the history of yeovil's pubs
2 High Street
The oldest surviving licensed premises in Yeovil (marked 'A' on the 1886 map below), despite an overabundance of competition, with the earliest mention in the records being 1517. It was recorded in 1629 as the Miremaide although many people (including the Town Council - see photo at left) tend to read too much into this spelling form while forgetting that before the introduction of the Board Schools in the 1870s there was no standardised system of spelling in the English language - even Shakespeare spelt his own name four different ways!
In 1618 an order was made that only nine licensed premises be allowed in the borough (that is the town, not that part of High Street today called the Borough) and two outside, with the rest being 'suppressed'. The Mermaid was undoubtedly one of the nine 'allowed' premises.
Originally, of course, the Mermaid was much smaller than it is today, being only that part from the arch and to the east; that part now 1a and 1b High Street to the west of the arch was originally built as a single town house in the late eighteenth century.
Having said that, I have recently discovered a notice, reproduced below, in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal of 13 November 1769 when Samuel Lloyd took over the establishment from George Gast that states ".... the whole House (except two Rooms in Front) with the Assembly Room, Stables, and all other Offices, have been built from the Ground by Mr Gast within these ten Years..."
Salisbury & Winchester Journal, 13 November 1769
The Mermaid was often used as a meeting place for societies and other groups - for example in 1817 the Mermaid was the venue for the first performance by the Yeovil Philharmonic Society (I wonder whatever happened to them?) before an audience of 150.
Always an important coaching inn, in the early 1850's the 'Telegraph' stagecoach left from the Mermaid Hotel at 7:30am every day, bound for Salisbury where travellers could then catch the train to London. Also the Mermaid had its own horse-drawn omnibuses, as seen in the photograph at left of about 1907. These were used to transport guests between the hotel and the various railway stations - Hendford Halt, Yeovil Town station, Pen Mill station and Yeovil Junction - meeting every passenger train. A similar service was carried out by the Three Choughs Hotel.
An article from the Daily Herald, dated 25 January 1949, recounts the origin of the inn's name "Ever since 1571 The Mermaid Hotel - an old coaching inn - has been putting up travellers. Round the walls and from the low ceilings hang reminders of the days when the Quicksilver Royal Mail coach stopped at Yeovil. But in its long history The Mermaid, which has no connection with the sea, but gets its name from the Maid of Mere..."
None of the very early licensees except one are known and this exception appears on a trade token. Most Yeovil trade tokens (as opposed to public house 'checks' - see below) were issued by tradesmen following the death of Charles I in 1649 in order to overcome the lack of small change in general circulation. No copper coinage was minted during the Commonwealth and the resulting paucity of small coinage was met by these independently-produced and completely unauthorised tokens of brass or latten (copper alloys similar to brass). In 1672 farthings were minted in the reign of Charles II with the consequent demise of trade tokens.
At left is a farthing trade token, much magnified the original being some 15mm in diameter, from the Mermaid, undated but falling within the period 1649 to 1672.
It is inscribed on the obverse "IOSEPH (Joseph) CLARKE AT THE (a Mermaid)". On the reverse is inscribed "IN YEAVELL IN SOMERSET - C.I.I."'. Tokens usually had three initials, representing the two Christian names of the issuer and his wife plus their surname.
At left is a later public house 'check' from my collection which is easily dated since it was issued by John Reed when he was proprietor of the Mermaid Hotel and he was only recorded there in 1897. On the obverse is "MERMAID HOTEL" over "J REED" over "PROPRIETOR" over "YEOVIL", the reverse has the standard closed wreath containing the value 2d. Made of bronze or brass, it is just under 28mm in diameter and is 1.2mm thick.
The lower example is different only in its value - 3d. At this time three old pence could buy you a good feed of tripe and onions.
Checks were frequently used in games, such as skittles or quoits where, for instance, players would 'chip in' a check to the 'kitty' which would be won by the winning team to redeem at the bar. By issuing checks a landlord could guarantee they would be spent in his establishment only.
