Yeovil people

james cayme the younger

Maltster and Wine & Spirits Dealer


James Cayme was born around 1780 the son of James Cayme the Elder and Winifred née Lush. He had three known siblings; John, Elizabeth and Mary. He married in January 1806, and he and his wife Grace née Watts, daughter of solicitor Samuel Watts the Elder, were to have eight children, all except one of whom had their baptisms recorded in the Yeovil Independent Church Register of Baptisms - Mary (bap 12 Dec 1806), Elizabeth (b 26 Jul 1808, bap 11 Sep), James (b 22 May 1810, bap 23 Jun), John Lush (b 20 May 1812, bap 4 Oct), Hannah Hammond (b 1814?), Cyrus (b 8 Apr 1816, bap 30 Jun), Charlotte (b 9 Feb 1818, bap 12 Apr) and Henry Samuel (b 25 Jun 1820, bap 6 Dec).

Little is known of James' early life but he became a dowlas and ticking maker taking over, with his brother John, their father's 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 January 1806 James married Grace Watts, daughter of Samuel Watts the elder, at Yeovil. They were to have at least seven children.

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.

However James also had other business interests and dealt in wines and spirits at the Wine Vaults on Wine Street and soon a partnership was formed and noted in the London Gazette that the partnership traded under the name Cayme Watts & Co. Those signing off on a new name were James Cayme the Younger and his brother John Cayme, Yeovil solicitor Thomas Bullock Watts, and Edward Watts, Yeovil's Town Surveyor. However Cayme, Watts & Co was dissolved on 27 July 1813. At this juncture Edward Watts wanted out (he had just married and had even left the military volunteers). In 1815 there was an interesting bankruptcy reported for a certain carpenter named John Nossiter whose creditors included maltsters from as far away as Bristol and the Yeovil brandy merchants, Bullock, Watts & Cayme the Younger.  Indeed James Cayme and Thomas Bullock Watts were themselves declared bankrupt in October 1822. Nevertheless, it would seem that the venture was continued by the firm of Thomas Bullock Watts & Co which was listed in Pigot's Directory of 1824 as a 'Wine & Spirits Dealer' of Wine Street although Thomas was again declared bankrupt in December 1824.

Then the London Gazette had two announcements for October 6, 1821. The first gave notice that James Cayme the Younger was quitting the partnership and that Watts would continue "on his own account" a firm called Thomas Bullock Watts & Co. The second announcement gave notice that James Hilbourne, Thomas Bullock Watts and James Cayme the Younger had dissolved their firm of maltsters that had previously operated under the name Hilbourne & Co. This business would now be carried out by James Cayme the Younger on his own account. In Pigots Directory 1822 this firm was listed as Cayme & Glyde.

As reported in the London Gazette, on 19 October 1822 Thomas Bullock Watts and James Cayme the Younger went into bankruptcy involving sales of stock, land, and furniture. Edward Watts also went into bankruptcy around 1823-24. All three left town soon thereafter although Edward Watts "late of Yeovil, land surveyor" did come back. However by 1828, when James Cayme the Elder made his will, both his sons, James the Younger and John, were dead - James having died on 17 February 1824 leaving a widow and seven children.

On 8 January 1825 the Law Advertiser published a list of "Certificates to Be Allowed" noting "Watts, Thomas Bullock , of Yeovil, Somerset, spirit merchant, partner with James Cayme, the younger, of Yeovil".

The Churchwardens' Accounts noted on 4 April 1831 Robert Jennings paid 6s 8d for "1 Yrs Rent for a House in Wine Street late Caymes". Jennings is known to have had a lumber yard in Wine Street.

The case of the spirits merchants was again in the London Gazette in 1837, but this was because of other legal issues involving Wine Street. Legal squabbles involving two Yeovil inns, the Full Moon Inn (owned by James Cayme the Elder) 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.


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


See Cayme Family Tree