Formerly part of the Newton Surmaville estate
In earlier times Pen Field was a very large field, partly bisected by Pen Way, occupying the northwestern slopes of today's Wyndham Hiil alongside Sherborne Road and stretching from Newton Road to Hillside Terrace.
The site appears to have been settled by the Romans since coarse late Roman pottery similar to that from the Westland villa site was found at Penfield and Roman tiles were found around 1923 during house building at Penfield.
The earliest recorded reference to Pen Field, albeit somewhat later than Roman times, was in the 1659 Quarter Sessions Roll which recorded "Five hemp shoates stolen from Thomas Francis's Pennfield". A 'shoate' was, presumably, a sheaf or bundle of hemp and gives a clue as to the crop grown on the hill at that time - the flax industry flourished in and around Yeovil until the middle of the twentieth century.
Below is shown the notice of the annual letting of Pen Field and Pen Hill from the Taunton Courier's edition of 19 August 1829, by which time both fields had been subdivided into several smaller parcels. At this time it was owned by Thomas Tytherleigh, Gent., of Norton Fitzwarren. For the complex ownership see the page of his younger brother who occupied it, brewer and baker Robert Tytherleigh of Pen Mill. After Robert's death it became part of the Newton Surmaville estate and was owned by the Harbin family.
By the time of the 1846 Tithe Apportionment Pen Field had been subdivided into several smaller parcels of land (many of which had been sold off), with that alongside London Road (today's Sherborne Road) being built up at an early date. An enlarged view of Pen Field is shown below, the owners, occupiers of the several parcels as at 1846 were as follows -
Parcel 501 - In
Owned and occupied by George Harbin of Newton Surmaville. It measured 0a 1r 17p and was arable, used for growing crops.
Parcels 502 &
502a - In Pen
Both parts owned and occupied by George Harbin. Measuring 1a 0r 0p in total, it was also arable.
Parcel 503 - Garden
Owned by Mary Marshall and occupied by Joel Hardy. It measured 0a 0r 10p.
508 - In
Also owned by Mary Marshall and occupied by Joel Hardy. It measured 2a 3r 35p and was also arable. The western end eventually became the site of the old Western Gazette offices and the Aplin & Barrett factory.
517 - In Pen
The easternmost of the small parcels of the former Pen Field, owned and occupied by George Harbin it was listed 'Gardens', used as arable and measured 0a 1r 25p.
566 - Cottage
Owned by William Jones Prowse, Lord of Kingston Manor, the tenant was Thomas Holt. The plot measured 0a 2r 31p.
Today the former Pen Field is completely filled with a mix of housing, offices, and commercial buildings.
For details on historic land measurement (ie acres, roods and perches) click here.
maps & Aerial photograph
This map is based on the 1842 Tithe Map with field names chiefly added from the 1846 Tithe Apportionment.
The 1842 Tithe Map superimposed (roughly) over a modern street map. Bearing in mind the relatively primitive surveying equipment of the 1840s they weren't all that far out.
Again based on the 1842 Tithe Map, this enlarged view shows the various parts of Pen Field after being broken up into several smaller parcels.
The 2016 aerial photograph of the former Pen Field showing it completely filled today with a mix of housing, offices, and commercial buildings.
The notice of the annual letting of Pen Field and Pen Hill (in all their various parts) from the Taunton Courier's edition of 19 August 1829.
Notice of sale of both Pen Field and Pen Hill after the death of the owner Robert Tytherleigh who had established his brewery adjoining London Road (today's Sherborne Road) on the lower slopes of Pen Field.
An advertisement in the 6 October 1863 edition of the Sherborne Mercury which included two lots in a larger sale that were parts of Pen Field. At the time of the sale both parcels were owned by George T Hardy of Lyde Villa.
This interesting aerial photograph, probably taken during the early 1960s, shows the junction of Reckleford and Sherborne Road at lower left with Townsend running along to bottom right. The house at the junction (now a pedestrian / flowerbed area) is at lower left, the Duke of Wellington at lower right and the industrial units between the Sherborne Road houses and Wyndham Hill at top right. Pretty much everything seen in this photograph except the lower left quadrant was built on the former Pen Field.
Courtesy of Chris Rendell
These houses were the first to be built along the south side of Townsend and seen on the 1842 Tithe Map above. Photographed in 1983 shortly before their demolition.