yeovil people

Henry Butler Batten

Solicitor, Town Clerk of Yeovil for over thirty years


Henry Butler Batten was born at Aldon House towards the end of 1845. He was the son of John Batten the younger and Grace Eleanor née White of Up Cerne, Dorset. The children of John and Grace were John Mount (1844-1916), Eleanor Harriet (b1845), Henry Butler, Cicely Alice (b1848) and Herbert Cary George (1849-1926). The 1851 census recorded the family at Aldon House with two housemaids and a footman.

The 1861 census return was similar with Henry listed as a 15-year old scholar. He then studied at New College, Oxford, matriculating on 14 October 1864 at the age of 19, achieving his B.A. in 1869.

By the time of the 1871 census the family were living at Up Cerne House, Up Cerne, Dorset, and 24-year old Henry gave his occupation as a Solicitor's Articled Clerk. By 1875, John and Henry were listed as partners in the family law firm but by 1883 Henry was listed as sole partner. At this time the family law firm was at Church House;  built by the Batten family and the house has played a prominent part in the town's legal affairs, indeed the Town Courts were held in the north annex until the middle of the twentieth century. The firm became Batten & Co after Henry's death, as it remains today.

By 1881 Henry, a lifelong bachelor, was living with his father at Aldon House with three live-in servants; a butler, footman and a kitchen maid. Henry gave his occupation as a solicitor. It was during the 1880s that his father retired from being Yeovil's Town Clerk and Henry became the new Town Clerk - a position he held for over thirty years, finally retiring in 1912 when the position was taken over by his nephew Herbert Copeland Cary Batten.

In the 1911 census, 65-year old Henry was living alone in Aldon House, albeit with a couple of visitors, together with a cook, housemaid, footman and gardener.

Henry Butler Batten died in the spring of 1912, aged 66. His gross estate amounted to £89,885 (around £50 million at today's value). His siblings presented an organ dedicated to his memory in Upcerne church, Dorset (see Gallery).


See Batten Family Tree

See Yeovil Solicitors




Henry Butler Batten


From my collection

Henry Butler Batten's signature on an indenture dated 5 September 1878.


A colourised photograph of the presentation of the Sidney Gardens fountain on 24 May 1899. You'd have thought at least one of 'em could have raised a slight smile. Henry Butler Batten is No 25 on the drawing below.

So, who was who? Unfortunately only some of the gathering are known, these are as follows -
1 Cllr GH Gould, 2 Cllr Edward Samuel Ewens, 4 Cllr WW Johnson, 5 G Gawler, 6 Cllr James Bazeley Petter, 7 WG Armytage (Borough Surveyor), Henry Jesty (Mace Bearer), 9 Cllr Charles Hook, 10 JK Whitby, 11 Cllr HF Raymond, 14 William Maynard, 15 Alderman Sidney Watts, 16 Miss Watts, 17 Miss Vincent, 18 Mrs Vincent, 20 Alderman W Cox, 22 Mayor John Vincent, 23 Alderman Joseph Chaffey Moore, 24 Cllr Charles Wreford Pittard, 25 Henry Butler Batten (Town Clerk), 26 JH Farley (who donated the fountain), 27 Ebenezer Pittard, 29 WB Collins.


Aldon House, set within its extensive parkland. Photographed in 2009.


A report from the 23 May 1913 edition of the Western Chronicle.


The organ at Upcerne church, dedicated to the memory of Henry Butler Batten.