yeovil people

Frederick Greenham

Landed gentleman, glove manufacturer and Mayor of Yeovil


Frederick Greenham was born in Yeovil on 9 August 1802 the son of wealthy glove manufacturer John Greenham and his wife Elizabeth née Parsons.

Pigot's Directory of 1824 listed the company of Greenham & Edwards as Glove Manufacturers of Vicarage Street, and Pigot's Directory of 1830 listed the company as Greenham, Sons & Edwards, Glove Manufacturers of Vicarage Street indicating that Frederick and his brother Charles had joined his father's glove manufacturing business by this time.

The poll book of 1832 shows that John Greenham was living in Vicarage Street but also held property in Hendford, while the poll book of 1834 shows that Frederick Greenham was also resident in Vicarage Street. However it would appear that Frederick left his father's gloving business on the death of his father 1838 and the Poll Book of 1846 shows that Frederick Greenham was by that time living in Hendford House (now the Manor Hotel) in Hendford. His brother Charles also lived there. The 1846 Tithe Apportionment recorded that Frederick also owned the Swiss Cottage on Hendford Hill.

In 1837 Frederick Greenham, Glove Manufacturer, was listed in a House of Commons Private Bill concerning Railway Subscription Projects, as an investor in the 'South Western, or Kingsworthy & West Monkton Railway', subscribing £500 (about £54,000 at today's value using the 'historic opportunity cost' of an investment project).

On 25 June 1840 Frederick married Mary Ann Neal, nine years his junior, at Trinity church, St Marylebone, London. Frederick was described on his marriage certificate as a bachelor 'of full age' (actually 38) with the profession of merchant and resident in Yeovil. Mary Ann was also 'of full age' (actually 29) and spinster of 14 Park Square East, the daughter of rope manufacturer John Neal whose rank was described as 'Esquire'. Frederick and Mary were to have two sons and six daughters - Mary Ann (1841-1937), Ellen Elizabeth (1843-1938), Lydia Jane (1845-1938), Frederick John (1847-1930), Caroline Emma (1848-1941), Henrietta Maria (1850-1912), Laura Lucy (1852-1937) and William Neal (1857-1913).

Hendford House was allegedly (Hayward, 1987, p74) attacked by the mob during the famous 'Reform' Riot in Yeovil during October 1831. However there is no evidence to support this claim. Hayward states that the mob attacked John Greenham's Hendford House - even though John Greenham never lived there and his son, Frederick Greenham, didn't purchase it until 1840, nearly a decade after the riot and two years after his father's death.

His father, John Greenham, had been both a Yeovil burgess and an original Improvement Commissioner and in 1841 Frederick, described as 'a gentleman', was also appointed as an Improvement Commissioner for Yeovil in the place of his late father. The Improvement Commissioners were established by Act of Parliament in 1830 and played a key role in the early development of Yeovil. He was a Churchwarden at St John's in 1838 and 1839.

He and Mary were listed living in Hendford in the 1841 census, but at this time no children were listed although they had five servants. In 1845 he was Custos of the Woborn Almshouse and was also a committee member of the new Huish School. He was Warden of the Woborn Almshouse from 1846 until 1850, a post he held again in 1871. By the time of the 1851 census  Frederick described his occupation as landed proprietor (although he was also a prosperous glove manufacturer) and was living with Mary and six of their children in Hendford House together with six servants.

Frederick Greenham was elected to be one of the first Town Councillors in 1854, polling 107 votes. He was made an Alderman and was elected as Yeovil's second Mayor from 1855 to 1856. Around this time the Lord Chancellor appointed him, along with William Bide and John Ryall Mayo, as Magistrates for the Borough.

In the 1861 census Frederick Greenham described his occupation as magistrate and was living in Hendford House with his wife Mary, their six children, a nurse, under nurse, cook, housemaid, under housemaid and footman.

In April 1862, Frederick was listed among those subscribing to the new west window in St John's church in memory of Prince Albert. He subscribed £20 (around £2,200 at today's value).

The 1871 census listed Frederick as magistrate and landowner living in Hendford House with Mary their four unmarried daughters, a domestic servant, two housemaids, a kitchen maid and a footman.

Frederick Greenham died on 4 April 1877 in Yeovil, and was buried in Yeovil Cemetery (see below). He was aged 75. Following Mary's death in 1889, Frederick Greenham's extensive land holdings were put up for sale. The details of the sale are given below.


Frederick Greenham's signature on his marriage certificate, 1840


See Family Tree


Following Mary's death Frederick Greenham's land holdings were put up for sale. The details of the sale, published in the 10 May 1889 edition of the Western Gazette are so interesting they are reproduced here in full -


Important Property Sale

At the Choughs Hotel, yesterday (Thursday), Messrs Palmer submitted to public competition a valuable freehold residential property and several closes of superior accommodation land, situate in the parish of Yeovil, and a valuable freehold estate, situate in the parish of Mudford, Somerset, the whole containing 150a 3r 19p, or thereabouts, the property being offered for sale in consequence of the late Mrs Greenham, by order of the trustees of the will of the late Mr Frederick Greenham. There was a very large and influential attendance, bidding was brisk, and the sale was a remarkably successful one.

Lot 1 consisted of Hendford House, standing in its own private grounds, close to the centre of the town, situate in Hendford, and comprising the usual offices, a conservatory adjoining, pleasure grounds, tennis lawn, kitchen gardens and hothouses, stabling, &c; also farm buildings, two closes of rich pasture land, and every other necessary suitable to a gentleman's residence, the whole being of the extent of 7a 22r 13p. Bidding was started at £3,000 and ultimately reached £4,100 (about £400,000 at today's value), at which figure it was knocked down to Mr JB Paynter.