See also Yeovil Trade Tokens and Checks
In the Yeovil Guide of 1962 the Manor Hotel and the Mermaid Hotel were the most expensive hotels in Yeovil with Bed and Breakfast from 25/- per night (about £48 at 2017's value). For comparison the Three Choughs Hotel was 22/6 per night, the Pen Mill Hotel was 16/-, the Elephant & Castle Hotel was 15/6 and the Globe & Crown was cheapest at 14/6 (about £13.50 at 2017's value). By 1970 the prices were still the most expensive at the Manor Hotel with Bed & Breakfast from 45/- to 55/- per night (£50 to £63 at 2017's value), lunch at 14/6 (about £19) and dinner at 16/6 (about £22). Again for comparison, Bed & Breakfast at the Three Choughs Hotel was 42/- per night with breakfast only at 9/6 and tea from 3/6, the Preston Hotel was from 32/6 per night with lunch at 12/6 and dinner from 14/6, the Butchers Arms was 25/- for a single and 45/- for a double room per night and the Elephant & Castle Hotel was cheapest at 21/6 (about £29) per night.
Pevsner in "The Buildings of England - South and West Somerset" describes the Mermaid as "an entertaining Gothick version of the classical theme of the inn archway with a Venetian window above. The archway has couple shafts and a trefoiled head, and the Venetian window has - is this unique? - ogee-headed sides and a pointed-trefoiled centre".
Well it may have been unique when Pevsner saw it in the late 1950's, and it may be unique now - but originally there was a building, now demolished and replaced, on the corner of High Street and Princes Street with a matching window.
In 1879 the Town Council minutes of 2 September noted that "Complaints made that the drain from the 'Mermaid Hotel' had not been commenced; the Surveyor stated that it would be open next week."
In October 1886 the Mermaid Hotel was sold by retiring John Corrie and reported in the Western Gazette as ".... that valuable and well known old-established hostelry, the property of Mr John Corrie, who has carried on a most successful business there for the past 25 years." The hotel was sold for £4,950 (around £480,000 at 2017's value).
to be of
to be a
The following description is taken from the Somerset Historic Environment Record -
"Inn, with shop; both known to have existed by 1770. Ham stone ashlar with stone slated roof between coped gables with brick chimney stacks (renewals) at each end. Apparently built at the same time as Nos 1A and 1B. Wide opening on left-hand side with bolection moulded round trefoil arch with moulded imposts and return of moulding down jambs as Quasi-columns onto a simple plinth. The old gate survives. To the right a C20 shopfront. Above the arch a triple window with plain surround and impost blocks - the centre 9-pane sash has a round trefoil arched head with non-radial toplight and the side 6-pane sashes have depressed ogee arches: to the right two 8-pane sashes in simple architraves; above a cornice with hidden gutters behind. Inside the archway a porch with traces of brick nogging to a timber stud partition. The interior much altered at both floor levels, but some original doors and panelling remain, and the cellars not greatly changed. There are early C20 extensions to the rear yard, which has a separate entrance to Princes Street. Note the plates proclaiming "Member of the Licensed Victuallers Defence League of England and Wales" on both entrance gates. (Mortgage deed of 1770 in frame just inside main entrance)."
From me - "Because of its proximity to the animal market it enjoyed special traditional market day opening hours that meant that farmers and dealers attending the market could get a 'wet' breakfast at something like seven in the morning. The Mermaid was one of several pubs in Yeovil that were allowed special market day opening hours on Fridays, basically staying open all day at a time when most pubs only opened for three hours at lunchtime and then closed for the afternoon, opening again later for the evening session. More than once I've taken a half-day's leave from the office and had a 'market day afternoon' which, at the time, was a rare treat now almost forgotten with today's relaxed 'open all day' licensing laws. During the mid to late 1970's I was in here nearly every lunchtime anyway as, at that time, I worked in the Council offices across the road and our back door was, fortuitously, directly opposite the 'Merm'."
The following is from an article in the Western Gazette of 13 July 1990 -
Mermaid pub is saved
The Mermaid Hotel, Yeovil, which closed a few days ago after the sudden departure of the licensees, can reopen. An emergency application for a protection order for the hotel was granted by Yeovil magistrates on Tuesday. This will enable Mr Ian Butters of Bywell Avenue, South Shields, to take over as relief manager. Mr Gareth Isaac, for Bass South West Ltd, who own the hotel, said the joint licensees had indicated that they were not prepared to carry on. Mr Robert Felstead, the local Bass manager, said Mr Butters had been employed as a relief manager for the past two years and his appointment at the Mermaid might be made permanent if he made a success of the job.
