the history of yeovil's pubs





royal oak (1)

Back Street (South Street)


Yeovil's first Royal Oak, opened in the wake of the Beerhouse Act 1830 and was a beerhouse in Back Street (today's South Street), not to be confused with the later Royal Oak in Wine Street which, at this time, was known as the Queen's Arms.  

From its position in the 1841 census returns, the most likely location of this beerhouse was in the cottages on the south side of Back Street (today's South Street), between Bond Street and Stars Lane and just east of the glove factory indicated below the words "Back Street" and shown in the photograph below.

Again, I've given it a page of its own as it had a name.



The only known licensee was Isaac Taylor, born in Yeovil around 1786. He is listed as licensee here in the Beer Houses section of the 1840 Somerset Gazette Directory and is listed in the 1841 census as an innkeeper with his wife, Elizabeth. He is listed again in Pigot's Directory of 1842 but by 1850 he was listed in Hunt & Co's 1850 Directory as running a beerhouse in Bond Street. In the 1851 census, Isaac and Elizabeth were in Bond Street, where Isaac was listed as a shop keeper and he was listed as a beer retailer in Bond Street in Slater's 1852/3 Directory. By 1861 Isaac and Elizabeth had moved to London and the census lists them as living in Aldersgate with Isaac a 76-year old labourer and Elizabeth a 71-year old dress maker.




Map based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey of eastern Back Street. The Royal Oak is likely to have been in one of the cottages on the south side of the road at right.




This photograph of lower Back Street (lower South Street) looking east towards Stars Lane was taken in the 1920's by which time the former glove factory (indicated on the map just below the words "Back Street" and in this photograph as the white three-storey building right of centre) was a box-making factory, the site was later occupied by the Somerset & Dorset Box Company - both sides of the road are now car parks. The Royal Oak was most likely in one of the small cottages beyond the glove factory, in the centre of the photograph.




1835 – Licensee not named (Robson's Somerset Directory - Beer Houses) listed as Royal Oak,
            Back Street
1840 – Isaac Taylor (1840 Somerset Gazette Directory - Beer Houses) listed as Royal Oak,
            Back Street
1841 – Isaac Taylor – Inn Keeper (1841 census) pub not named
1842 – Isaac Taylor – Retailer of Beer (Pigot’s 1842-4 Directory)