any female shall not be subject or liable to the debts power or control of her present or any future husband with whom she may intermarry All the Rest Residue and Remainder of my Estate and Effects of what nature or kind soever or wheresoever situate I give devise and bequeath unto my Sister Mary Phelps to and for her own absolute use and benefit for ever And I appoint the said Mary Phelps sole Executrix of this my Will hereby revoking all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made but in case the said Mary Phelps should happen to die during my lifetime then I appoint the said Susan Donisthorpe Phelps sole Executrix of this my Will in witness whereof I the said Susannah Collins the Testatrix have to this my Will written on one sheet of paper set my hand this fourteenth day of September 1852

Susannah Collins

Signed by the said Susannah Collins the Testatrix as and for her last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who in her presence at her request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses hereto

Anne Whitmash      Jno Y Melmoth

Proved at London 3rd June 1854 before the Judge by the Oath of Mary Phelps Widow the Sister the sole Executrix to whom Adm[inistrati]on was granted having been first sworn by Commission duly to administer

Transcribed by Bob Osborn