Yeovil People

Samuel Kitson 1, 2 & 3

Brewers of Yeovil Old Brewery, Hendford


The Kitson family of Yeovil were descended from John Kitson of Yeovil. The family possessed old seals bearing the arms and crest of the Kitsons of Hengrove and it is thought that they may have been descendants of the Thomas Kitson who succeeded to Bere Lytchett under the will of Sir Thomas Kitson in 1602. In a Chancery suit of 1719, Abington v Prowse, John Kitson of Yeovil, gent., described himself as being aged 56, so he was therefore born around 1663. This John Kitson (always prefixed 'Mr' in the parish registers as a mark of respect) had a daughter, Mary, baptised on 18 September 1701 at St John's church, a son Thomas baptised on 1 June 1704, a daughter Bettey baptised on 20 March 1705 and a daughter Margaret baptised on 5 February 1711..


Samuel Kitson (1)

The earliest record we have of Samuel Kitson (1) is from the Newton Somerville Estate Account Book stating "A Monthly Rate made made this 8th day of April 1729 by Andrew Everton & George Butcher Churchwardens. Richard Cox Gent., William Marsh, John Dyer, Samuel Kitson - Overseers of the Poor of ye said P[ar]ish of Yeovill." This would suggest that Samuel Kitson (1) was born around 1700 and therefore the likely son of John Kitson above.

Also in 1729, Samuel (1) paid 1s 5d to the Poor Rate for what must have been a medium-sized property in the Manor of Kingston.

As well as being Overseer of the Poor, Samuel (1) was also a Churchwarden of St John's church for the years 1730 to 1732. The Churchwarden's Accounts of 1732 noted that Samuel Kitson (1) was a timber merchant.

Among the bonds and associated papers involving Hugh Donn of Yeovil, mercer, and his wife, Mary, held at the Taunton Heritage Centre are "loose accounts for disbursements on houses (including the malt house) by Samuel Kitson" dating to 1735-6, denoting that Samuel (1) was also a maltster, and possibly also a brewer.

In 1737, Samuel Kitson (1) became the Portreeve of Yeovil. Although it is known that his wife was named Mary, the record of his marriage has not been found. Samuel (1) and Mary had six children; John (1728-1752), William (1729-1781), Samuel (2) see below, Mary (1732-1803) who married John Phelips, Susan (1733-1789) and Richard (b1734).

Samuel Kitson (1) died in 1744, and Mary died in 1754.


Samuel Kitson (2)

Samuel Kitson (2) was the third son of Samuel Kitson (1) and Mary. He was born on 18 August 1730 in Yeovil.

On 3 December 1765 he married Elizabeth Jeans, known as Betty (1745-1816). They were to have three children, all born in Yeovil; William (1768-1814), Samuel (3) - see below - and Mary (b1772).

In 1770 and 1771, Samuel (2) also served as a Churchwarden of St John's church.

A deed dated 1770 records Samuel (2) as a maltster like his father and he founded the Yeovil Old Brewery in Hendford (the site is now the Masonic Hall). The Old Brewery was later described as "... most desirably situate in Hendford, in the town of Yeovil, together with the commodious dwelling-house and extensive garden adjoining... The Trade Premises comprise a good 10-quarter Malthouse and Brewery, well supplied with water, extensive Cellarage, Stable, Loft, Waggon-house, Counting-house and Outbuildings." The house was described as "consisting of 3 good sitting rooms on the ground floor, 5 bedrooms, and roomy attic over, kitchen, scullery, larder and underground cellar."

Samuel Kitson (2) died in 1782 and was buried in St John's churchyard on 28 March 1782. His wife Betty clearly took on the business, since the Universal British Directory of 1790 noted 'Mrs Kitson' as a maltster and her son Samuel Kitson (3) as a brewer.

In fact Samuel (2)'s widow Betty appears to have been quite prosperous and the Woborn Almshouse Account Book records her as the licensee of the Pall Tavern in Silver Street in 1796. The Woborn Property Rents of the same year also record that she was paying rent for the Three Cups (later the George) in Middle Street and presumably sub-letting it.

