the history of yeovil's pubs





red house inn

Dorchester Road


The Red House, located at the Keyford Roundabout on the Dorchester Road is a substantial, albeit somewhat plain, two-storey stone building under a Welsh slate roof. The Red House was probably named as such after the field, Red Mead (Parcel 768), which lay next to it - indeed it may be that the Red House was built in the corner of Red Mead. The 1846 Tithe Apportionment noted that William Jones Prowse, of Kingston Manor, was the owner of "The Inn & Garden" and John Rendle was the occupier.

Although the records I found only go back to the 1840's, I believe the Red House was operating long before that - it is certainly shown and named as the Red House on the 1811 Ordnance Survey. It was refurbished in 2009 following a period of closure and has now reopened.


From the Western Gazette, 3 September 1875

"Simon Abbott, labourer, of East Coker, was summoned for assaulting Samuel Pavord, of Preston, on 9 August and damaging his clothes. Complainant stated that he met defendant at the Red House Inn and an altercation took place between them. Defendant assaulted him and damaged his coat and vest to the extent of 15s. He also informed the Bench that he had a witness, but he was not in attendance. As he declined to pay for an adjournment, two witnesses for the defence were called, and they swore that defendant was the assailant. Case dismissed."

To read about the Murder of PC Penny outside the Red House - click here.



In 1831 Thomas Frost was recorded as the licensee of the Red House on the entry of his son's baptism in St John's parish register

Amaziah Knapton, was born about 1801 in Wincanton, Somerset. The 1841 census lists him as the innkeeper of the Red House with his Mosterton-born wife, Mary, their five-year old daughter Mary and two-year old son Amaziah. There were also four lodgers. By 1846 the family had moved on and in the 1851 census they were listed as living in Woodsford, Dorset (in the middle of nowhere, some five miles east of Dorchester). Amaziah gave his occupation as railway gateman. He died in the autumn of 1860.

The next licensee was one of about six men called John Rendall living in the Yeovil area at the time. The licensee John Rendall was born in East Chinnock about 1805 and was married to Elizabeth, also of East Chinnock. I couldn't differentiate him from the others prior to 1846 when he was listed as the occupier of the Red House in the Tithe Apportionment with William Jones Prowse as the owner (Prowse was also the owner of the Pen Mill Inn at the time). In the 1851 census he was listed as victualler at the Red House with Elizabeth and five of their children, the elder two of whom had been born at East Chinnock, the others at Yeovil indicating that the family had probably moved to the Red House around 1845. Little changed during the following decade and the whole family is recorded at the Red House in the 1861 census with John being listed as innkeeper. John was one of the three John Rendalls who died in 1861 or 1862 and by 1866 Kelly's Directory was listing Elizabeth as the licensee. In the 1871 census Elizabeth was listed as innkeeper and was living at the Red House with daughters Laura and Anna, aged 28 and 20 respectively. In the 1881 census Elizabeth, now aged 69, was still listed as innkeeper and had three daughters living with her; Amanda, widowed and aged 40, Laura, unmarried and aged 35 and 30-year old Anna Maria now married to John Turner, also living with them, and their baby Gertrude. Elizabeth died in the summer of 1890 aged about 77.

John and Elizabeth's daughter, Anna Maria, had been born in the Red House in 1854. She married John Turner and had three children but by the time of the 1891 census Anna was a 38-year old widow and licensed victualler of the Red House after taking on the license after the death of her mother, Elizabeth. Living with her were her three children; Florence, Reginald and Harold, aged 12, 4 and 1 respectively. Also living with them and assisting in running the pub was her widowed cousin Jane Curtis. In 1901 Anna was again listed as the innkeeper of the Red House but only had her son Harold living with her. She was still listed as licensee in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1903 but by the time of the 1911 census had moved on and was listed as a visitor at Mount Pleasant, Yeovil. Anna died in Yeovil in the spring of 1928 at the age of 74.

