yeovil people

George Chaffin Snr

Baker of Kingston and Taunton


George Chaffin was born in Castle Cary in August 1803 and baptised there on 30 August 1803 "1 Week old". He was one of the six children of Thomas Chaffin (1777, Bruton - 1841, Taunton) and his wife Elizabeth (1780-1851). It is likely that Thomas was a miller, he certainly lived at Mill Cross Mills, Kingston St Mary, just north of Taunton. Thomas and Elizabeth's children were; Charles (1806-1862), George, Harriett (b1813), Ethelbert (1814-1853), Egbert (1817-1860) and Edgar (1820-1881). Sadly, nothing is known of George's early life, other than he must have been apprenticed to a baker.

On 22 November 1823, he married Ann Cox (1807, Yeovil -1860, Taunton) at St John's church. They were both in their mid-teens. Ann was the eldest daughter of Yeovil auctioneer John Cox who was, for forty years, Sheriff's Officer of the county of Somerset.

George and Ann were to have two sons; George Chaffin Jnr (1825-1890) and pioneering Yeovil photographer John Cox Chaffin (1826-1885).

 In the 1841 census George Snr, Ann and their younger son John were listed living in Kingston but George Jnr was absent on the night of the census. George Snr gave his occupation as a baker and John gave his as a draper's apprentice.

It would appear that George Snr was the first named licensee of the White Lion in Kingston and he and Ann were running the White Lion as a beerhouse, although it isn't clear from the census. In 1842, however, Pigot's Directory (George's only entry in a Yeovil trade directory) listed him as the licensee and the 1846 Tithe Apportionment listed him as the occupier with John Tanner Pitcher as the owner. George was not necessarily the landlord, since that was William Fudge throughout this period, although it may be that George's bakery was on the premises.

It would appear that George Snr then moved back to Taunton, while Ann remained in Yeovil.

The Chaffin family's entries in the 1851 census are somewhat convoluted. It would appear that both George Snr and George Jnr were listed together at Rowbarton, Taunton, together with a lodger. 42-year old George Snr gave his occupation as 'Baker and Maltster employing one boy', as did 26-year old George Jnr. At the same time, however, the 1851 census recorded that Ann was living in Hendford with George Jnr, his wife Louisa and their family, as a household living in Hendford (between the Chough's Tap and Stuckey's Bank on the corner of Custard's Lane - opposite the Three Choughs and Denner's). 26-year old George Jnr gave his occupation as 'Baker out of Employ'. In the same house, but listed as a separate household, was Louisa's widowed father Thomas Haywood, together with John Chaffin and Catherine and their two eldest children, Thomas and Catherine. I would surmise that George Jnr was usually resident in Hendford but, being 'out of employ' was temporarily working with his father in Taunton for a brief period. I assume that both his parents filled out their respective census forms and each of them included George Jnr.

Ann Chaffin died on 28 August 1860 at Taunton, "suddenly, of an apoplectic fit, in the 54th year of her age". However, in its edition of 5 September 1860 the Taunton Courier reported "Sudden death. On Saturday last an inquest was held before W W Munckton Esq, Coroner, on the body of Mrs Chaffin, wife of a baker, residing in East Street, who died suddenly on the Tuesday previous. It appears that on Monday evening the husband of deceased came home rather the worse for liquor, when a quarrel took place between them, and in the end he locked her out of the house, and sternly refused to admit her again. She then obtained lodgings at Curry’s Wagon and Horses, an inn just opposite, and remained there for the night. On Tuesday she returned to her own house when the quarrel with her husband was renewed, and she, suffering from disease of the heart, was seized with an apoplectic fit, and two surgeons were sent for, but they were unable to avert her evidently approaching end, and she expired in the course of a few hours. The jury found a verdict of death by apoplexy”.

In the 1861 census George Snr was recorded living in East Reach, Taunton, with his new wife Mary, born in East Coker. No record of George's marriage to a Mary has been found, but it is likely that George married Jane Fry (b1805, East Coker) in the spring of 1861, just months after the death of Ann. George gave his occupation as a master baker and had a young apprentice living with him and 'Mary' (that is, Jane}.

In April 1865 George, who had been an agent for the Royal Liver Friendly Society, was indicted for embezzlement and forgery (see Gallery). In its edition of 12 April 1865, in reporting the proceedings of the Taunton police Court, noted ”George Chafey [sic], agent to the Royal Liver Friendly Society, was brought up on remand, charged with forging a receipt for the payment of £1 16s 3d, and also with embezzling the said sum, which he had represented he had paid to a fish dealer, named William Sully. A second charge was preferred against the prisoner of forging a receipt for 10s, and embezzling the same, representing that he had paid it to John Sellick, tailor, as sick pay... The prisoner was committed for trial at the next Assizes on both charges, the Bench offering to accept bail, himself in £200, and two sureties in £100 each. The prisoner said the society owed him at the present moment £23 for salary, and that he had kept back the monies alleged to have been embezzled to pay himself. Mr Trenchard observed that numerous cases of embezzlement would be preferred against the prisoner, besides those already gone into. Mr Chafey Jnr desired to say a few words relative to the way in which the Royal Liver Friendly Society conducted their business, but the Bench said they could not hear him, as the case was closed, and he bowed to their decision.” George Chaffey pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzlement and forgery and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour.

It is not known when or where George Chaffin Snr died. However, following his imprisonment, it is possible that his disgrace led him to emigrate with the younger members of his family. Indeed, his son George Jnr was an emigration agent.


For Chaffin Family Tree - click here




The entry of George Chaffin's baptism of 30 August 1803 in the Castle Cary register. The note at right says "1 Week old".


In its edition of 7 April 1865, the Western Gazette reported on George's embezzlement case.


The report of George's sentence in the 15 August 1865 edition of the Sherborne Mercury.