The following is from an article in the Yeovil Express of 30 September 1993 (clearly, Ian Butters didn't work out) -
Moving in at the Mermaid
The historic 17th [sic] century coaching inn, the Mermaid Hotel, in Yeovil's High Street was recently taken over by JC & RH Palmer of Bridport from Bass Taverns. John McClimonds is the new tenant with landlady June Dearnley. John has been with Palmers for eight years. Head chef Clive, who is London-trained, moved to the Mermaid from Bridport with John and June and is now accompanied by the second chef, Garry. The Mermaid is steeped in historical interest and is believed to have once accommodated the infamous Judge Jefferies and his notorious Bloody Assizes. Watch out, it is also purported to have several unpaying 'spirits'.
The restaurant at the Mermaid Hotel, 1993 - with John McClimonds, June Dearnley and head chef Clive at right.
The first of the 'modern' licensees appearing in the records was Frederick Watts. He was born in Frome around 1804 and he is first recorded as licensee of the Mermaid when he became the new landlord of the Mermaid in November 1838 and celebrated, as reported in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal of 19 November, with a celebratory dinner ".... when upwards of 100 persons sat down to one of the most sumptuous entertainments.... the courses consisted of soups, fish, game, made-dishes, poultry, select joints of meat, and all the vegetables in and out of season, served up in upwards of 500 dishes."
He was listed in Robson's Directory of 1839 and makes his final appearance twenty years later in the Harrison, Harrod & Co's 1859 Directory. For whatever reason Frederick was not present on the night of the 1841 census, so his wife, Sarah, is listed in the census as the inn keeper. The 1851 census listed him as the hotel keeper alongside his wife, Sarah, their daughter and a niece. Living in at the time were also a coachman, chambermaid, waitress, cook, under ostler, boots, post-boy and barmaid but, strangely, no guests were listed in the hotel. Frederick Watts died in June 1855, despite which he was still being listed in trade directories in 1859.
The next licensee, John Corrie, was born in Dumfries, Scotland about 1826. He was the son of blacksmith Ephriam Corrie and his wife, Mary and in 1841, at the age of 12, John was an apprentice tailor. In 1854 he married Elizabeth Cordwent at Wellington, Somerset and by the 1861 census they were living in the Mermaid Hotel, where John was listed as hotel keeper, with their young daughter, Bessie. (Son Robert and another daughter, Mary, were absent on the night of the census). At the Petty Sessions in August 1864 John was fined for ".... having in his house three cups purporting to be pints." They had been measured by the police and each was found to be a gill short, to which John responded that they were not used as pints, but as three-penny tankards for ale, stout, etc, whereas the cost of a pint was fourpence. Despite his protestations, he was fined 20s and costs. Two more children, Kate and William, were born during the 1870's. John, Elizabeth and daughter Mary were still living in the Mermaid in 1881 and John's final listing in a trade directory was the following year. John retired in 1888 and by the time of the 1891 census John, listed as a retired hotel proprietor, was living in Preston Road (at Grove House) with Elizabeth, son Robert, daughter Kate and a female servant. John died in September 1898.
From the 22 June 1888 edition of the Western Gazette in which it was noted that John Corrie and his wife were retiring to live at Grove House and Frank Hulbert was taking over the Mermaid.
Frank Hulbert's early life is something of a mystery, he was born in Stoke Newington, Middlesex (now Greater London) about 1865 but his parents are unknown. In 1871, at the age of six, he was a resident pupil at a boarding school in Fryerning, Essex, with his older brother Walter and in the 1881 census he was living with his younger brother, Ernest, in the Strand Union Children's Establishment in Edmonton, North London, although not as an 'inmate' but as the nephew of John Snell, the superintendent of the institution. Frank's occupation was listed as a sailor. Frank married Hilda Tapper née Snell on the 4th April 1888 at All Saints, Edmonton and they took possession of the Mermaid in Yeovil on 21st June 1888. By 1889 Frank was listed in Kelly's Directory as the licensee of the Mermaid. In the 1891 census Frank was aged 26, married to Edmonton-born Hilda also 26 and they were living in the Mermaid Hotel where Frank was listed as the hotel keeper. Interestingly the number of living in hotel staff had increased and now included a cook, kitchen maid, waitress, two housemaids, two chambermaids, a boots and two barmaids. Frank died from complications manifesting from a cold and an internal disorder on the morning of Christmas Eve 1892, aged just 27. Hilda took over the license and is listed as late as 1895 in Kelly's Directory but I lost her in the records after that.
