yeovil people

William daniell (2)

Overseer of the Borough of Yeovil


The Daniell family were very wealthy mercers and glovers who came to Yeovil in the seventeenth century from East Coker, Gyles Daniell dying there in 1613. This Gyles Daniell's son was also called Gyles.

His grandson William Daniell (1) settled in Yeovil, becoming a well-to-do glover and landowner. He served as a Warden of Woborn's Almshouse from 1645 to 1647 and as its Custos from 1654 to 1655. William and his wife Mary had at least eight children that William named in his will; Samuel, William (2), George, Hannah, Ruth, Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary. His eldest son Samuel was also a glover and Custos of the Almshouse, marrying Mary Saunders in 1677.  

William Daniel (1), a multi-millionaire by today's standards, died in Yeovil in 1655 and to his son William (2) he left just an acre of arable land in the great Northern Field and a property in Grope Lane (today's Wine Street) which he would only inherit after the death of his mother (who was still running the family shop in 1686), and a field called Long Close (one of three such-named fields in Yeovil so we don't know which one William got).

William (2) was born in Yeovil in 1643 and baptised at St John's church on 24 September 1643. Nothing is known of his early life. The Monthly Poor Rate Return of 1664 recorded that William (2) paid thirteen shillings a month on a property in the Borough - this was a large sum and the property in question must have been substantial. 

The same Poor Rate Return also noted that William (2) was the Overseer of the Borough of Yeovil - a position only capable of being held by an educated man. Although appointed by the Vestry in Easter week, the Overseers were the only parish officers bound by civil law (except the Constable after 1842). Created by statute in January 1601 they were appointed after election under the seal of two Justices of the Peace. Working closely with the Churchwardens they were responsible for setting and collecting the poor rate and distributing benefits to those requiring relief. They were required by law to keep detailed account books of income against expenditure and where possible were elected from substantial householders. The overseers would also endorse settlement certificates and bastardy bonds, present settlement queries to the justices for examination and effect removal orders. Along with the wardens they would arrange parish apprenticeships for deserving poor children.

Sadly, nothing else is known of William Daniel (2).


See Daniell Family Tree