The following licensee, Vincent Matthew Male, was born on 18 September 1876 at Barrington, 14 miles west of Yeovil, the son of agricultural labourer and flax worker, Henry Male, and his wife Ellen née Flood, a kid glove maker. The family were still living in Barrington in 1891 by which time 14-year old Vincent had 11 and 1-year old sisters, Mary and Mabel, and brother Elijah aged 7. On 2 January 1900 Vincent married Alma Clarke at her parish of Puckington (next to Barrington). In the 1901 census Vincent was listed as a blacksmith living in Curry Rivel with Alma and two-month old son Henery (sic), known as Harry. At some time between 1903 and 1911 Vincent became the licensee of the Red House and the 1911 census lists him as blacksmith and inn keeper there with Alma and children Harry, Hector, Clifford and Gladys. It is not known how long Vincent was licensee of the Red House but his brother, Elijah, was listed as licensee in Kelly's Directory of 1919. Vincent died on 16 November 1957, aged 81, at Tone Vale Hospital, near Taunton. His effects amounted to £1,443 16s. 2d.




An extract of the 1811 Ordnance Survey, showing the Red House at lower centre. At top left the West Coker Road / Hendford Hill runs across the corner. The Quicksilver Mail is shown but not named and the Dorchester Road runs from left of top centre to right of bottom centre.


Sketch Plan of the rED hOUSE iNN


This is a sketch based on plans held at the Heritage Centre, Taunton. The original plans are undated but probably date to the 1940s. Clearly it will be seen that the main entrance moved to the side of the building when the Dorchester Road was widened. On the first floor were four bedrooms and a bathroom.




Courtesy of Brian Kersting

A colourised photograph of the Red House and the Dorchester Road - I'm guessing in the 1920s.


Courtesy of Morgan Giles

Waiting for the bus outside the Red House in the mid-1950s.


Courtesy of Roger McElliott

Again photographed in the 1950s.


A colourised photograph of 1960 by Charrington & Co Ltd's surveyors as part of a 'stocktaking' exercise of photographing Brutton's pubs prior to the brewery takeover.


The Red House photographed in the 1970s.


From my collection

Advertisement for the Red House Inn from the Visitor, December 1995.


The Red House Inn next to Keyford roundabout. I took this photograph from a helicopter in 2006 when I was official photographer for the Yeovil Festival of Transport at the Yeovil Showground - just glimpsed at top right.


This photograph features in my book 'Secret Yeovil'

The Red House photographed in 2009.


owners / lessees / licensees


1769 – John Hodges at Red House (St John's baptism register)
1831 – Thomas Frost
1841 – Amazeah Knapton – Innkeeper (1841 census) listed as the Red House
1846 – William Jones Prowse, owner – John Rendle, occupier (1846 Tithe Apportionment)
            listed as The Inn and Garden Ground
1851 – John Rendall - Victualler (1851 census) listed as the Red House Inn
1859 – John Rendell (Harrison, Hodder & Co's 1859 Directory)
1861 – John Rendall – Inn Keeper (1861 census) listed as the Red House Inn
1866 – Mrs Elizabeth Rendall (Kelly's 1866 Directory)
1871 – Elizabeth Rendall (58 year old widow of John above) – Inn Keeper (1871 census)
             listed as the Red House Inn
1875 – Mrs Elizabeth Rendall (Kelly's 1875 Directory) listed as Red House
1881 – Elizabeth Rendell – Inn Keeper (1881 census) listed as the Red House Inn
1891 – Anna Turner (widowed daughter of John and Elizabeth Rendall above) – Licensed
            Victualler (1891 census) listed as the Red House Inn
1897 – Anna Turner (Kelly’s 1897 Directory) listed as the Red House Inn
1901 – Anna Turner – Innkeeper (1901 census) listed as the Red House Inn
1903 – Mrs Anna Maria Turner (Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1911 – Vincent Male – Blacksmith and Innkeeper (1911 census) listed as Red House Inn
1919 – Elijah Male (Kelly’s 1919 Directory)
1935 – Percy Walter Head (Kelly’s 1935 Directory)
1968 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1968 Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1969 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1969 Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1970 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1970 Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1971 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1971 Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1972 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1972 Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1973 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1973 Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1974 – Licensee not named (1974 Yeovil Directory) listed as Red House Inn
1987 – Licensee not named (Denton’s 1987 Directory) listed as Red House Inn