23 & 25 Princes Street

23 & 25 princes street

(West Side) - John Old's House

 

The building known as "John Old's House" in Princes Street is a 17th century residence 'modernised' in the year 1714 by Yeovil mercer John Old the Younger - his initials "IO" and the date 1714 are on a lead rainwater head on the side of the house, illustrated here. Above is a blocked 17th century window with a hood moulding in the gable end, also illustrated. John Old the Elder (d 1710) was a Yeovil mercer and was churchwarden in 1676. His son, John Old the younger, also a Yeovil mercer, was Custos and later Warden of Woborn Almshouse. His 'modernising' of the house included replacing the thatched roof with tiles and casement windows with sash windows. The house was later occupied by the Goodford family (John's daughter Mary married Samuel Goodford).

The house was acquired by Thomas Cave, who had established a brewery behind the house by 1825. He acquired the neighbouring property and owned at least one public house - the Duke of Clarence although called the White Hart at the time. Cave later went into partnership with Joseph Brutton and the brewery continued on both sides of Clarence Street until the 1970's.

The following description is from the Somerset Historic Environment Record -

House formerly, now shop and office, C17 late. Stone, ashlar - Bath stone to ground floor and Ham stone above, with stone slate roof between coped gables. 2-storeys of 3-bays. To left-hand of ground floor a C20 doorway with modern architrave returning into plinth, to right a C20 shop front recessed into flat arched opening; above three 12-square-paned windows in architraves: Ham stone eaves cornice of bold projection. On return south gable, at high level the remains of a 2-light mullioned window with label moulding, now blocked. This property integral with Nos 27 and 29 (q.v.) sharing the same roof and eaves cornice. Variations in detail indicate one, if not both, of these properties has been re-fronted: one re-fronting carried out 1714 by John Old.

 

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At the time of this 1942 photograph, John Old's house was No 15 Princes Street and had yet to acquire the poor modern shop front.

 

Again photographed in 1942, but this time seen from Church Street. Who remembers the Chelsea Tea Rooms?

 

John Old's house, at centre, set in the Princes Street streetscape. Photographed in 2013.

 

Seen from the other direction, the blocked 17th century gable window is seen at high level and the rainwater hopper, dated 1714, is seen left of centre. Photographed in 2013.