yeovil people

William Banfield

Baker and Confectioner


William Banfield was born in Southleigh, Awliscombe, Devon, in 1840, one of the seven children of farmer turned general shopkeeper Thomas Banfield (1803-1879) and Elizabeth née Baker (1806-1873).  Thomas and Elizabeth's children were; Henry (1833-1909), Hannah (b1833), William, Catherine (1841-1842), Elizabeth (b1841), Henry (b1843) and Mary (b1845).

The family were recorded in the 1841 census at George Parke, Awliscombe, where Thomas was recorded as a farmer. However, the 1851 census found the family at Shute, Devon, and Thomas was recorded as 'Farmer out of Business'.

During the 1850s and into the 1860s, William, seen in uniform in this photograph, served in the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards with the Service Number 416 and rising to the rank of Corporal by 1860. It is most likely that William served in the Crimean War (1853-1856) and saw action with the battalion as they fought in the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-55), Balaklava (1854) and Inkerman (1854). In the 1861 census Corporal Banfield was recorded in the garrison at the Tower of London.

The 1871 census saw William as the butler, together with nine other servants in the household of magistrate Charles Frederick Devas at Bromley Lodge, Bromley, Kent.

On 10 February 1874, at Beddington with Wallington, Surrey, William married Louisa Maria Kelly (b1838). William and Louisa moved to Yeovil, where their four children were born; Louisa M (b1875), William Frederick, known as Fred, (b1876), Laura E (b1878) and Harry G (b1880).

William started a bakery in Middle Street (certainly by 1875), in premises opposite Bond Street. In 1876 he advertised himself as a 'Cook, Confectioner, Fancy Bread and Biscuit Baker' in the Western Gazette and within a year or two was advertising in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser as a baker, wholesale and retail confectioner and caterer for wedding parties, etc.

By August 1879 William had opened refreshment premises in High Street, opposite the Town Hall, offering wines and market day dinners. He applied for a license to sell wine at that time. From this point he frequently advertised both of his premises. In 1886 it appears that William entered a brief partnership with a Mr Gill (probably Albert Gill, who went on to become landlord of the Black Horse, Reckleford) for their Temperance Refreshment & Boarding House at 78 South Street, the former premises of John Perry's temperance hotel (see Gallery).

By the early 1890s, William occupied both 8 and 9 Sherborne Road. One of the premises was still his bakery but, surprisingly, in 1892 he advertised himself in the 3 June 1892 edition of the Western Chronicle as a florist, seedsman, etc. of Sherborne Road - presumably the premises next door to the bakery.

William Banfield died on 28 July 1904, at Gillingham, Dorset, aged 64. His will was probated at Taunton in October 1904 and his estate valued at £1,464 12s 6d (around £150,000 at today's value).

In 1928, William's son, William Frederick, known as Fred, opened the Cottage Café at 16 Hendford. It was later run by William's grandson, Eric Banfield until it was sold in 1972. William's great-grandson, Bob Banfield, ran the adjoining Modelkits until 1993.




Courtesy of Bob Banfield

20-year old Corporal William Banfield, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, photographed in 1860.


Courtesy of Bob Banfield

William Banfield, baker of Sherborne Road.



William's advertisement in the 28 April 1876 edition of the Western Gazette.


William's half-page advertisement in the 1878 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser in which he notes that his premises are opposite Bond Street. As well as baking bread and confectionary, William was also catering for weddings and other parties.


The notice of William's intention to apply for a license to sell wine at his new High Street premises, from the 15 August 1879 edition of the Western Gazette.


By the time of this full-page advertisement in the 1880 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser, William had opened new refreshment premises in High Street.


James Moffat's shop in High Street, photographed around 1905. From 1879 this had been William Banfield's refreshment premises. The building was rebuilt (or at least re-fronted) in 1974.


An advertisement in the 1886 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser for Banfield & Gill's Refreshment & Boarding House in South Street (see photo below). This is the establishment's only known advertisement.


This photograph features in my books 'Yeovil From Old Photographs' and 'Secret Yeovil'

This photograph was taken around the 1890's and shows the Globe and Crown at left, opposite is the Greyhound Hotel and next door to that was the Cow Inn. Just visible at the end of the street is the Three Choughs Hotel and the King's Arms. Between the Choughs and the Cow was the Market House Inn and three un-named beerhouses. Despite the huge number of pubs in this short run of South Street, the white building with the black porch left of centre was Banfield & Gill's Temperance Refreshment & Boarding House, formerly John Perry's Temperance Hotel.


William's full-page advertisement for his Sherborne Road bakery business, in the 1889 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.


The notice of William's intention to apply for a license to sell beer, ale and porter at his High Street premises, from the 19 August 1892 edition of the Western Gazette.


Perhaps the most surprising of all of William's advertisements is this one from the 3 June 1892 edition of the Western Chronicle in which he advertised himself as a florist, seedsman, etc. of Sherborne Road.


From my collection

An advertisement from the 1920s at which time William 'Fred' Banfield was operating in Sherborne Road.


Courtesy of Bob Banfield

The male 'back room' staff of the Cottage Café photographed during the 1930s.WIlliam Banfield is at centre. The two boys seated at centre are William's sons; Harry (at left) and William Fred (at right).