Named after the Horsey family, Stewards of Yeovil
The name Horsey Lane derives the Horsey family who were Stewards of Yeovil under the Abbess of Syon, Lord of Yeovil from 1415 when Henry V granted Yeovil to the Abbey after his victory over the French at Agincourt, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1534. In 1538 Sir John Horsey obtained the lease of the lordship and parsonage of Yeovil for an annual fee of £45. His descendants kept the Lordship of the Manor of Hendford in the family until 1610.
Their name is perpetuated in Horsey Lane, previously the whole of West Hendford. The arms were azure, three nags' heads couped or, bridled argent (on a blue field, three golden horses heads cut off in a straight line, with silver bridles).
Originally Horsey Lane, sometimes referred to as Horses Lane, ran from its entrance opposite the Three Choughs in Hendford to the catchpool (now the junction of West Hendford and Beer Street) before turning sharply left to Hendford Bridge by today's Railway Hotel.
Today's West Hendford appeared as Salthouse Lane on E Watts' map of 1806 and as Horsey's Lane on E Watts Jnr's map of 1831.
At the southern end of today's Salthouse Lane was a tan yard owned by John Perrott and facing today's West Hendford. Perrott was in dispute with the Town Commissioners and threatened to 'indict' the road unless they would put it into good repair. The authorities refused to be threatened but a compromise was reached in 1835 when it was agreed that Horsey's Lane, from the Three Choughs to today's Beer Street, was to be put into good repair at the expense of the private residents (of which there were very few), but after February 1836 the responsibility for maintenance of the road would be assumed by the Commissioners.
It was a rural lane bounded both sides by fields and in the 1841 Census it was listed as both Horsy’s Lane and Horsey’s Lane but only contained three households with a total of twelve people. In the mid-nineteenth century Horsey Lane was re-named West Hendford, apart from the final short stretch between the catchpool and Hendford which remains Horsey Lane to this day.
In a complete change, and for no currently-apparent reason, today's West Hendford was named Cricket Lane in the 1901 census. In fact Cricket Lane was a colloquial name used simply because a field used for cricket was situated off West Hendford, at the time a simple track beyond Beer Street, between the allotments and the Westland factory complex. This was later the Somerset County Cricket ground for five First-class matches between 1935 and 1939.
Although a few more houses had appeared by the time of the 1901 Ordnance Survey in the area of Manor Road, fields still bounded the north of West Hendford from Salthouse Lane to Beer Street.
This section of Bidder's map of Yeovil of 1843 shows the extent of Hendford Park - the grounds of Hendford House (today's Manor Hotel) - all but filling the space between today's West Hendford, seen running from top right to lower left, and Hendford, running down the right hand side of the map. At the bottom, in the land marked as 'Mr R Tucker' was Hendford Lodge, the lodge to Hendford House.
The map also shows the length of the original Horsey Lane running from top right diagonally to lower left then running diagonally down to just right of centre at the bottom.
1886 Ordnance Survey showing today's Horsey Lane running diagonally across the centre, with West Hendford (formerly also Horsey Lane) at top left and Hendford at right. Originally the whole of today's West Hendford and Horsey Lane was called Horsey Lane.
The end of Horsey Lane at its junction with Hendford photographed from outside the Railway Inn in the late 1960s before the Police Station and Queensway were built.
.... and seen from a slightly different angle with Hendford running off to the distance at right.
The 1953 Bus Crash. Having crashed through railings, the Hendford bus lies at an angle of 45° in Dodham Brook which runs alongside Horsey Lane.
From my collection
The Haven Garage's advertisement in the 1958 Yeovil Guide.
Looking along Horsey Lane in the mid-1960s.
.... and seen from a little closer to West Hendford.
Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson
Dodham Brook broke its banks and flooded Horsey Lane on 6 August 1962 - reproduced from a newspaper clipping.
Horsey Lane seen from Beer Street, circa 1965.
.... and the same scene photographed in 2013.