Yeovil people

james cayme the elder

Dowlas & Ticking Maker, Landed Gentleman


James Cayme was born around 1750, probably the son of glover George Cayme of Yeovil who was listed in the Yeovil Poll Book of 1733 as a Glover of Wigdon & Huntley and later mentioned in a lease dated 1753. Possibly his brother was William Cayme, the sail-cloth maker who lived at Hendford Lodge in Hendford. James married Winifred Lush, daughter of Samuel Lush (1712-1773) of Thornford, on 3 February 1778 at Thornford. James certainly had extensive land holdings at Thornford later in his life, probably acquired through his wife's family. James and Winifred had at least four children; James the Younger, John, Elizabeth and Mary. Mary was later to marry Samuel Colman (1780-1845) an early Romantic landscape painter.

He was a dowlas and ticking maker with a manufacturing facility in Grope Lane, today's Wine Street. Dowlas is a plain cloth, similar to sheeting, but usually coarser. It was made in several qualities and was used chiefly for aprons, pocketing, soldiers' gaiters, linings and overalls. Finer quality dowlas was sometimes made into shirts for workmen, and occasionally used for heavy pillow-cases. Ticking is a cotton or linen textile, tightly woven for durability and to prevent down feathers from poking through the fabric. It was used to cover mattresses and bed pillows.

In the Charities Commission Report of 1819, on the table of properties leased from the Woborn Almshouse, the first reference is to a house and garden with sub-component premises on Wine Street. Every year shown, from 1802 through to 1819, James Cayme paid 16/- rent to the almshouse, having assumed the lease of Samuel Daniell.

E Watts' map of 1806 (see below) reveals that James had extensive land holdings either side of Mill Lane. This included his large house on Back Street (today's South Street) with extensive gardens and a large orchard at the rear stretching all the way to Frogg Mill. In today's terms his South Street frontage ran from the corner of Addlewell Lane as far as the old Gaumont cinema while his garden and orchard stretched from South Street to Summerhouse Terrace. On the other side of Mill Lane he owned the large field called Mill Close - again, in today's terms, it included the whole of Central Acre and ran as far as the western side of the Gateway (see maps below). By 1831 Thomas Fooks owned the house, gardens and orchard and John Glyde owned Mill Close.

In September 1811 it was announced in the London Gazette that James Cayme the Elder, of Yeovil, was giving up his dowlas and tick-making factory in Wine Street, and that his sons, James Cayme the Younger, and John Cayme were taking over. Certainly Pigot's Directory of 1822 lists James Cayme Jnr as a 'Dowlas & Tic Manufacturer' of Wine Street. (The next entry is for Samuel Cayme, a shoe thread manufacturer of South Street - but whether or not he was another of James' brothers is unknown but unlikely.) Nevertheless James Cayme the Elder still had property in Wine Street and he was listed as the owner of the Full Moon Inn in the Land Tax Returns of 1828. However by the year of 1828 both his sons were dead.

In his will of 1828 (reproduced below) James the Elder, then living in Sherborne, instructed his executors about what to do with his properties including that on Wine Street. He also owned some 37 acres of land at Thornford, Dorset. Since by this time his sons had died, the estate had to be settled between his daughters Elizabeth Meech and Mary Colman (who had legal wranglings to get the will interpreted and sorted out in a dispute lasting from 1835 until 1838). James Cayme the Elder, eventually died in 1835 (probate date 19 August 1836). He also left five houses in Grope Lane in the care of Henry Etheredge, accountant, and Thomas Fooks, glover, for his six (see note below) grandchildren; Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah Hammond, Cyrus, Charlotte and Henry. He also left his six grandchildren plus a seventh, John Lush Cayme, "my new built dwellinghouse in Grope Lane in Yeovil aforesaid with the Garden and Premises thereto belonging containing in length fifty two feet and in breadth twenty seven feet". He also left his household goods to his son James' widow, Grace, for her lifetime but these were to be passed on to his grandchildren after her death!

Following James' death, legal squabbles involving two Yeovil inns, the Full Moon Inn and the Seven Stars Inn in the Borough, went on from 1835 until 1838. It is most likely that the Cayme property, the Full Moon, was successful in the case since the Seven Stars ceased trading at this time and a different Seven Stars Inn opened in Bond Street in 1835. Strangely, James Foan was the first licensee of the Bond Street Seven Stars but by 1841 he was the licensee of the Full Moon - coincidence or something to do with the legal case?


Many thanks to the late Professor Hugh Pinchin of Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, for supplying much of the above information.


Note: The children of James Cayme the Younger, and hence the grandchildren of James the Elder mentioned in his will, were Mary (b1806), Eliza (b1808), James (b1810), John Lush (b1812), Cyrus (b1816), Charlotte (b1818) and Henry Samuel (b1820). The birth dates and baptism dates of all the children are recorded in the Yeovil Nonconformist Register of Births. James (the grandson) had presumably died before his grandfather's will was written in 1828 and why John Lush Cayme was omitted from a share in the five Grope Lane dwellings is unknown. As for Hannah Hammond Cayme - who knows? James the Younger and his wife Grace were having children every two years from 1806 until 1820, as seen above, but with a gap in 1814 - could Hannah have been born then but not baptised, or the baptism not recorded, at Yeovil? It is almost certain that she was their daughter as she is listed with her mother Grace, living with her aunt, 86-year-old Mary Glyde - her mother's widowed sister.


See Cayme Family Tree




E Watts' map of 1806 shows the extensive land holdings of James Cayme at the time.


To give a better indication of James Cayme's land, the top area outlined in red would have been his garden and orchard while the bottom area is (roughly) the size of Mill Close.


The will of James Cayme, written on 9 October 1828. James died in 1835 and the will was proved on 19 August 1836.