Lot 2, a valuable building site in Hendford, opposite Lot 1 (now used as a garden), together with the vinery thereon, having a frontage to the main street of 183 feet, was sold to Mr Sidney Watts for £750 (about £72,000 at today's value. This site is now occupied by the large Job Centre building).

Lot 3, the offices facing the main street in Hendford, adjoining Lot 2, now and for many years past in the occupation of the Town Surveyor, Mr Richard Vining, was bought by Mr Vining for £400 (about £38,000 at today's value. This is now occupied by the masonic hall and the southern half of Dolphin House).

Lot 4 comprised a large enclosed building and offices, having a frontage to the main street in Hendford of 45ft 4in, adjoining Lot 3, formerly used as a skating rink, but now in the occupation of Mr JB Petter. Mr H White, cabinet maker, was the purchaser of this lot for £800 (about £77,000 at today's value. This is now occupied by the northern half of Dolphin House).

Lot 5, a small piece of enclosed garden ground, situate in Hendford, immediately below the carriage entrance to Lot 1, having a frontage to the main street of 36ft 6in, was bought by Mr J Vincent for £200 (about £19,000 at today's value. Today this site is occupied by the building to the immediate south of Prestleigh House).

Lot 6, a close of rich orchard, pasture, and garden land, situate in Horsey's Lane, together with the cowstall and piggeries thereon, in the occupation of Mr Thomas Sharland, and comprising 2a 2r 18p, was knocked down to Mr Roberts, of Preston, for £680 (about £65,000 at today's value).

Lot 7, another rich close of pasture land, adjoining Lot 6, together with the cowstall thereon, also in the occupation of Mr Thos. Sharland, and of the extent of 3a 3r 24p, Mr Levi Beer was the purchaser at £810 (about £77,000 at today's value).

Lot 8, a close of rich pasture and garden land, also situate in Horsey's Lane, in the occupation of Mr Joseph Brutton, and comprising 5a 0r 25p, was bought by Mr Henry B Batten for £600 (about £57,000 at today's value).

Lot 9, a close of rich pasture land, adjoining lot 8, together with the stone shed thereon, and in the occupation of Mr JJ Brook, and for many years used as a cricket and football ground, 7a 3r 20p in extent, went to Mr J Farley for £920 (about £89,000 at today's value).

Lot 10, another close of rich pasture land, adjoining lot 9, together with the cowstall thereon, in the occupation of Dr Colmer, and comprising 3a 0r 26p, was knocked down to Mr B Rowsell for £420 (about £40,000 at today's value).

Lot 11, another close of rich pasture land, adjoining lot 10, also in the occupation of Dr Colmer, and measuring 3a 0r 32p was bought by Mr Guppy, of Halstock, for £390 (about £37,000 at today's value), who afterwards sold it to Dr Aldridge.

Lot 12 comprised the beautiful and picturesque grounds, situate on Hendford Hill, known as 'Bragg Church', comprising Swiss Cottage and garden at the entrance from the road, another cottage and farm buildings, two summerhouses, ornamental wood, and land, and of the extent of 11a 1r 34p. The bidding on this lot started at £1,200, and eventually rose to £2,120 (around £205,000 at today's value), at which figure it was purchased by Mr WN Greenham, for his own use." (Note: WN Greenham was Frederick Greenham's son, William Neal Greenham (1857-1913)).

Lot 13, copyhold property at Key (on the Dorchester Road, just south of the town), in the occupation of Mr H Woolmington, was withdrawn.

The remaining Lot 14, was described as the highly productive and valuable estate and residence known as 'West Mudford Farm', comprising a well-built modern farm house and garden, agricultural buildings with every convenience, and closes of rich meadow, pasture, and orchard, and fertile arable land, and measuring altogether 95a 1r 35p. The estate is in the occupation of Mr George Genge, at a reduced rental of £228 per annum. For this lot there was keen competition, principally between the tenant and Mr Paynter. The bidding commenced at £4,000 and proceeded by advances of £100 up to £5,900. After this the biddings varied in amount, but they ultimately reached £6,160 (in the region of £600,000 at today's value), at which the lot was bought by Mr JB Paynter, on behalf of Mr TR Guppy, of Halstock.

This concluded the sale, the total amount realised being the very good sum of £18,360 (around £1,770,000 at today's value). Messrs Mayo & Son were the solicitors acting for the vendors.

In regard to Hendford House and grounds, Mr Paynter, the purchaser of the lot, expressed to the Mayor (Dr Colmer), who was present, his willingness to sell the property to the Corporation at the same price for which he purchased it, provided it was used for public purposes and bought at once. Mr John Vincent intimated that in the event of the Corporation accepting this offer he would give £50 towards it. (Apparently the Corporation declined this offer and James Paynter soon sold the property on.)




Land Holdings


The Yeovil Tithe Apportionment of 1846 shows that Frederick Greenham was owner / occupier of extensive land holdings in Yeovil as tabulated below. The grounds of his home, Hendford House, was over seven acres.

Owner Occupier No Name
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 334 Hendford House, Garden, etc
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 335 Higher Park
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 336 Lower Park
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 777 Cottage Plantation etc
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 778 Cottage Plantation etc
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 779 Bragg Church
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 780 Bragg Church Cottage & Orchard
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 794 Plantation
Greenham, Frederick Greenham, Frederick 795 German's Grove




The 1889 sale documents of Hendford House when James Bernard Paynter of Hendford Manor purchased the property and its grounds following the death of Frederick Greenham.


The granite cross marking Frederick Greenham's grave. Photographed in 2014.