I've virtually no information on the following licensee, John Reed, who was listed in Kelly's Directory of 1897. The most likely suspect is John Read, a coach builder born around 1863 in South Cadbury, living in Frederick Place with his family in 1901 - he is the only John Reed in Yeovil at the time, but if he was the Mermaid's licensee for a brief time would be just a guess.
There is more information on Charles Thomas Pitcher; he was born on 16 November 1855 on the Old Kent Road, London, the son of brewer Isaac Pitcher (1810-1862) and his wife, Mary, née Harvey (b1821). In fact I've given Charles Thomas Pitcher his own page on this website.
WG Adams was listed as the licensee in 1923 followed by a span of over ten years by AJ Croft.
Sketch Plans of the Mermaid Hotel
These are sketch plans based on originals held at the Heritage Centre, Taunton. The original plan above is dated 1938 and many people might be surprised to see that the facilities were for hotel guests only and not the general public.
The sketch plan below is based on an original dated 1957 at which time it was owned by Brutton, Mitchell Toms Ltd. The plan was submitted because the meeting room, towards the top of the plan, was being created from earlier 'vaults bars' and in the main hotel building a new servery was created in the lounge bar. It was probably around this time that the bars became more public-centred rather than being reserved exclusively for hotel guests. Nevertheless while new toilet facilities for both ladies and gents were created next to the new meeting room, there were still no ladies' toilet facilities in the main building.
Advertisement in the Sherborne Mercury edition of 30 December 1799 for the Yeovil Ball to be held in the Mermaid and the 'last ball of the season' from the edition of 3 February 1800.
This is the earliest photograph I found of the Mermaid Hotel - it was taken between 1887 (when the 3-light Sugg lamp in the foreground was presented to the town to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria) and 1897 (when the three storey Capital and Counties Bank seen in most subsequent photographs opened on the corner of High Street and Princes Street - replacing the building seen here at left). Of greatest interest, perhaps, is that this building preceding the bank, Henry White's home and shop, had an arched Venetian window at first floor similar to that above the Mermaid's entrance.
This photograph was taken around 1898 to show off the new building on the corner of Princes Street and High Street built for the Capital and Counties Bank and opened in 1897. It was later occupied by the National Provincial Bank, the national Westminster bank, then the Bristol and West Building Society and now the Britannia Building Society. The Mermaid, without today's ugly shops, stands alongside to the right.
An enlargement of the previous postcard, showing the Mermaid and Alma House next door.
This sepia-toned postcard is dated 1904 and looks along High Street towards the Borough. The Mermaid Hotel is seen to the left of the large three-light Sugg gas lamp that was donated to the town by the Yeovil Gas and Coke Company in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
From my collection
A postcard of 1905. The detail is enlarged below.
From my collection
This photograph is taken from the above postcard. Note the horse-drawn omnibus - the Mermaid had its own omnibus that ran to and from the railway stations as a courtesy to guests.
Courtesy of the Western Gazette
High Street photographed (from Denner's window?) in 1906.
This photograph looks down High Street towards the Borough and, I think, dates to around 1910. A group of fashionably-attired young lads gather around the Sugg lamp at the junction of Hendford and High Street. A far cry from the previous photograph with its horse-drawn omnibus, the Mermaid now has a notice painted on its wall saying 'Motor Entrance around the corner'.
This postcard of Princes Street dates to about 1925 and shown at extreme right is the rear entrance to the Mermaid Hotel which was also the entrance to the Hotel guests' garage.
The garage entrance to the Mermaid Hotel, mentioned in the previous photograph, is seen here at right in this photograph of the 1930's looking along Princes Street. Note the wonderfully ornate bracket from which the Mermaid's sign is suspended. The buildings both sides of the street remain unaltered today apart from modern shop fronts.