An indenture dated 24 June 1790 conveyed the Half Moon Inn in Corn Market (today's Silver Street) for £300 by William Latton to Mrs Betty Kitson. In a further indenture, dated 21 March 1798, Betty conveyed the Half Moon to Robert Tucker for £315.

Betty died in Yeovil in 1816, aged 71.


Samuel Kitson (3)

Samuel Kitson (3) was the second son of Samuel (2) and Betty. He was born on 30 August 1769. The Universal British Directory of 1790 noted Samuel Kitson (3) as a brewer, and he was recorded as a maltster in a deed of 1810. This same year, at the age of 41, he married 24-year old Susannah Chubb Bellamy (1786-1837) at St John's church, by license on 8 February 1810. Susannah, also recorded as Susan, was the daughter of the late Edward Bellamy Esq. of Cheddington, Dorset. Samuel (3) and Susannah had five children; Elizabeth (b1811), a son, Samuel Kitson (4), who was baptised at St John's church on 24 February 1813, followed by a daughter Mary, baptised on 1 August 1817, and a daughter Caroline baptised on 10 August 1819, both at St John's. Finally, another son Edward Bellamy.

The Kitson family rented the Pall Tavern from the Woborn Almshouse until at least 1826 and certainly in this year the Land Tax records indicate that Susanna Kitson was also paying tax on the Three Cups and sub-letting it to John Thomas.

Samuel (3) was a brewer and maltster of the Yeovil Old Brewery in Hendford.

Thomas Cave (1781-1863)  was living in Yeovil by 1818 and in 1824 he established a brewery in Clarence Street (actually behind his house in Princes Street). What is rarely known, however, is that from a lease of 1825 in my collection Thomas Cave rented a malthouse adjoining today's 1 & 3 Princes Street. In 1824 Samuel (3) and Thomas Cave entered a partnership - Kitson & Cave - which was listed in Pigot's Directory of 1824.

Thomas Cave (1781-1863)  was living in Yeovil by 1818 and Samuel (3) and Thomas Cave entered a partnership - Kitson & Cave - which was listed in Pigot's Directory of 1824. However, Samuel (3) died in 1823, and his share of the partnership was carried on by his wife Susannah.

After Cave's departure from Kitson & Cave, Samuel's widow, Susanna, entered into a partnership with Edmund Henning. Edmund moved his family to Yeovil, probably as a result of the advertisement seeking a partner (see Gallery) placed in the 5 April 1830 edition of the Western Flying Post. Susanna and Henning went into partnership as 'maltsters and brewers' at the Yeovil Old Brewery. The brewery had been in the possession of the Kitson family since its foundation in 1771. The partnership between Susanna Kitson and Edmund Henning was dissolved in 1835.

Susannah Kitson died in Yeovil, after a short illness, on 9 July 1832, aged 46. The partnership between Susanna Kitson and Edmund Henning was not officially dissolved until August 1835.

 Edmund Henning carried on the Old Brewery in his own right - presumably having purchased the brewery from Susanna Kitson's estate. Edmund Henning died in Yeovil in 1861. His son John inherited the Old Brewery, which he sold off piecemeal within two months of his father's death.



Edward Bullock Watts' map of 1806 showing the Kitson's brewery / malthouse at centre. The road running along the top is West Hendford (labelled Salthouse Lane) and Hendford runs diagonally from the top right quadrant to the bottom left corner.


This is a portion of the 1842 Tithe Map showing West Hendford running along the top and joining Hendford which comes up from bottom left. Hendford House is today's Manor Hotel and the Kitson's 'Yeovil Old Brewery' is shown at centre and marked as Parcel 369.




The record of the marriage of Samuel Kitson (3) and Susannah Chubb Bellamy from St John's parish register.


A notice placed in the 5 April 1830 edition of the Western Flying Post noting the 'retirement' of Thomas Cave from the partnership.