yeovil people

A Branch of The Vincent Family

from shepherd to Gentleman


Thomas Vincent was born around 1770 at Cerne Abbas, Dorset. Nothing is known of his early life, but on 19 July 1798, at St James church, Preston Plucknett, he married Mary Bartlet (1779-1847). At the time of the marriage, Thomas gave his address as Trent which, at the time, was in Somerset. They were to have four children: Harriet (1803-1862, bap 13 Jan 1804 at Mudford), Benjamin (1807-1885), John (bap 27 Feb 1814, at Mudford) and Ann (b1818).

Initially Thomas and Mary lived at Trussage (?), Mudford, where Thomas worked as a shepherd. This was likely a farm in the area of today's Primrose Lane. Certainly their son John was baptised at Mudford in 1814.

By the time of the 1841 census, 65-year-old Thomas and Mary were living in one of only three houses in Goldcroft at the time. They were living in the house close to Reckleford with glover John England, his wife Ann (Thomas and Mary's younger daughter) and their fourth-month-old baby son George. Thomas gave his occupation as a gardener. Also living in the house were fellow gardener William Symes and his wife Harriett.

The 1851 census showed that Thomas, by now a widower, was living at the same house in Goldcroft, but with his son-in-law Robert Hodder, a leather parer, his glove sewer wife Harriett (Thomas and Mary's elder daughter - they had married at St John's on 21 May 1846, it was both their second marriages) and their two sons Grant, a 13-year-old glover, and 10-year-old scholar Alfred.

Thomas Vincent died in Yeovil in February 1853 and was buried in St John's churchyard on 24 February 1853. He was 77 years old.



Benjamin Vincent was the elder of the two sons, and the second child, of Thomas and Mary. He was born in 1807 and his baptism of 3 May 1807 is recorded in the Mudford parish register as a private baptism. Note: If a new-born infant was sickly and thought unlikely to survive, its fate in heaven required it to be baptised urgently. So, usually, any available clergyman was persuaded to attend the family home and baptised the child there, and hence the baptism was done “privately” and recorded as such in the church's register.

Again, nothing is known of his early life, but on 1 August 1830 at St John's church, Benjamin married Hannah Willey, or Willy (1807-1850), the daughter of John Willy (1778-1867) of South Petherton, and his wife Hannah née Vile (1782-1854). Benjamin and Hannah were to have eight children, all born in Yeovil; Thomas Willy (1832-1918), Elizabeth, known as 'Eliza' (b1833), Hannah (1835-1853), George Willy (1839-1922), Philip (1841-1843), Frances, known as 'Fanny' (1843-1901), Mary Anna (1846-1915) and Lydia (1847-1851).

In the 1841 census, Benjamin and Hannah, together with their children Thomas, Hannah, George and Philip, were listed living in London Road (today's Sherborne Road). Benjamin gave his occupation as a glover and Hannah gave hers as a dressmaker.

Fanny, Mary Anna and Lydia were all baptised together at Holy Trinity church on 13 February 1848, at which time the family were living at Sun House (see Gallery), London Road.

Hannah died on 14 November 1850, aged 43. She was buried in St John's churchyard on 20 November 1850. In the 1851 census, Benjamin and his six younger children, varying in age from 17 to 3, were all listed living at 17 London Road. Benjamin gave his occupation as a grocer and glover, 17-year-old Eliza and 12-year-old George were both listed as box makers, while both 16-year-old Hannah and 7-year-old Frances were listed as being 'at home', presumably running the home between them.

On 24 April 1859, at St John's church, 52-year-old widower Benjamin married 45-year-old widow Elizabeth Talbot (c1814-1887). In the 1861 census, they were listed at Sherborne Road with George and Fanny. Benjamin gave his occupation as a leather glover and George was a paper box maker. The 1871 census recorded Benjamin and Elizabeth, together with Elizabeth's 19-year-old daughter Emma Bishop, living in Vicarage Street next door  (see Gallery) to the Britannia Inn. Benjamin was employed as a glover, while both Elizabeth and Emma were laundresses. In the 1881 census, 73-year-old Benjamin, 67-year-old Elizabeth and 29-year-old Emma were still listed next door to the Britannia Inn. Benjamin gave his occupation as a yardsman and Emma was still a laundress.

Benjamin Vincent died in the spring of 1885, aged 78. Elizabeth died in 1887, aged 73.



Thomas Willy Vincent was born in 1832 at Cerne Abbas, Dorset. He was the eldest child of Benjamin Vincent and Hannah née Willey or Willy.

