the history of yeovil's pubs
duke of york
Another of Yeovil's old public houses, marked 'A' on the map at left, although not always housed in the present building, it was rebuilt after 1905. Any further information would be gratefully received.
Interestingly, the Minutes of the Town Commissioners of 1 July 1834 record the following "Ordered that Mr Etheridge, as Superintendent of Police, be directed to apply to the Magistrates for a Summons against John Plyer, the landlord of the Duke of York Public House to enforce the penalty of the Act of Parliament against him for permitting Gambling in his house." By the following year there was a new licensee by the name of Robson in residence!
The 1846 Tithe Apportionment indicated that the Duke of York was owned by John Tanner Whiteley Pitcher and the occupier was John Brooks Jnr.
There was a fire at the Duke of York, Kingston, in 1893 recorded in the Yeovil Fire Brigade Minutes - "24 April - Fireman March proposed and Fireman Cridland seconded That the charge for attending the fire at the Duke of York Inn on the 23rd inst. be £5.6.0. made up as follows - 10 men @ 5/- each = 2.10.0., Engineer 1.0.0., Police 2.6, 10 helpers @ 2/6 = 1.5.0., Refreshments 7.6." There then followed much solicitor's correspondence where, although the bulk of the payment had been made by the insurance company, some excess was difficult to obtain from the licensee, William Fudge.
It was clearly not a beerhouse (its records pre-dating the Beerhouse Act 1830) even though the 1881 lists licensee William Fudge as a Beer House Keeper - a positive example of the cavalier approach to defining licensed premises by census enumerators.
The Duke of York was rebuilt sometime after 1905 as seen in the first photographs below.
The first half dozen of the known licensees are very elusive in the records and very little information is forthcoming on any until William Fudge became licensee.
William Fudge was, in fact, the longest serving licensee at the Duke of York with over 30 years behind the bar. He was born around 1811 at Chickerell, Dorset and first appears as licensee of the Duke of York, listed as inn keeper, in the 1841 census with his wife, Mary Ann, their baby daughter, Emily and a female servant, 14-year old Ruth Harrison. William Fudge appears repeatedly in the records and trade directories throughout his occupation of the Duke of York although perhaps the most interesting is his occupation as described in the 1871 census - "Inn Keeper and Occupier of a Boat, 12 acres of land". His other main occupation was as a haulier and carrier. He retired to Yeovil Marsh and the Duke of York's license was taken over by his son, William Henry, for at least a further twenty years.
This was followed by a decade with Thomas Norris as licensee. Thomas was born in Mudford around 1854 the son of farm servant John Norris and his glover wife Susanna of Mudford. By 1871 the family were living at Leigh, Dorset. Perhaps the most surprising record I found for Thomas was in the 1881 census where he was a patient in the New North Road Infirmary, Huddersfield, where his occupation was described as 'formerly collier' (unless, of course, there were two men called Thomas Norris born in Mudford in 1854). By 1891 Thomas, now giving his occupation as stoker, was living in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, with his wife, Emma, who was born in Trent, just outside Yeovil. The following year they moved to Sherborne, Dorset, where their son Robert was born and by 1901 they were living at 38 Sherborne Road, Yeovil, and Thomas was listed as an Engineer at a butter factory - presumably Aplin & Barrett's Western Counties Creameries in Newton Road. Coincidentally, it was in 1901 that their St Ivel brand name was first adopted. By 1907 Thomas Norris had become licensee of the Duke of Clarence in Stars Lane, in 1911 he was licensee of the Carpenter's Arms at Chilthorne Domer and, of course, between 1914 and at least 1923 he was licensee of the Duke of York.
Finally, after Thomas Norris, R and BM Sly were licensees for a combined quarter of a century. Sadly, just before its final demise as a pub, it spent a fortunately brief time from 1984 called Buddy's (what were they thinking?) until the Duke of York name was restored in 1990. It became the Conservative Club in 1993.