From my collection
I'm not sure when the photograph of this postcard was taken but it must have been during the 1920's or 1930's judging by the AA and RAC signs (although, of course, the RAC was founded in 1897 and the AA in 1905). However it does show up particularly well the fine entrance arch and the Venetian window over - frequently overlooked as today's world rushes by. Note too the absence of shops on the ground floor either side of the arched entrance - I doubt that many Yeovilians can remember it looking like this!
Originally, of course, the Mermaid was only that part from the arch and to the right; that part now 1a and 1b High Street to the left of the arch was originally built as a single town house in the late eighteenth century.
By 1942, the date of this photograph, a shop had been inserted into the Mermaid's structure - the first of what would become three shops.
This postcard of High Street dates to about 1955 and shows, for the first time, the shops installed on the ground floor elevation facing High Street.
A far more familiar view taken in the 1960's with the ground floor shops now present, although I must admit that I can't remember the Mermaid being painted white. At left is opticians Dollond & Aitchison next to Braddick's tobacconists. To the right of the Mermaid arch it looks like Maynard's sweet shop has closed down - I seem to remember it moved to Princes Street. The shop then became 'The Little Shop' for a brief spell.
The Mermaid photographed in the 1990s. Dollond & Aitchison has gone, Braddick's remains and Buy Fresh greengrocery has moved in to replace Maynard's sweet shop and The Little Shop. Buy Fresh was, in turn, replaced by hairdressers Hair@K&Gs by 2008 (and, briefly in 2014 Signature Hair). At extreme right Denner's has moved into what had been the store begun by Ince Gamis in the 1840s.
I think I prefer the natural stone look of today. Sadly though, with the three shops at street level, this fine old inn does seem to merge with the general street scene and has completely lost the look of the fine building in the first photograph. Photographed in 2012. Mortimer's bakery has replace Dollond & Aitchison while Braddick's tobacconist is still going strong - I wonder when it started?
Taken from the above photograph, this shows the extent of what originally would have been the Mermaid Inn - a surprise to most of us.
The rear entrance in Princes Street - once the entrance for horses and later the entrance to parking for hotel guests with those new-fangled petrol-driven automobiles.
owners / tenants / licensees
c1660 - Joseph
trade token -
pre-1677 – Bullock (see Documentation below)
1738 – Edward Mines (ditto)
1759 – George Gast (died c1769 - see newspaper clipping shown above)
1769 – Samuel Lloyd (Newspaper clipping shown above)
1777 – William Simpson
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette - 8 May 1777
1785 – Licensee unknown
Salisbury & Winchester Journal - 23 June 1788
1793 – Susannah
1810 – Mr Wilkins
1822 – Hannah Wilkins (Pigot’s 1822 Directory) listed as Mermaid and Posting House
1824 – Hannah Wilkins (Pigot's 1824 Directory - see Documentation below)
1827 – Richard Treherne, innkeeper (1827 Jury List)
1828 – Hannah Wilkins, owner - Rd. Treharne, occupier (Land Tax Returns)
1830 – Richard Trehern (Pigot’s 1830 Directory) listed as Mermaid Inn (Commercial & Posting)
1831 – Hannah Wilkins, owner - Richard Treharne, occupier (Land Tax Returns)
1832 – Hannah Wilkins, owner - Richd. Treherne, occupier (Land Tax Returns)
1839 – Frederick Watts (Robson’s 1839 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1840 – Fred Watts (Somerset Gazette 1840 Directory)
1841 – Sarah Watts – Inn Keeper (1841 census) not named but in High Street
1842 – Frederick Watts (Pigot’s 1842-4 Directory) listed as Mermaid Inn
1846 – Frederick Watts (1846 Poll Book) listed as Mermaid Inn
1846 – William Wilkins, owner - Frederick Watts, occupier (Tithe Apportionment)
1851 – Frederick Watts - Hotel Keeper (1851 census) – listed as Mermaid Inn
1852 – Frederick Watts - Inn Keeper (Slater’s 1852 Directory) – listed as the Mermaid Inn
1856 – Frederick Watts (see Documentation below)
1859 – Frederick Watts (Harrison, Harrod & Co 1859 Directory)
1861 – John Corrie (Kelly’s 1861 Directory)
1861 – John Corrie – Hotel Keeper (1861 census) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1861 – John Corrie – Hotel Keeper (1861 census) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1864 – John Corrie – Fined for having short measures (Petty Sessions, August)
1872 – John Corrie (Kelly's 1872 Directory - Hotels & Inns)
1875 – John Corrie (Kelly's 1871 Directory - Hotels & Inns)
1881 – John Corrie – Hotel Proprietor (1881 census) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1882 – John Corrie (Kelly’s 1882 Directory)