Although living at home with his parents in the 1841 census, by the time of the 1851 census he was lodging at 8 Upper Wellington, St Paul Covent Garden, London, with Charles Dodge, originally from East Coker, and his wife and daughter, both called Sarah and both from Yeovil. 19-year-old Thomas gave his occupation as a hosier's box maker.

On 25 May 1852, at St Andrew's Scotch church, Stepney, London, Thomas married Jane Elizabeth Collier (1831-1890). They were to have ten children; James M W (b1854), Alfred Edgar (b1856), Carline Isabella (1858-1942), Frank C (b1859), Louis D (b1861), Ida F (b1862), Claude A (b1865), Archibald (1866-1923), Ralph C (1869-1935) and Esther H (b1871). The first tow children were born in London, but by the time of the baptism of Caroline in 1858 the family had moved back to Yeovil where all subsequent children were baptised.

At the time of the 1861 census, Thomas and Jane together with their eldest four children and a house servant, lived in Silver Street, between the Half Moon Inn and Yeovil's second post office (see Gallery). Tomas gave his occupation as a box maker. By 1871, Thomas, Jane, their ten children and two servants were all living in Brunswick Street. Thomas, by now aged 39, described his occupation as "Fancy Box Manufacturer employing 2 Men & 7 Women".

Although the family had been recorded in Brunswick Street in 1871, Thomas had clearly retained the Silver Street property where the 1881 census recorded the family in residence again -  Thomas and Jane, their four youngest children and a servant.

Although he had earlier described himself as a box maker, Thomas was clearly having some success since by the time of the 1881 census, he was describing himself as a stationer. It was presumably around this time he published a lithograph entitled "View of Yeovil from Newton Hill" (see Gallery), by Edward H Buckler. Although Buckler is usually described as flourishing in the 1840s and 1850s, the lithograph clearly dates from after 1861 since it shows a train and what is probably the earliest view of the Town Station.

By 1890, Thomas had retired to Northam, Bideford, Devon, where Jane died on 8 December 1890, aged 59. The 1891 census recorded him as a 59-year-old widower, living in a house called Whitehall in Bideford, with daughters Ida and Esther, grandson Gilbert (son of Alfred Edgar and his wife Mary Ann Maria) and a domestic servant. Thomas gave his occupation as a retired stationer.

On 15 August 1896, at St Matthew's church, Brixton, London, 64-year-old Thomas married 50-year-old spinster Mary Wood (c1846-1920). Thomas described himself as a gentleman of Rock Villa, Bideford.

Thomas Willy Vincent, Gentleman, died on 22 April 1918, aged 86, while living at Woodville, Clovelly Road, Bideford, Devon. His will was proved in August, leaving his estate of £6,720 7s 6d (about £350,000 at today's value) to his widow. Mary died in Devon on 16 March 1920, aged 74.


For the Vincent Family Tree - click here




The record of the 19 July 1798 marriage of Thomas and Mary, from the parish register of St James church, Preston Plucknett,


The record of Thomas' 24 February 1853 burial in St John's parish register.



The entry of Benjamin's 3 May 1807 private baptism in the Mudford parish register.


The 1 August 1830 marriage of Benjamin Vincent and Hannah Willey recorded in St John's parish register. 


Sun House Farm in London Road (Sherborne Road) near its junction with Reckleford, the later Sun House Inn. This is a photograph of an oil painting by SW Good, about 10" by 8". Benjamin Vincent and his family lodged here, certainly in 1848 when three of his daughters were baptised.


This photograph features in my book "A-Z of Yeovil"

The Britannia Inn in Vicarage, photographed in 1942. Benjamin Vincent and his second wife, Elizabeth, lived in the cottage next door to the inn.



Thomas Willy Vincent
(1832 - 1918)


A pencil sketch of Thomas Willy Vincent, dated 1886.


This photograph of about 1960 looks down Silver Street with the Half Moon Inn at extreme right with the building that housed William Jennings' ironmongery shop and Yeovil's second post office next door but one (next to the shop with the awnings). At the time of the 1861 census, Thomas Vincent and his family lived in the house seen here with the awnings, between the post office and the pub.


From my collection

This hand-coloured lithograph, entitled "View of Yeovil from Newton Hill" overlooking the new Yeovil Town Railway Station was made about 1861 (clearly just after the Town Station opened). Drawn by artist and lithographer Edward Holton Buckler, it was published by Thomas Willy Vincent of Yeovil.


From my collection

This enlargement of the previous sketch shows the detail of the train and station much clearer.


The record of Thomas and Mary's 15 August 1896 wedding in the parish register of St Matthew's church, Brixton.