yeovil people

The Shorland Family

Three Generations of Yeovil Surgeons


Thomas Shorland Snr

Thomas Shorland (occasionally as 'Shortland'), was born in 1745, probably in Ilchester but was known as 'of Yeovil'. His father was likely John Shorland (d1794). On 3 February 1764 Thomas was apprenticed to surgeon John Horsford in London.

On 26 July 1768, at Tintinhull, Thomas married Hester Took (1745-1769). They lived in Tintinhull where their son Richard was born in 1769. Sadly both Hester and baby Richard died during the childbirth. Hester was aged just 24.

Thomas moved to Yeovil where, on 17 December 1770, he married Joan Peddle (1752-1776). They had a daughter Hannah in 1773 but in 1776, again during childbirth, both Joan and her baby son Thomas died. Joan was also aged just 24.

On 19 October 1776 at West Coker, just months after the death of his second wife, Thomas "of the Parish of Yeovil" married his third wife by license - 30-year old Eunice Warry of West Coker but originally of Yetminster, Dorset, daughter of William Warry (1694-1767) and his wife Edith (1710-1779). Thomas and Eunice lived in Yeovil where all five of their children were born; Thomas (1778-1837), Unis (1779-1779), Eunice (1782-1844), John (1783-1877) and Elizabeth (1784-1839, married surgeon John Penkivil of Yeovil).

Thomas was elected Portreeve of Yeovil from 1780 until 1788 and in deeds of both 1783 and 1792 he is noted as 'Thomas Shortland (sic), Surgeon & Portreeve'. In the Universal British Directory of 1790 he was listed as a 'Surgeon & Apothecary'. Another deed dated 1792 recorded his as a 'Surgeon of Bore's Garden, Grope Lane' (today's Wine Street). Thomas took on a number apprentices over the years; Arthur Quartley on 6 May 1779, Robert Paltock on 30 October 1780, Richard Reynolds on 17 July 1786 and Richard Dawe on 9 August 1796.

At the time of writing his will (8 November 1815) Thomas described himself as "of the City of Bristol". Thomas Shorland died in late December 1817 or early January 1818 and was buried in St John's churchyard on 8 January 1818. He was aged 72 and his entry in St John's burial register also noted that at the time of his death he lived in Bristol.


Thomas Shorland Jnr


Thomas Shorland was born in Yeovil in 1778, the eldest of the five children of Dr Thomas Shorland (1745-1818), surgeon and portreeve of Yeovil, and his third wife Eunice née Warry (1746-1820). Thomas had younger siblings; Unis (1779-1779), Eunice (1782-1844), John (1783-1877) and Elizabeth (1784-1839).

Thomas qualified as a Surgeon and Physician, setting up a practice in Yeovil. On 13 October 1796 he married Sarah Spiller (1780-1812) at Yeovil. Thomas and Sarah were to have nine children, all born in Yeovil; Mary (1797-1815), Thomas (1798-1863), William (1801-1884), Sarah (1802-1881), John (1804-1882), Maria Elizabeth (b1805), George (1808-1875), Elizabeth (1810-1889) and Ann (1811-1847). In 1812 Sarah died. She was just 32 years old.

On 30 December 1819 Thomas joined the Yeovil Freemasonry Lodge of Brotherly Love. He was noted as a 'Surgeon of Yeovil'.

On 6 May 1822, by license at St Dunstan's church, Cheam, Surrey, 44-year old Thomas married 21-year old Sarah Margaret Stevens (1801-1841). They were to live in Yeovil.

Pigot's Directory of 1824 listed Thomas as a partner in 'Shorland & Moore, Surgeons of Kingstone' but by 1830 he was in practice with his son William and was listed in Pigot's Directory of 1830 as 'Shorland & Son, Surgeons of Hendford'. At this time part of today's Princes Street was known as Hendford and it may be that Thomas' home and medical practice was located at today's 46 & 48 Princes Street - certainly it was later the home and medical practice of his son William.

In the autumn of 1837, at the age of 59, Thomas Shorland died in Yeovil.



William Shorland

William Shorland was born in Yeovil in 1801 and baptised at St John's church on 17 April 1801. William was the third child of Thomas Shorland Jnr and Sarah née Spiller. William was awarded a License of the Society of Apothecaries in 1823 and in 1830 became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

On 23 May 1826 he joined the same Yeovil Freemasonry lodge as his father and he was recorded as being a 'Surgeon of Ilchester'.  However he had joined his father's medical practice in Hendford by 1830, as noted above.

During late 1830, in preparation for expected civil disturbance, the Mudford Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry was formed of men from Yeovil and its hinterland. William Shorland was appointed Surgeon of the Troop. The Troop was called to service during the Yeovil Reform Riot of 21 and 22 October 1831.

On 4 June 1833 at Yeovil William married Anna Matilda Randall (1807-1885), originally from Wilton, Wiltshire. Anna was the daughter of James Randall (1759-1833) and Frances née Worsfold (1769-1827). Anna's older sister Jane was married to George Mayo, the Yeovil glove manufacturer.

William and Anna were to have a daughter Mary Penelope (b1837) and a son, Frederick A (b1843).

Pigot's Directory of 1840 listed William as a 'Surgeon of Hendford' (although this part of Hendford, between Court Ash and North Lane, is part of Princes Street today). By 1850 William had taken on a partner and the medical practice was listed as 'Shorland & Coles, Surgeons of Hendford' in Hunt & Co's Directory of 1850 but in Slater's Directory of 1852 they were listed as  'Shorland & Coles, Surgeons of Reckleford'.

In 1851, William was noted as an investor in the South Western Railway Company.

In the 1851 census William and Anna, together with 8-year old Frederick and two domestic servants were living at (today's) 46 & 48 Princes Street which, at the time, was a single property. In the 1846 Poll Book William was listed by virtue of owning this property. In the 1861 census William and Anna, together with daughter Mary, a cook and a housemaid, were still at the same address.

In April 1862, William was listed among those subscribing to the new west window in St John's church in memory of Prince Albert. He subscribed one guinea (around £120 at today's value).

During the 1860s William retired and he and Anna moved to York Cottage at this time being run as a lodging house in Kingston, immediately next door to the Duke of York inn. By now William was 70 and Anna was 64. He gave his occupation as 'Retired General Practitioner'. William and Anna then moved to Ashwick, three miles north of Shepton Mallet, to live with their son William and his wife Louisa. William Jnr was the Vicar of neighbouring Oakhill.

William Shorland "formerly of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Surgeon but late of Oakhill in the said County Gentleman" died on 12 May 1884 at Oakhill. His will was proved in July and his estate was valued at £1,612 3s 11d (around £1.3 million at today's value).

Anna died in Yeovil in the summer of 1885, aged 78. 




The former eighteenth century town house, 46 & 48 Princes Street, now converted to two shop premises. This was probably the home and medical practice of Thomas Shorland Jnr but was certainly the home and medical practice of his son William Shorland. Photographed in 2013.


The grave of William and Matilda Shorland in Yeovil cemetery


A closer view of the headstone text.