Yeovil, a market-town, a municipal borough, and a parish in Somerset. The town stands on the river Yeo, with stations on the G.W.R. and L. & S.W.R., 125 miles from London. It was known at Domesday as Ivel, passed through various vicissitudes till comparatively recent times, and is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, who act as the urban district council. The town is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and publishes four weekly newspapers. The manufacture of kid and other leather gloves is the staple industry. There are also breweries, a butter factory, cheese stores, and nurseries. The town has undergone considerable improvement and enlargement; most of the shops have been modernized, and many handsome houses have been erected, especially in the outskirts. It presents a well-built and pleasant appearance, and has a head post office, three banks, two chief hotels, a police station, a town-hall in the Grecian style, built in 1849, a corn exchange and market-house, public baths, assembly-rooms, a temperance hall, Constitutional and Liberal clubs (the latter opened in 1895), and various local institutions. There are also an endowed grammar school, a literary institute, an agricultural society, almshouses, a workhouse, a cottage hospital, a weekly market on Friday, and fairs on the last Friday in June and the third Friday in Nov. Area of the municipal borough, 699 acres; population, 9648. The population of Yeovil Out Parish, which has an area of 3357 acres and a parish council of seven members, is 1295-making the population of the entire parish 10,943. The population of the ecclesiastical parish of St John is 6580.
The Church of St John the Baptist is an ancient and spacious building of sandstone in the Perpendicular style, contains some monuments to the Harbin, Batten, and Newman families, and has been restored. The living is a vicarage, with the parish of Preston annexed, in The diocese of Bath and Wells; gross value, £450 with residence. Holy Trinity Church, Hendford, has already been noticed under HENDFORD. All Saints' Church, Yeovil Marsh, is a small building of stone, and was erected in 1870. The living is a vicarage; gross value, £57. The Reformed Episcopal Church, erected in 1880, is a building of stone in the Early Decorated style. There are Roman Catholic, Congregational, Baptist, Wesleyan, Unitarian, and Primitive Methodist chapels. The parish includes the tithings of Yeovil Borough, Hendford, Wigden and Huntley, Lyde, Pen Mill and Marsh. Newton House, Hendford House, Pen House, Hendford Manor House, Kingston Manor, Aldon, and Hollands are chief residences. Newton and Windmill Hills command fine views.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Yeovil St. John the Baptist|
|Poor Law union||Yeovil|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The register of St. John the Baptist dates from the year 1560.
The register of St. Michael and All Angels dates from the year 1897.
The register of All Saints' dates from the year 1872.
Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.
Church of England
All Saints, Yeovil Marsh (parish church)
All Saints' church, Yeovil Marsh, erected in 1870, is a small building of stone, consisting of chancel, nave, western porch and a turret, with one bell: there are 120 sittings.
St. John the Baptist (parish church)
The church of St. John the Baptist is a spacious building of local limestone with Ham stone dressings in the Perpendicular style, erected about the middle of the 15th century (the crypt, probably part of an older church, dating from 1226): the church consists of chancel, nave of seven bays, aisles, transepts, south porch, organ chamber and a massive and lofty western tower with pierced parapet and containing 10 bells, the tenor weighing 2 tons 6 cwt.: the aisles, being nearly the same height as the nave, give a magnificent, effect, which is much increased by the great size of the windows; under the eastern part of the chancel is a crypt, of late Early English or Early Decorated work, and vaulted from a central pier: the chancel retains sedilia and an aumbry, and the font is a fine example of the Perpendicular style: there are brasses to Marton Forester, a monk, c. 1460, with half-effigy and two Latin verses, and one to Giles Penne, gent. c. 1519, and Isabel, his wife: there are also monuments to the Harbin, Batten and Newman families, and a marble bust of the Rev. Robert Phelips M.A. a former Vicar: the stained west window was erected by the inhabitants, as a memorial to H.R.H. the Prince Consort, who died Dec. 14, 1861; a fine organ was presented by Mrs. Mayo, in 1895, at a cost of £1,200, and reconstructed in 1904, at a cost of £850: the church has been restored since 1860, at a cost of £1,649, and affords sittings for 850 persons.
St. Michael and All Angels, Pen Mill (parish church)
The church of St. Michael and All Angels, Pen Mill, erected in 1896, by Miss Cole, Lady Barben and the Rev. Canon E. P. Cole M.A. of Bristol, at a cost of £9,000, and consecrated June 12, 1897, is a large and handsome building of Ham stone in the Perpendicular style, from designs by Mr. Joseph Nicholson Johnston A.B.I.B.A. and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, a chapel In the south aisle and an embattled western tower containing one bell: in 1901 two stained windows were erected, one of which is a memorial to Mrs. Anne Cole: the screen of carved oak is a memorial to the Rev. Thomas Henry Cole M.A. d. 1893: there are 550 sittings.
Baptist Chapel, South Street
The Baptist chapel, in South street, is an edifice of stone, erected in 1829, on the site of an earlier chapel built in 1688: it was enlarged in 1899 and a new organ erected at a total cost of £1,700, and has sittings for 700 persons.
Baptist Chapel, Huish
A small Baptist chapel of red brick with Ham stone dressings, was erected in 1895, in Huish.
Brethren Chapel, Vicarage Street
The Brethren's chapel, in Vicarage street, has 150 sittings.
Congregational Chapel, Princes Street
The Congregational chapel, in Princes street, is a building of Ham stone, erected in 1878, on the site of an earlier structure, built in 1792, and has sittings for 600 persons: the old school adjoining was remodelled in 1893, and converted into a hall to hold 300 people.
Methodist Chapel, Vicarage Street
The Wesleyan chapel, in Vicarage street, is a large building of stone in the Gothic style, and has 650 sittings.
Primitive Methodist Chapel, Newtown
The Primitive Methodist chapel, Newtown, built in 1872, was enlarged in 1891, and will seat 220 persons.
Wesleyan Chapel, Pen Mill
There is a Wesleyan chapel at Pen Mill, with 80 sittings.
Reformed Episcopal church, Earle Street
The Reformed Episcopal church is a small iron building in Earle street, with 180 sittings.
The Catholic church, dedicated to the Holy Ghost, stands at the junction of the Avenue and Higher Kingston: it was begun in 1894, and completed in 1899, from designs by the Very Rev. Canon A. J. C. Scoles, and is a building of Ham stone, in the Early English style, consisting of nave, with semi-decagonal apsidal sanctuary, aisle with Lady chapel, sacristy with spacious organ loft above and a turret over 70 feet high, containing one bell: the church is supported by massive buttresses, relieved by niches filled with statues of saints, and has an altar of fine marbles: adjoining is a presbytery and opposite the entrance is a 13th century crucifix, which stood in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist until about the 16th century, and was discovered in that church during the re-building in 1854.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Yeovil from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Yeovil (St. John the Baptist))
Online maps of Yeovil are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Somerset papers online:
- Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette
- Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser
- Western Gazette
- Wells Journal
- Somerset County Gazette
The Visitation of Somersetshire, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.