yeovil people

Henry Shorland watts



Henry Shorland Watts was born on 2 July 1832 in Yeovil, and was baptised at St John's church on 12 July 1832. He was the son of Yeovil solicitor, Town Commissioner and Burgess Henry Marsh Watts and his wife Elizabeth née Shorland.

The 1841 census showed Henry and Elizabeth living in Hendford with their three children; Henry aged eight, Sidney aged seven and four-month-old daughter Sarah. The following census of 1851 showed Henry still living at home, but he gave his occupation as an articled clerk, presumably to his father.

On 13 May 1857, Henry married Elizabeth Moore (1830-1889) at St John's church. She was the daughter of Yeovil solicitor Thomas Moore of Far End House, Higher Kingston. Henry and Elizabeth were to have six children; Helen Elizabeth Sarah (1860-1956), Gertrude Moore (1861-1947), Henry Moore (1864-1928), Thomas Moore (1866-1871), Herbert Joseph (1867-1890) and Constance Marion (1872-1955) - all born in Yeovil.

In October 1858, Henry was elected by the Feoffees of Woborn Almshouse to be the Solicitor for the almshouse on the retirement due to ill health of the previous incumbent, Edwin Tomkins. Henry was also a member of the "Yeovil, or 16th Somerset Company of Volunteer Rifle Corps" who met at what is now the Armoury pub in Park Road. The Corps had a Captain, Lieutenant, Ensign and about sixty other ranks and in April 1860, Henry Shorland Watts, gentleman, was appointed Ensign by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Somerset.

The 1861 census recorded Henry as a 28-year-old solicitor living in Ram Park Cottage with Elizabeth and daughter Helen together with an articled pupil Richard Ring, a nursemaid and a general servant.

In April 1862, Henry was listed among those subscribing to the new west window in St John's church in memory of Prince Albert. He subscribed three guineas (around £350 at today's value).

Henry was also the Honorary Secretary of the Yeovil Agricultural Society and in December 1862, in gratitude for his service, he was awarded a testimonial comprising a silver salver and silver tea and coffee services (see Gallery). The services had a combined weight of 12lb 15oz (5.87 kg) and had cost £125 (nearly £12,000 at today's value).

By 1871 Henry had moved his family to live in Hendford, close to Brunswick Street and probably the westernmost house in Hendford Terrace (see Gallery). The census listed Henry as a 38-year-old solicitor, together with Elizabeth, their five eldest children, a governess, a cook and a housemaid. The 1881 census was similar, recording Henry and Elizabeth together with Helen, Gertrude, Herbert and Constance. Also in residence were a cook, a parlour maid and a housemaid.

Henry Shorland Watts died, at the age of 56, in Yeovil on 22 April 1889 and buried in Yeovil cemetery on 25 April 1889. His personal estate was valued at £12,455 9s 9d (around £1.4 million at today's value).


See Family Tree

See Solicitors of Yeovil




The 1857 entry in St John's parish register of the marriage of Henry and Elizabeth.


A report in the 19 October 1858 edition of the Western Flying Post concerning the retirement of Edwin Tomkins from the position of solicitor to the Woborn Almshouse and being replaced by Henry Shorland Watts.


The report of Henry's testimonial from the 13 December 1862 edition of the Salisbury and Winchester Journal.


From the Cave Collection (colourised), Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

Photographed in the 1960s, this photo looks north along Hendford with Hendford Terrace at right. The trees beyond the terrace were in the grounds of Hendford Manor and hidden away behind the trees was Hendford Manor Lodge. It is thought that Henry's home was the large end of terrace house at the right, during the 1870s and 1880s.


The entry of Henry's burial in Yeovil cemetery, from the Holy Trinity parish register.


The table tomb marking the grave of Henry Marsh Watts and his wife Elizabeth, together with their eldest son Henry Shorland Watts and his wife Elizabeth in Yeovil cemetery. Photographed in 2014.