1886 – John Corrie - sale of Mermaid Hotel (Western Gazette, 29 October 1886)
1889 – Frank Hulbert (Kelly’s 1889 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1891 – Frank Hulbert – Hotel Keeper (1891 census) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1895 – Mrs Hilda Hulbert (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) listed as Mermaid Family & Commercial
Hotel & Posting House & Wine & Spirit Merchant
1897 – John Reed (Kelly’s 1897 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1901 – Charles Pitcher – Hotel Keeper (1901 census) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1911 – Charles Pitcher – Hotel Keeper (1911 census) with eleven staff living in
1914 – Charles Pitcher (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1923 – WG Adams (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) listed as Mermaid Family & Commercial Hotel
& Posting House
1935 – Mr & Mrs AJ Croft – Proprietors (Kelly’s 1935 Directory)
1936 – AJ Croft (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1938 – AJ Croft (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1939 – AJ Croft - Proprietor (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Mermaid Family and
1947 – AJ Croft (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1949 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1951 – Licensee not named (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1957 – Licensee not named (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1960 – Licensee not named (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1969 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1969 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1972 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1972 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1973 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1973 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1974 – Licensee not named (1974 Yeovil Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1987 – Licensee not named (Denton’s 1987 Directory) listed as Mermaid Hotel
1990 – Ian Butters, Relief Manager - Bass South West Ltd, owners
1993 – JC & RH Palmer of Bridport, owners, John McClimonds, tenant
The Mermaid 'that was Bullock's in High Street'.
To be Let, and Enter'd upon at Lady Day next, or at any time before if desired, The Mare-Maid Inn in Yeovil in Somersetshire, well situated in the Market-Place, with good Stables, Brewhouse, and all Conveniences fit for an Inn; being now in the possession of Edward Mines, Glover. Also about 40 Acres of good Meadow Ground fit for Grasing, or a Dairy situate near Yeovil, well water'd. Likewise several Houses to be sold in Yeovil. Any person having Occasion of any of these, may recieve good Encouragement by applying to the Proprietor, Mr Edward Mines, Glover, in Yeovil. (The Sherborne Mercury. 24 January 1738, Advertisement, p4)
Chief rents due to Edward Phelips, Esq. - Mr Gast for Mermaid Inn. 16s. (Mayo documents).
Whitmarsh's post-coach set out from the Mermaid Inn every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 o'clock in the morning, and arrives at the Saracen's Head Inn, Friday Street, London, the following day; and returns to Yeovil every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, about one o'clock in the afternoon, in its way to Taunton. The Exeter coach arrives at the Mermaid Inn about 12 o'clock at noon in its way to London; and gets to the Bell & Crown, Holborn, the following day; and arrives from London, about one in the afternoon. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, in its way to Exeter. (Universal British Directory - Coaches - 1790).
Susannah Weldon, Victualler (Mermaid) - (Universal British Directory 1793).
"We were very lucky in our weather except the first Evening when it rained almost all the way from Ansford Inn to Yeovil, where we slept at the Mermaid, a most horrid Inn, the Angell is shut up and the next day we found to our mutual astonishment that the Inn at Crewkerne was as good as that was bad, so, had we persued our original plan, we should have fared much better." (Somerset & Dorset Notes & Queries XXXII.677: Letter from TS Horner, to his father at Mells, August 1797. Extract).
There will be a Ball at the Mermaid Inn in Yeovil on Monday the 7th day of January 1811. Tickets to be had of Mr Wilkins. (Western Flying Post, 12 November. Advertisement, p4).
The Yeovil Philharmonic Society gave its first concert before an audience of 150 at the Mermaid Hotel. (Western Flying Post, 2 May 1817).
Mermaid (and Posting House), Borough, Hannah Wilkins - Coaches - Mermaid, Royal Auxillary Mail - London, every day at one. To Bridport and Weymouth, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, afternoons at two. (Pigot's 1824 Directory - Inns & Hotels).
