the history of yeovil's pubs
king's head inn (1)
Known before the mid-17th century as the Cock in the Hoop, the King’s Head Inn (marked as 'D' on the 1886 map below) was a three storey building with a two-storey bay to the front elevation. It stood on the corner of High Street and George Court, nearly opposite the Mermaid Hotel but slightly down towards the Borough, and was a well-known posting house. Its frontage measured 38 feet (11.6m).
The origin of the name 'Cock in the Hoop' is explained in 'English Inn Signs' by Larwood & Hotton (1951, p303) "Anciently, instead of being a painted board, the object of the sign sometimes was carved and hung within a hoop, hence many of the signs are called the "---- in the Hoop". These Hoops seem to have originated in the highly ornamented bush or crown which latterly was made of hoops and covered with evergreen."
The advertisement of 1823 shown below gives a good description of the inn's facilities "having underground and other cellars, a commodious dining room, a large parlour, and several comfortable bedrooms, together with a large store room, brew house, four good stables, wash house, back kitchen, larder, yard, and other convenient appendages.... and a communication with South Street."
The penultimate landlord, John Melmoth, was born around 1786 in Somerset and appears in the 1841 census as an inn keeper with his wife, Betty, and their three daughters.
The final landlord was Joseph Dean and the Western Gazette noted in 1848 "Joseph Dean (late of the King's Head Inn) informs his friends that, in consequence of the site on which the King's Head premises are situated being required for the new Town Hall and market, he has purchased the stock, &c., of Mr John Thomas of the Castle Inn and will succeed to the business there at Lady-day next."
The Kings Head Inn was bought in 1848 by the Corporation of Yeovil and demolished the following year as part of a redevelopment scheme for the construction of a new Town Hall and Market House in High Street which involved the demolition of much of the area. Today the site of the King’s Head Inn is covered by the shops at the northern end of the now-pedestrianised King George Street.
The advertisement for the letting of the King's Head in the 1 January 1823 edition of the Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser.
This drawing dates to 1839 and depicts High Street looking towards the Borough. On the left the Mermaid with its familiar archway and large overhanging sign is clearly seen. On the opposite side of the road, just right of centre, the white three storey building with the two-storey projecting bay is the Kings Head Inn and beyond that the two-storey building is probably the building of the former George Inn. The two-storey building at right (Granger the druggist's shop) was, and would become again, the Fleur-de-Lys.
The scene of the previous image, but seen in 2012. This photograph was taken on 02 May 2012 - the day the Queen visited Yeovil as part of her Jubilee Tour. Notice the string of patriotic bunting slung across the road - don't us Yeovilians just know how to celebrate in style!
owners / tenants / licensees
1679 – Henry
Moore (Poor Rate
Extracts) 6d. at
ye King's Head,
1689 – Mr Penny (Poor Rate Extracts) 6d. for ye King's Head, Burrough
1822 – Thomas Barnicott (Pigot’s 1822 Directory)
1823 – Mrs Barnicott (advert above)
1824 – Thomas Barnicott (Pigot's 1824 Directory - Inns & Hotels)
1829 – Mrs Hayward Barnicott, owner - John Symonds, occupier (Land Tax Returns) listed as
Kings Head Inn
1830 – John Symonds (Pigot’s 1830 Directory)
1839 – John Melmoth (Robson’s 1839 Directory)
1841 – John Melmoth – Innkeeper (1841 census) pub not named but listed in High Street
1848 – Joseph Dean - left King's Head due to demolition, moved to Castle (Western Gazette)
1849 – Demolished
This is to give notice that the Crewkern Carrier Sets out from the George Inn in Crewkern every Saturday at Four o'Clock in the Afternoon, and from his own House in North Perriot near Crewkern very Tuefday Morning by Seven o'Clock: From the King's Head in Yeovil at Ten:.... and will be at the White Horse Inn in Friday Street, London, every Saturday morning. N.B. He will not be accountable for any Money, Plate, Jewels, Watches, Rings, or Writings pack'd in Boxes, Parcels etc. if lost: Glass or China, if broke, unless enter'd as such, that proper Care may be taken of them, and the same paid for accordingly. Perform'd (if God permit) by Anthony Slade of North Perriot. (The Sherborne Mercury of Weekly Advertiser, October 1737).
- 12 May