the history of yeovil's pubs





full moon

Grope Lane / 10 Wine Street


The first record I found for the Full Moon in Wine Street dates to 1790 but it is likely that the Full Moon had been operating for many years before that. Wine Street (which originally comprised of both today's Wine Street and lower Union Street as far as South Street) had been called Grope Lane and is even mentioned in the Woborn Muniments of 1341. The name Grope Lane probably refers to nothing more salacious than having to grope, or feel, one's way along in the dark, narrow lane. It only changed to Wine Street between 1813 and 1831.

The Full Moon, shown as 'D' on the map above, was sandwiched between the Royal Oak on one side and the Running Horse and the Wine Vaults on the other.

On 15 April 1843 the inquest into the death of George Watkins was held here. George had been in a fight at the Running Horse beerhouse, also in Wine Street. For more details see that premises' page.

In 1875 and 1878 the Post Office Directory noted that Mr Woods ran a carrier service to Castle Cary from the Full Moon Inn every Friday.

What the original Full Moon looked like is unknown, but we know the present building dates from around 1895 since an advertisement for the Full Moon in the 1896 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser proudly states "New Premises".

The animation at left shows the development of the Grope Lane / Wine Street premises from 1800 through 1880.

The Full Moon was one of the longest-operating of the Wine Street hostelries and operated from at least 1790 until the 1950's.


Licensees of the Full Moon appear to have changed very frequently during the 19th century.

David Duffett was born around 1781. Advertisements in several trade directories place him as the licensee of the Full Moon between 1822 and 1830 but by the time of the 1841 census he was living with his son, also called David, in Park Street.

The following licensee was William Allen, but there were three William Allens in 1841, all living in Rotten Row, and it's not possible to tell which one ran the Full Moon. However, the William Allen that ran the Full Moon was declared bankrupt in 1837.

Following the death of James Cayme the Elder, legal squabbles involving two Yeovil inns, the Full Moon Inn in Wine Street, owned by Cayme, 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?

After William Allen, James Foan first appears as licensee in the 1841 census, listed as an inn keeper, with his wife, Rhoda, and three young children.  In 1839 James had been licensee of the Seven Stars Inn, a beerhouse in Bond Street but by 1850 he was a wine and spirit merchant at the Wine Vaults next door but one.

As James Foan moved out, so George Bacon moved in. George was born around 1799 at Bath, Somerset. He is first mentioned in Hunt's Directory of 1850 and by 1851 he was living in the Full Moon with his wife, Ann, their two sons and a daughter-in-law, a barmaid, a house servant and an ostler plus eight lodgers - a total of fifteen people living under the one roof. George died in 1859 and Ann carried on as licensee for at least a couple of years.

In 1851 Louis Slade had been living in Chant's Path (off Brunswick Street) with his wife, Eliza, and their baby daughter. Louis' occupation was given as 'tayler' and Eliza's was 'tayleress'. By 1861 Louis was described as a grocer and innkeeper and was running a beerhouse in Huish Lane. He took over the Full Moon in June 1862 but by 1875 he was licensee of the Chough's Tap but this was also the year he died.

In 1881 Sarah Steele was a 30-year old widow with a 16-year old daughter and was running the Full Moon on her own. I could find no further records for her.

Henry James Stacey, known as James, was born around 1833 in Kensington, London, the son of a pork butcher, William Stacey, and his wife, Mary. By 1851 James was also a pork butcher. However he joined the army and rising to the rank of Sergeant in the 11th Hussars, served 11 years in India. In the 1881 census James was in Yeovil, boarding with his sister and her husband in Reckleford and employed as a messenger.

In the census of 1891 Henry is listed with his new wife, Sarah, and two domestic servants. Sadly however, in June 1892, he committed suicide by taking strychnine and was found in a garden close to his home - at left is the report of his suicide in the Taunton Courier.

It is not until the arrival of Samuel Leach in 1896, just after the rebuild of the inn, did any long-serving licensee appear.

