Yeovil people

The early Whitby Family

of Yeovil


There were members of the Whitby family (also found with the spellings Whebby, Whetbie, Whibbey, Whibby, Whitbey, Whitbye, Whiteby, Whybby and Whytbye) in Yeovil and Preston Plucknett in the sixteenth-century. It should be noted that clerks and others who wrote documents spelled names as they were pronounced - not easy in the early local patois.

In 1546, Lionel Whitby was witness to the will of Thomas Gaylard of Preston.

In 1548 the Return of Chantries recorded that the Chantry of the "Holy Trinity, Yevill... John Whitby holds a garden in Southstrete, and renders per ann iiijd [four pence a year]... Blessed Mary the Virgin John Whytbye holds a burgage with a garden and orchard adjacent containing by estimation iij virgates [about 120 acres] of land and renders per ann xvjd [sixteen pence a year]".

The Certificate of Musters of 1569 recorded that in the Tithing of Preston... "John Whytby and Alyce Whytby... one paire of almaine rivets" [see Glossary]. The Survey and Rental of Somerset Chantries as returned 2 Edward VI (1548), recorded that in respect of paying towards the upkeep of Chantry of the Holy Trinity, "John Whitby holds a garden in Southtreete and renders per annum 4d".

Also recorded in the Tithing of Preston was "Thomas Whybby, billman".

The Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1581 of Preston recorded that the goods of Alice Whetbie Senior were valued at £3 and she paid 3 shillings. The goods of Alice Whetbie, widow, were valued at £4 and she paid 4 shillings, while the goods of John Whetbie were valued at £3 and he paid 3 shillings.

In 1600, Thomas Whitbye was elected Warden of the Woborn Almshouse.



The earliest known progenitor of the recent Yeovil Whitby family was John Whitby (I), who was born in Yeovil in the year 1700. Around 1721 he married Elizabeth Tagg (bc1700-1791) and they had three sons; William (b1723), John (II) (b 1724) and Robert (I) (13 April1728-1797). John Whitby (I) died in Yeovil in 1786 and his wife Elizabeth died in Yeovil in 1791.

Of John and Elizabeth's sons, Robert (I) married Ann Sweetman (1723-1754) at St John's church on 5 May 1754. They had five children; Hannah (b1754), John (III) (1755-1799), Sarah (b1757), Robert (II) (b1758) and William (b1759).

John (III) was born in Yeovil in 1755 and baptised at St John's church on 27 August 1755. He was the second of the five children of Robert and Ann. On 2 July 1778 (the banns were published in June) at St John's church, John (III) married Hannah Taylor (b1744), the daughter of William Taylor of Yeovil. John (III) and Hannah were to have three sons; Richard (b1782), Yeovil glove manufacturer Elias (1783-1869) and Yeovil silk merchant John (IV) (1785-1860).


For the Whitby family tree - click here.


The record of the 30 April 1727 baptism of Robert, son of John Whitby (1), in the parish register of St John's church. The surname here is spelt 'Whitbey'.


The record of John (the son of Robert) Whitby (2)'s baptism in the parish register of St John's church. The surname here is spelt 'Whibby'.


The record of the banns for the marriage of John and Hannah in 1778.


... and the record of their marriage from St John's parish register. Note the spelling 'Wibby'.