the history of yeovil's pubs





case is altered

Wine Street


A strange name for a public house, but this explanation is from Somerset Notes and Queries - "Inn sign - a sign representing a figure in a large wig and gown seated at a table; another, dressed like a farmer, talks to him while in the distance, through an open door, can be seen a bull. This relates to one Plowden, celebrated lawyer, who died in 1548. The farmer is telling the lawyer that his, the farmer's, bull has gored and killed the latter's cow."Well" says Plowden "the case is clear, you must pay me her value". "Oh!" exclaimed the farmer, "but I have made a mistake - it is your bull that has killed my cow." "Ah!, then the case is altered" quoths Plowden."
Be that as it may, this was yet another drinking house in Wine Street (total so far, six public houses and three or four beerhouses?). The Case is Altered is marked 'B' on the map at left.

One snippet that caught my eye took place in 1841 when two night watchmen. named Roan and Belben. were severely admonished for drinking in the Greyhound while on duty and consequently failed to deal with a disturbance.

This seems to have been a particular problem with the watch at this period since watchman Charles Legg was dismissed for drinking in Charles Pottle's beerhouse in Wine Street called the Case is Altered in 1842. The fact that Charles Legg was allowed to drink while on duty by landlord Charles Pottle is somewhat surprising in view of the fact that only four years before the Town Commissioners had ordered that "those who harbour any Watchman during the hours of duty" would be penalised. (see Documentation below) and distributed 200 copies to the licensees of the town.

The animation at left shows the development of the Grope Lane / Wine Street premises from 1800 through 1880.

The Case is Altered operated between the 1830's and 1850's.




Only two licensees of this establishment are known; the first, George Bollen, was born about 1791 in Somerset. George was listed in Robson’s 1839 Directory is licensee of the Case is Altered and then again in the beer houses section of the Somerset Gazette Directory of 1840. In the 1841 census he was listed as a beer seller in Wine Street and was living with his wife, Hannah née Pook, and their six children. George and Hannah had moved on from the Case is Altered by 1842 and George died in the winter of 1850. Hannah spent the 1870's and part of the 1880's living on Reckleford with her daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Solomon Ostler. Hannah died in the spring of 1886.

Charles Eaton Pottle was born about 1809 in Yeovil and is first recorded in the 1841 census with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children. They were living in Rotten Row and he described his occupation as bricklayer. Rotten Row (today's Market Street) was so called from horses being paraded there, especially at times of the fairs. Rotten Row was named after the broad track in Hyde Park, London, still reserved for the exercise of horses. Clearly by the following year Charles was licensee of the Case is Altered in Wine Street, as evidenced below. Although he was still licensee of the Case is Altered in 1850, by 1851 Charles Pottle, described as a builder and innkeeper in the 1851 census, was running a beerhouse in Wellington Lane - in fact the Oxford Inn in Waterloo Lane. Charles died in 1867. 




1835 – Licensee not named (Robson's 1835 Somerset Directory) listed as Case is Altered
1839 – George Bollen – Beer Retailer (Robson’s 1839 Directory)
1840 – George Bollem (Somerset Gazette Directory 1840) listed as Case is Altered, Wine Street
1841 – George Bollon – Beer Seller (1841 census) pub not named
1842 – Charles Pottle (Town Commissioners Minutes - see below)
1850 – Charles Pottle (Hunt & Co's 1850 Directory - Retailers of Beer) listed as Wine Street





22 January - Resolved that Notice be given to the Keepers of all Inns and Beerhouses in the Town that the penalty of the Act of Parliament will be strictly enforced against such of them who shall hereafter harbour any Watchmen during the hours of duty, and that a Copy of the Clause in the Town Act relating to this offence be sent with every such Notice. Ordered that 200 Copies of the Clause be printed. (Town Commissioners Minutes).


6 October - A charge having been made against Charles Legg for drinking in the Beer House of Charles Pottle during the hours of duty in the night and substantiated. It was resolved that he be discharged. (Town Commissioners Minutes).