Samuel Russell Leach, known as Russell, was born in Yeovil around 1852 the son of Henry Leach, a confectioner of Middle Street, and his wife Louisa. By 1871 Henry had died and Russell, now listed as a confectioner, helped his mother run her confectioner's shop in Middle Street. Also at the address were his three brothers and three sisters, only one of whom was old enough to work. In 1881 Russell was listed as boarding with his older brother, Robert, who was licensee of the Pall Hotel. At this time Russell was aged 29, single and still a confectioner. By the time of the 1891 census he was himself a licensed victualler, running the George in Middle Street with his younger sister, Louisa, employed as his assistant. By 1896, as evidenced by his advertisement in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser, Samuel / Russell was licensee of the Full Moon where he continued as licensee for at least 18 years.

A few years after Samuel left Victor Cook took over the license in the mid-1930's. Victor was licensee of the Full Moon for the next twenty years or so, leaving in 1954 to run the newly-opened Milford Inn in Milford Road when the licence of the Full Moon was transferred to the Milford Inn. By 1960 Victor Cook was running the Volunteer Inn in Hendford.

I believe the Full Moon closed as licensed premises in 1954.




The Full Moon and the Running Horse were sandwiched between the Wine Vaults and what had been the Royal Oak, now the Green Room. The present building dates to 1895. This photograph taken in 2012.


... and a front elevation courtesy of Mr Google and his most excellent website.




1790 – Mary Willmington – Maltster and Victualler (Universal British Directory) listed as the Moon
1822 – David Duffett (Pigot’s 1822 Directory) listed as Full Moon
1824 – David Duffett (Pigot's 1824 Directory)
1827 – David Duffett (1827 Jurors List)
1828 – David Duffett of James Cayme, proprietor (Land Tax Returns)
1830 – David Duffett (Pigot’s 1830 Directory) listed as Moon
1839 – William Allen (Robson’s 1839 Directory) listed as Moon
1841 – James Foan – Inn Keeper (1841 census)
1842 – James Foan (Pigot’s 1842-4 Directory) listed as Moon.
1846 – Abel Whittle of Sherborne – Owner, freehold inn & dwellinghouse (Poll Book) Moon Inn
1850 – George Bacon (Hunt & Co 1850 Directory) listed as Moon
1851 – George Bacon – Inn Keeper (1851 census) pub not named
1852 – George Bacon – Inn Keeper (Slater’s 1852 Directory) listed as the Moon, Wine Street
1861 – Ann Bacon (50-year old widow) – Victualler (1861 census)
1871 – Louis Slade – Licensed Victualler (1871 census)
1875 – John Steele (Kelly's 1875 Directory - Hotels & Inns)
1881 – Sarah Steele (30 year old widow) – Innkeeper (1881 census) listed as Full Moon Inn
1889 – Henry Stacey (Kelly’s 1889 Directory) listed as Full Moon
1891 – Henry Stacey – Licensed Victualler (1891 census) listed as Full Moon
1894 – Mrs Stacey - agreed sale to Samuel Russell Leach but died before signing.
1894 – Samuel Russell Leach granted license (Petty Sessions) "premises not habiatble"

1895 – The Full Moon was rebuilt or remodelled around this time.

1896 – SR Leach – Proprietor (Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser 1896) 'New Premises'
1897 – Samuel Leach (Kelly’s 1897 Directory) listed as Full Moon
1901 – Samuel Leach – Hotel Keeper (1901 census) listed as at 9 Wine Street
1911 – Samuel Russell Leach – Hotel Keeper (1911 census) listed as Full Moon
1914 – Samuel Leach (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) listed as Full Moon PH
1919 – William Brake (Kelly’s 1919 Directory) listed as Full Moon
1923 – Mrs A Brake (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) listed as Full Moon PH
1936 – V Cook (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Full Moon
1938 – VFJ Cook (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Full Moon
1939 – Victor Cook (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Full Moon PH
1947 – V Cook (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Full Moon
1949 – V Cook (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Full Moon
1951 – V Cook (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Full Moon
1954 – V Cook (1954 Yeovil Directory) listed as Full Moon