the Dye House

The Dye House

Silver Street


The original Woborn Almshouse, founded in 1477, was sited just behind the Pall Tavern, the site is occupied now by an Indian restaurant. The Pall Tavern, the Three Choughs Hotel, the George Inn and the Black Cock were for centuries owned by the Woborn Almshouse and the rent of the buildings provided income for the Almshouse. E Watts' map of 1806, shown below, depicts the almshouse as a long building but, in fact, it was only half of the building shown - the southern end was known as the Dye House

This sketch map shows the position of the Dye House in relation to the Almshouse and the tavern. The Horse Pool or Pond was to the immediate north of the Pall Tavern, the Dye House was immediately behind the Pall Tavern and the Woborn Almshouse was attached to the north of the Dye House and to the immediate east of the Horse Pool.

The Dye House was mentioned as early as 1550 in a lease "Lease at 16s. per annum, for 60 years - John Dyrdo, custos, John Hacker senior, John Clothyer, wardens, to Ambrose Gregory - burgage called the Dyehouse. fine. Witnesses, Richard Hacker (ppos.) John Phelpes, William Hayne, sen., John Locke, James Dyrdo, Thomas Erlyche, Stephen Trente, John Dyer. 20 January 3 Edw VI" (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 110).

The Dye House was recorded again in a lease of 1587 "Lease at 6s. per annum for 41 years - John Hacker the elder, custos, Mathew Darby and John Langdon, wardens, to William Beacham, sack-weaver of Yeovil, house called the Dye House between the Almshouse on the east and the tenement belonging to the Almshouse (now lately held by Thomas Downton) on the west (that is, the Pall). 30s. fine. 20 September 29 Elizabeth." (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 120).

The next mention of the Dye House was in a lease of 1606 "Lease for 60 years at annual rent of 10s. - Mathew Hacker, custos, Frauncis Sutton, John Crocker, wardens, to John Allan of Yevell, curryer, messuage (the Pall building) between the horse poole on north and tenement of Thomas Gregory on south and house of William Beachman (Dye House) on east, and place adjoining to dress leather. fine 6s.8d. Witnesses Frauncis Sutton, John Dyer. 10 May 1606." (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 2).

In 1622 a lease recorded "Lease for 3 lives  at annual rent of 6s.8d. - Nicholas Patten, custos, Giles Jennynges, John Hardynge, wardens, to John Beacham of Yevell sackweaver, house called the Dye Howse between Almshouse on east and tenement (the Pall building) held by Henry Trent on west - Lives of John Beacham, Anstes his wife, and James their son. fine 6s.8d. Witnesses Geo. Hacker, Wm. Criendfield, Henry Trent, Henry Whedon - 1 April 1622." (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 12).

The Dye House changed tenants once more in 1649 "Lease for 2 lives at annual rent of 6s. - John Cary, custos, Richard Lockett, gent., Christopher Allambridge (the Younger), wardens, to Thomas Churchouse weaver of Yeovil, house called the Dye House between Almshouse on east and tenement (the Pall building) belonging to the Almshouse held by William Swetman senior on west, lives of William Swetman and Elinor his wife. fine 25s. Witnesses - Morgan Hayne, John Withell, John Cary. 8 May 1649." (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 34).

Three years later a lease of 1651 recorded "Lease for 3 lives at annual rent of 10s. - Richard Roch, custos, George Winsor, John Grobham, wardens, to Marie Swetnam of Yeavell, spinster, tenement (the Pall building) between the Horsepool on north, and tenements of Joseph Swetnam on south, and house (the Dye House) of Thomas Churchhouse on east now held by William Swetnam, father of Marie Swetnam, and half the house of office thereunto belonging, lives of Marie Swetnam, Stephen, brother to Marie, and Joseph, son of Joseph Swetnam, captain, aforesaid. Signed (mark of) Marie Swetnam. fine £12. Witnesses Theophilus Collins, William Daniell, (mark of) John Panfield, John Cary, Matthew Wills, Morgan Hayne, Richard Lockett. 20 May 1651" (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 38).

The Dye House was mentioned again in 1664 "Lease for 2 lives at annual rent of 6s.8d. - Edward Burford, custos, Nathaniel Cary, Samuel Prowse, wardens, to Thomas Churchhouse, weaver, of Yeovil, house called the Dye House between the Almshouse on the east and tenement (the Pall building) of Almshouse now held by William Swetnam senior on the west - former lease of Thomas Churchhouse now surrendered - lives of Thomas Churchhouse and Mary his wife. fine £4. - Witnesses: George Prowse, John Cary, William Swetnam, William C..?.., 14 June  16 Charles II. Endorsed; peaceable possession taken that day - George Prowse, William Cosby(?)" (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 59).

A lease of 1667 recorded "Lease for 3 lives at annual rent of 6s.8d. - Gyles Hayne, custos, George Prowse, gent., Christopher Allambridge, gent., wardens to Thomas Churchouse, weaver of Yeovil, house called the Dye house between the almshouse on the east and tenement (later Pall building) of the same almshouse held by William Swetnam senior on the west - Lives of Thomas Churchouse, Elizabeth his wife, and Elianor their daughter. fine £4.10s. (mark of) Thomas Churchouse - Witnesses: John Cary, Matthew Wills senior, Matthew Wills junior. Endorsed; quiet and peaceable occupation taken - 16 May 1667" (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 63).

The final lease, in 1681, recorded that the Dye House also had a garden "Lease for 3 lives at annual rent of 6s.8d. - Gyles Hayne, custos, Nathaniel Cary, gent., John Knight, mercer, To Robert Hodges, taylor of Overcompton, Dorset - surrender of lease Elizabeth Gaylard now wife of Bernard Gaylard, yeoman of Yeovil - dwelling house and garden called 'the Dye House' between the Almshouse on the east and tenement (the Pall building) of the Almshouse now held by William Ashford on the west. Lives of Robert Hodges, Elizabeth Gaylard and Hircules Hodges, son. Fine £5. Signed: Gyles Hayne,  Nathaniel Cary, John Knight (no witnesses). 24 May 33 Chas II" (Woborn Almshouse Muniments No. 68).

For a list of tenants of the Dye House click here.

The Kings Arms Inn, four doors away from the Pall, had also stood for many years in Silver Street but a major fire in 1835 destroyed it along with several other premises. Following the fire all the premises from the Kings Arms to and including the Pall were rebuilt further back from the road so that Silver Street could be widened thereby easing congestion in the centre of the town. The Pall was rebuilt in 1836 and the old materials were sold off for £22.10s. The medieval almshouse had become so ruinous by the 1850’s that the new Woborn Almshouse was built in 1860 at its present site at the junction of South Street and Bond Street. It is presumed that the Dye House would have been demolished between the 1836 rebuild of the Pall and the 1860 demolition of the old Almshouse to which it was attached.




E Watt's map of Yeovil of 1806 showing the junction of Sheep Lane / Court Ash / Reckleford / Silver Street (today's North Lane / Court Ash / Market Street / Silver Street). At centre, is the original Pall Tavern (before it was rebuilt in 1836) with a narrow alley running alongside leading to the Dye House and the original Woborn Almshouse.