The following article is from the Western Gazette of 25 November 1993 -
Tories take over at Duke of York
Refurbishment has started at the former Duke of York pub in Kingston, Yeovil, which has been bought by the town's Conservative Club. Decorators moved in on Monday and club chairman Greg Jordan hopes to have the new premises open by mid-February. Meanwhile the present club in Princes Street has been put on the market. Mr Jordan said the club decided to move because the business rates are cheaper at the Duke of York site and because of parking difficulties in Princes Street. "Those are the two main reasons, although the Princes Street building is also in need of repairs and we thought it was time for a move" he said. "The new premises are not any bigger than those in Princes Street but there are 40 parking spaces which is a big advantage."
A postcard dated 1906 looking along Kingston towards the town. The Duke of York is seen at extreme right and is enlarged below.
An enlargement of the previous postcard showing the old building of the Duke of York at right with its hanging sign appearing as a black square above and to the left of the door.
Judging by the width of both his tie and trousers in this newspaper clipping, licensee Colin King was the Duke's landlord in the mid-1970's. The Queen's Delight Morris Dancers disbanded many years ago but the Wyvern Morris Men are still going.
This aerial photograph of 1984 shows Kingston running down from the top left corner of the photo to join the hospital roundabout with Queensway running to the left and Reckleford to the right. The hospital dominates the photograph and the Duke of York, standing to the right of the clump of trees was one of the few survivors from the destruction of Kingston.
Welcome to Yeovil - the only place I know of that has a by-pass running through the centre of the town! (and destroyed much of the historic heart of the town in order to build it).
Courtesy of Chris Rendell
Photographed as Buddy's in 1989.
Courtesy of Vivien and John Cornelius
Photographed as The Conservative Club in 2010.
The Duke of York photographed as the Conservative Club in 2012, desperately needing a little bit if TLC.
1822 – John
listed as Duke
1824 – John Swaffield (Pigot’s 1824 Directory) listed as Duke of York, Kingstone
1827 – George Gregory – Innkeeper, Kingston (1827 Juror's List)
1830 – George Gregory (Pigot’s 1830 Directory) listed as Duke of York, Kingston
1834 – John Plyer (Town Commissioners' Minutes - see above)
1835 – Robson (Somerset Directory 1835) listed as Duke of York, Kingston
1839 – Mary A’Court (Robson’s 1839 Directory) listed as the Duke of York
1840 – John Cox junr. (1840 Somerset Gazette Directory - Inns) listed as Duke of York, Kingston
1841 – William Fudge – Inn Keeper (1841 census) pub not named but in Kingston
1842 – William Fudge – Retailer of Beer (Pigot's 1842 Directory)
1850 – William Fudge – Beer Retailer (Hunt & Co's 1850 Directory)
1851 – WIlliam Fudge – Inn Keeper (1851 census) pub not named
1852 – William Fudge – Inn Keeper (Slater’s 1852 Directory)
1861 – William Fudge – Innkeeper (1861 census) listed as Duke of York Inn
1871 – William Fudge – Inn Keeper and Occupier of a Boat, 12 acres of land (1871 census)
1875 – William Fudge (Kelly's 1875 Directory - Hotels & Inns)
1881 – William Fudge – Beer House Keeper & Carrier (1881 census). Pub name not listed.
1891 – William Henry Fudge – Inn Keeper and Haulier (1891 census) listed as Duke of York Inn
1895 – William Fudge (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) listed as Duke of York PH
1901 – William Fudge – Inn Keeper (1901 census) listed as Duke of York Tavern
1902 – William Fudge (Kelly’s 1902 Directory) listed as Duke of York PH
1911 – William Fudge (1911 census Summary) listed as Duke of York Inn
1914 – Thomas Norris (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) listed as Duke of York PH
1919 – Thomas Norris (Kelly’s 1919 Directory) listed as Duke of York PH
1923 – Thomas Norris (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) listed as Duke of York PH
1936 – R Sly (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1938 – R Sly (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1939 – RE Sly (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Duke of York PH
1947 – R Sly (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1949 – R Sly (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1951 – Licensee not named (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1954 – BM Sly (1954 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1957 – BM Sly (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1960 – BM Sly (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
1968 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1968 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1969 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1969 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1970 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1970 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1971 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1971 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1972 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1972 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1973 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1973 Directory) listed as Duke of York
1974 Licensee not named (1974 Yeovil Directory) listed as Duke of York
mid-1970's – Colin King (from newspaper clipping above).