primrose cottages

primrose cottages

Earlier known as Tavener's Row


Primrose Cottages was a small terrace of six houses set high on a bank on the western side of Ilchester Road, close to Fiveways. It was built on what had been a field known as Batt's Corner, or Butt's Corner.

In 1768 the property was conveyed from John Pickford of Barwick, linman, to Charles Hewlett of Yeovil, mason, and Henry Winsor of the same, schoolmaster. In 1788 it was mortgaged to John Hookins the younger of Yeovil, banker's clerk, and in 1801 the mortgage was transferred to Ann Butts of Yeovil, widow. In 1807 the land passed to George Maidment of Yeovil, brickmaker, and in 1810 was mortgaged to John Ryall of Yeovil, Esq.

By 1844 the property was mortgaged with land called Hollands Corner (2 ac.), and a cottage in Reckleford Street, Kingston, by Henry Longman of Yeovil, gent., and Mary his wife, to William Hollister of West Clifton, Gloucs, gent. In 1846 the properties were mortgaged Nancy Humby, widow, Sussanah Strange, and John Adams Cole, all of Stalbridge, Dorset; in 1852 the mortgage was transferred to James Brown Slade of Yeovil, gent; and in 1858 to William Young, gent., and Charlotte Young, spinster, both of Yarlington.

The terrace does not appears on Watts' map of 1806 but it is shown on his map of 1831, albeit un-named. The terrace is shown on the 1842 Tithe Map as Parcel 584 (see Maps) and the 1846 Tithe Apportionment described it as "Houses, Gardens and Orchards" and noted that the terrace and the land was owned by Sarah Dyer and the tenant was John Harvey, who clearly sub-let them.

The terrace was listed in the 1851 census, where it was called Tavener's Row - most likely named after the owner or the builder. Interestingly, and unlike the rest of Yeovil at this time, none of the men were engaged in the leather or gloving industries yet all the wives and daughters, twelve in all, were gloving outworkers. The men's occupations included a tailor, agricultural labourers and general labourers. The situation was very similar in 1861 with all the women and girls employed as gloving out workers while the men included a wheelwright, two grooms, three sawyers, a printer, a saddler and a brick maker.

The terrace was named Primrose Cottages on the 1886 Ordnance Survey. Six families are listed in Collins' Directory of 1907, eight families in Snell's Directory of 1954 and just three in Foord's Directory of 1964.

One of the cottages was unoccupied for several years, remaining furnished and with a half-eaten meal on the dining table. It appears, so the story goes, that a young married couple - Thomas and Kathleen Jones - were in residence and during their last meal together had a terrible argument which resulted in both of them leaving the house and going their separate ways. Statutory notices failed to trace the ownership of the cottage and it was finally demolished, along with the rest of the cottages and the old maternity hospital for the widening of Ilchester Road and the improvements at Fiveways. For an account of the mystery - click here.



E Watts' map of 1831 showing Primrose Cottages for the first time. Here they are numbered '619'.


The 1842 Tithe Map showing Tavener's Row and land as Parcel 584.


The 1886 Ordnance Survey showing part of Fiveways with Preston Road running to the left, Ilchester Road running to top left of centre and Mudford Road running to top right. Primrose Cottages, the earlier Tavener's Row, is seen just northwest of the hospital.




This colourised photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

Tavener's Row / Primrose Cottages photographed in the mid-1960s.


The Fiveways Hospital was demolished in 1969, photographed from Fiveways Roundabout. At right is the terrace of houses called Tavener's Row, later Primrose Cottages.