Hannah Wilkins, proprietor; Rd. Treherne, occupier (Land Tax Returns)
Coaches - to London... The Traveller calls at the Choughs and Mermaid Inns, every afternoon at half-past one, goes through Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Salisbury, etc. To Bristol... the Royal Dorset from Weymouth calls at the Choughs Inn every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at a quarter before twelve - goes through Ilchester, Glastonbury, Wells, etc. To Exeter... the Traveller calls at the Mermaid and Choughs Inns every morning at nine, goes through Crewkerne, Chard, Honiton, etc. To Weymouth... the Royal Dorset, from Bristol, calls at the Choughs Inn every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at a quarter before two, goes through Dorchester. (Pigot's 1830 Directory - Inns)
Hannah Wilkins, proprietor; Rd. Treherne, occupier (Land Tax Returns)
Reform Riots - Saturday 22 October 1831 - Mob said to have threatened to sack the town. Yeomanry captured two rioters, brought before magistrates sitting at the Mermaid Inn. Insurgents attacked the inn with a view of rescuing the captives; windows broken. Yeomanry dispersed the crowd, having been ordered to 'fire four in the air, and two at the rioters'. One rioter injured. (Notes of Leslie Brooke)
18A Mermaid Garden - OA or 20p - owner William Wilkins, occupier Frederick Watts. [Note - the 1842 Tithe Map shows 18 as inn in High Street and 18A 'The Garden' off Church Street.] (Tithe Apportionment)
4 November 1846 - Ordered that the owners of the Outhouse adjoining the Back Gateway to the Mermaid Inn be paid £10 for setting back the front wall of it about 15 inches in a line with the adjoining Buildings the wall being rebuilt at least to the height of 6 feet. (Town Commissioners Minutes)
Inland Revenue Office: Mermaid Inn; Superviser, Richard C Amey (Innkeeper Frederick Watts) - (Hunt & Co 1850 Directory)
Excise Office, at the Mermaid Hotel. John Edwards, supervisor (Innkeeper Frederick Watts) - (Slater's 1852-3 Directory)
"... the 'Mermaid' was a posting house and for gatherings of gentlemen farmers. I saw the Earl of Cardington arrive at Hendford Station on his coming home from the Balaclava Charge of his Light Brigade . He was on his way to Crichel, near Wimborne, to his sister, Lady Gerard Sturt. At Hendford the Yeovil boys took the horses out of his carriage and dragged it with ropes to the Mermaid Hotel. The General thanked the people in two or three words from the upper window near the left side of the archway entrance, but he seemed to me to look much worried and sad. (Newspaper Cutting [Unspecified], Letter by WC Clothier, 22 April 1922. [aged 9 in 1853]).
2 March 1888 - Mr T Brown proposed, Mr Meade seconded, That the charge for attending the Fire at Mermaid Hotel be as follows: 8 men @ 7/6. £3; 6 do. all night 10s.6d. - £3.3s.; Police 2s.6d.; Helpers £6 5s.; Damage to uniforms £2 10s.; Engineer £1 10s. - £16 10s. 6d. - Carried unanimously. (Fire Brigade Minutes, 2 March 1888)
Carriers - Chant on Saturdays for Stoke, Purchase on Saturdays for Tintinhull. Omnibuses from the Three Choughs and Mermaid Hotels meet every train. (Whitby's 1911 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
Grade II - Mermaid Hotel - There are two parts to the High Street frontage, the older probably late 17th or early 18th century. This is two-storey three-wondow pointed stone. Steep roof of stone slates [actually tiles]. Moulded stone eaves, cornice, with concealed gutter. First floor has three sash windows, one of these being three light with a trefoil head to the central light and ogee curves to the heads of the side lights. Windows have flat painted stone architraves and window-box rails. Ground floor has wide arched entrance with very heavy moulded stone bilection mould and moulded imposts. The arch itself is trefoil in shape. A shop-front has been inserted. Remainder of front is lower two-storey three window, probably late 18th or early 19th century. Sash windows with flat painted stone architraves. Slate roof, dormers. Moulded stone eaves, cornice, with later gutter. (Ministry of Town & Country Planning - Yeovil Municipal Borough - Provisional List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest - July 1948 - High Street, north side).
- Is the