yeovil people

Joseph Rousell

Butcher and Town Councillor of Wellington Street


Joseph Rousell, known as Joe, was born in Pendomer, Somerset, in 1863. He was the son of Isaac Rousell (1833-1915) originally from Merriott, and Sarah Ann née Rugg (1837-1915) originally from Odcombe. Isaac and Sarah had seven children; James (1859-1898), Edwin (b1861, Pendomer), Joseph, Fanny Louisa (1870-1880, b Beaminster), William George (b1873, Beaminster), Sidney (b1875, Beaminster) and Jessie Alice (1875-1899).

In the 1861 census 28-year old Isaac gave his occupation as a 'Farmer of 55 Acres of Land' at Parsonage Farm, Pendomer. It appears that farming, for whatever reason, didn't work out for Isaac and by 1870 he had moved his family to Fleet Street, Beaminster, Dorset and in the 1871 census he gave his occupation simply as a labourer. The family were still living in Fleet Street at the time of the 1881 census by which time Isaac was working as a farm servant and 18-year old Joe gave his occupation as a butcher.

In the autumn of 1888, at Yeovil, Joe married Jane Ann Hobbs (1871-1949) of Yeovil. They were to have seven children, all born in Yeovil; Joseph Henry George (1889-1960), Fanny Louisa (b1890), Sidney Fred (b1892), Arthur Charles (b1894), Gladis Bessie May (b1900), Annie Ella Linda Maud (b1905) and Mildred Dorothea Grace (b1910). At the time of their marriage Joe established his own butcher's business at 53 Wellington Street with the family home in the accommodation above. This was the last house in Wellington Street before it joined with West Hendford.

In the 1891 census Joe and Jane, together with Joseph Jnr and Fanny were listed at the address and Joe gave his occupation as a butcher. The family were still at the same address in 1901 but with three more children and Jane's widowed mother, Sarah Jane Hobbs, living with them. The 1911 census listing was all but identical, with Joe and Jane, all six children (Fanny had died in childhood) and Jane's mother living above the shop premises. Joe gave his occupation as butcher, Jane and Joseph Jnr were both listed as 'Assisting in Business' and Arthur was a butcher's apprentice.

Joe was a well-known judge of livestock and was one of the founders of the Yeovil Master Butchers' Association. An acknowledged expert on cattle he was a frequent judge at local fat stock shows.

He was elected as a Councillor for the West Ward in November 1920 and served on the Council until ill-health forced his retirement from local politics six months before his death. He was Vice Chairman of the Stores, Markets and Tolls Committee and assisted on the Transport Committee. He was also a member of the Health and Sanitary Committee and the Almshouse Committee.

Joe was a member of the South Street Baptist Church and was closely associated with the Huish Baptist Chapel and for many years acted as its Treasurer.

Joseph Rousell died on 25 February 1932, aged 69. His will was probated in the following May and his effects were valued at £3,537 15s 2d (about £1.1 million at today's value). Jane died in Yeovil in 1949.




This photograph dates to December 1894 and shows Joe and Jane Rousell, their young family and a butcher's assistant outside their home and butcher's shop premises near the end of Wellington Street.


Jane and Joe Rousell, enlarged from the previous 1894 photograph.


Joe Rousell's advertisement placed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1890.


.... and his advertisement in the 1892 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.


.... and his advertisement in the 2 December 1910 edition of the Western Chronicle.