the history of yeovil's pubs





Rustywell inn

6 Rustywell, Hendford Hill


There is a typical Victorian domestic terrace of five small cottages, of the 'two up, two down' type, in Rustywell, just beyond the modern caravan park, These are shown on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map and the eastern three are shown in the photograph below.

One of them was the Rustywell Inn beerhouse in question - it is unclear which one, but the 1886 Ordnance Survey map has 'P.H.' next to the cottages. Tony Robins remembered it as the first house, with a jug of cider costing 2d, and also recalled that it had a sign on the wall outside saying "Licensed for Cider Only" so perhaps beerhouse is a bit of a misnomer. There again this probably applied to many, if not most, of the beerhouses in Yeovil which, during Victorian times, was ringed with orchards.

This was probably the longest-running beerhouse in Yeovil, a minimum of 67 years - longer than many 'proper' pubs. Again, I've given a page of its own as was named.  




The first recorded licensee was George Lilly or Lilley. He was born about 1820 at Lydlinch, Dorset, 14 miles east of Yeovil. He first appears in the records as one of three servants to Alfred Tooke, a clergyman at Alvington, Yeovil, in the 1841 census. On 15 November 1846 he married Susan Adams of Trent, Dorset, some four miles northeast of Yeovil, in Trent church. In the 1851 census the couple were listed living in Kingston, George described his occupation as coachman and Susan was a milliner and dress maker. In 1861 the couple were still in Kingston but both were in service; George was groom and Susan was housemaid in the residence of William Bide and his wife, Emma. There were also a cook and a footman in residence. William Bide (1809-1864, after whom Bide's Gardens were named) has an interesting entry in the census - "Glove Manufacurer & Common Brewer & Mayor (the word Mayor written in bold lettering), employing 120 men, 15 boys and 1000 women". By the time of the 1871 census George and Susan had moved to Rustywell where George was listed as beer house keeper. They were still there ten years later and the 1881 census lists George as an inn keeper. Susan died in the spring of 1885 and there is a record that George remarried in the Autumn of 1886 but I could find no further trace of him.

The next licensee, William Treasure, was born about 1835 at Stoke Lane (possibly near Radstock, Somerset), the son of John Treasure, a farmer of 12 acres. William married in the first quarter of 1859 and in the 1861 census he and his new Yeovil-born wife, Amelia, were living in Waterloo Lane, Yeovil, with their baby son, William. William's occupation was given as blacksmith and Amelia was a laundress. By 1871 William and Amelia were living in Huish with their six children aged between 11 and 8 months - William, Annie, Albion, Francis, Caroline and Matthew. William still gave his occupation as blacksmith. Amelia died in the summer of 1878 and by the 1881 census the family were still in Huish although some of the older children had left home and there was a new addition, Mary Jane, aged 8. Albion, aged 16, was an engine fitter, Francis, aged 15, was an iron moulder working in the Huish Brass and Iron Foundry, and 12-year old Caroline was described as a nurse. In the 1891 census William was listed as smith and publican at Rustywell where he lived with his youngest daughter, Mary Jane. It is not known how long William ran the Rustywell Inn but he had certainly left by 1895 and by the time of the 1901 census he and Mary were living in Greyhound Yard, between the Greyhound Inn and the Cow Inn, in South Street. William, by now aged 66, gave his occupation as steam engine fitter and Mary gave hers as house keeper. William died in the autumn of 1904.

John Dibben was recorded as the licensee in Kelly's Directory of 1895 but there was no John Dibben listed in Yeovil in either the 1891 or 1901 census so I've no further information on him.

Albert Edward Axe was born in 1870 in Yeovil, the son of groom and coachman Mark Axe and his wife, Mary née Purchase. In 1871 Albert was living with his parents at Houndstone, Yeovil. By 1881 the family were living in West Coker and Albert had two younger brothers, Frank and Archibald. The 1891 census found Albert, now aged 21, living in Bishopsgate Police Station, London, as a constable of the City of London Police. On 31 December 1895 Albert married Agnes Heley of Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, in London. In 1897 Albert and Agnes had a son, Albert, who was born in the City of London and was followed by two brothers, Percival and Stanley, both born in Bethnal Green. In the winter of 1890-91 the family moved back to Yeovil and in the 1901 census Albert was listed as beer house keeper at Rustywell. By 1903 Albert was running the Volunteer Inn in Hendford but he died in the spring of 1904 aged just 34.

William John Hewlett was the final licensee of the Rustywell Inn - from at least 1911 (but probably 1903 after Albert Axe moved on) until at least 1938. He was born in 1877 at Alvington, near Yeovil, the son of agricultural labourer Samuel Hewlett and his wife, Dorcas. In the 1881 census William was living in Brympton Road with his parents, four older siblings and his paternal grandmother, Ann. In the summer of 1899 William married Agnes May Caines of West Coker and in the 1901 census William and Agnes were living at Camp, West Coker - just east of Yeovil. William was employed as a general labourer. As mentioned above, William probably moved to the Rustywell Inn in 1903 after Albert Axe moved on but certainly by 1911 he was listed in the census at 6 Rustywell although his occupation was only given as general labourer. Living with him and Agnes were their three young children; Harold, Gladys and Sylvia. William appeared in several trade directories during the next twenty years or so, the final one I found being in the 1938 Yeovil Directory. William died in the spring of 1940, aged 63, and Agnes died in November 1957.




Part of the short terrace of houses at Rustywell, one of which was the Rustywell Inn.




1871 – George Lilley – Beer House Keeper (1871 census) listed in Rustywell
1872 – George Lilly – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1872 Directory)
1875 – George Lilly – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1875 Directory)
1881 – George Lilly – Inn Keeper (1881 census) listed in Rustywell
1887 – Eliza Perren – Fined for serving out of hours (Borough Petty Sessions, March)
1891 – William Treasure – Smith and Publican (1881 census) listed as 6 (out of 11) Rustywell
1892 – William Treasure - License transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, January)
            Treasure moved to the Cross Keys in Park Street
1892 – Eli Samways - License transferred (Borough Petty Sessions, January)
1895 – John Dibben – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) pub not named
1900 – John Mitchell – see next entry
1901 – Albert Axe – License transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, May)
1901 – Albert Axe – Beer House Keeper (1901 census) pub not named
1911 – William John Hewlett (Whitby's 1911 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Rustywell Inn
1914 – William Hewlett – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) pub not named
1916 – William John Hewlett (Whitby's 1916 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Rustywell Inn
1923 – William Hewlett – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) pub not named
1936 – William J Hewlett (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Rustywell
1938 – William Hewlett (1938 Yeovil Directory) pub not named but listed at Rustywell