the history of yeovil's pubs
seven stars (2)
3 Bond Street
The sign of the Seven Stars may have Medieval origins when Our Lady was often depicted with a crown of seven stars, representing the Seven Joys of the Virgin. An alternative explanation is that the sign represents the seven stars of the Plough, the widely recognised asterism, or part, of the constellation of Ursa Major.
The first public house in Yeovil called the Seven Stars Inn was located in the Borough and is first recorded in Land Tax Returns of 1775 but must have ceased trading shortly after 1828. The Seven Stars under discussion here (shown as 'F' on the map below) was the second of the name and began trading after the demise of the first and is first noted in 1835. Its address, at 3 Bond Street, locates it immediately next door to the New Inn. Bond Street itself was only laid out and built around 1830 by Peter Daniell so the small brick-built, three-storey, single-fronted building occupied by the Seven Stars Inn was almost brand new.
The specialty of the house was the special Friday market day menu of tripe and onions. The story goes that the Seven Stars eventually closed because local glove workers had built up so much credit 'on the slate' that the inn became bankrupt. Nice story, but not true - read on!
Although James Simms was listed in the 1907 Yeovil Directory as the landlord of the Seven Stars Inn (the owners were F Berryman & Co of Shepton Mallet) the license (a beerhouse license) was actually refused in October 1906. The Western Daily Press reported on the meeting of the Somerset County Licensing Committee in its edition of 19 October 1906 ".... The case of the Seven Stars Inn was then taken, and in the course of the evidence Mr Weatherly elicited the fact that over £200 [around £20,000 at 2017's value] was spent in 1900, at the wish of the justices, in alterations to the house. Mr Burnell, a member of the brewery owning the house, said the total cost, including additional site, was £284. The trade was an improving one. In 1903 the tenant had 132 barrels, at a cost of £296, 1904 123 barrels, costing £254; and in 1905, 134 barrels, costing £285.... With regard to the Seven Stars, the license is refused."
With the Licensing Act of 1904 (the Balfour Act) the intention of the government was to reduce the number of licensed premises and the standard of those remaining to be improved. To achieve this the grounds on which a license could be refused were extended. The justices could now refer cases which they considered to be outside their remit to the quarter sessions who could refuse licenses on almost any grounds, including the fact of there being more premises than required to suit the needs of custom. The act made provision for compensation of licensees deprived of their licenses based on the difference in value between the the house having a license and the value without one. In 1906 the Seven Stars was the tied house of Berryman, Burnell & Co of Shepton Mallet.
The Western Daily Press reported on the meeting of the Somerset County Licensing Committee in its edition of 4 January 1907 ".... The Committee then determined the persons entitled to compensation in the following cases.... Seven Stars Inn, Yeovil: Licensee, James Sims; owners, F Berryman & Co; compensation, £1,406."
James Foan was born in Yeovil around 1811. He first appears in the records in 1839 when Robson's 1839 Directory listed him as licensee of the Seven Stars Inn, Bond Street. By 1841 James was noted as licensee of the Full Moon in Wine Street, in the 1841 census where he was listed as an inn keeper, with his wife, Rhoda, and three young children. In the 1851 census James Foan was described as a wine & spirit merchant and was living with Rhoda, five of their children and three servants at the Wine Vaults which by 1861 had reduced to four children at home and two servants living in. James died in the spring of 1864 and the license of the Wine Vaults was taken over by his son Frederick, certainly by 1871.
The next licensee was Henry T Foot, first mentioned as licensee in Hunt & Co's Directory of 1850. Henry Foot was born about 1796 in Bridport, Dorset and married Ann in the early 1830's. They were living in Yeovil by 1834 when their son, Henry, was born. In the 1841 census the family were living in London Road (today's Sherborne Road) just a door or two away from the Sun House Inn. Henry, now a glover aged 44, was living with his schoolmistress wife Ann, aged 39, and their three children; Henry, John and Martha aged 7, 4 and 1 respectively. Of the four people called Henry Foot living in Yeovil in 1851, the Henry running the Seven Stars was listed in the census as a leather dresser and Ann was listed as a shopkeeper. John and Martha were still living with them. In the 1861 census Henry, now aged 65, was listed as a beer house keeper at the Seven Stars Inn. Ann was 61 and 21-year old Martha was listed as a dressmaker. In 1871 Henry and Ann, both listed as newsagents, were living in Park Street with their granddaughter Kate. Ann died in March 1872. In the 1881 census Henry, then aged 86, was listed as a former leather dresser and was living in the Woborn Almshouse. Henry Foot died in Yeovil in March 1882.
John Gulliver was born about 1818 at Henstridge, 12 miles east of Yeovil. I found little evidence of his early life although he married in July 1847 in Yeovil and in Harrison, Harrod & Co's trade directory of 1859 he is listed as the licensee of the John Bull. In the 1861 census he was listed there with his Yetminster-born wife, Sarah, and his occupation was listed as public house keeper. Also present were their 11-year old daughter, Mary Jane, and 9-year old son, John Albert. Sarah and the children died in the fire at the John Bull in March 1863 and, clearly not one to hang around, John remarried four months later, in July. In 1866 John was listed as licensee of the Seven Stars in Kelly's Directory and in the 1871 census he was listed as an innkeeper and was living with his new wife, Mary, in Bond Street. John's second wife, Mary, died in December 1871. By the time of the following census in 1881 John had moved to Purse Caundle, Dorset, where he ran a beerhouse and lived with his carpenter son, William, and daughter-in-law Maria. John Gulliver died in December 1882.
In the 1871 census the Seven Stars was listed as occupied by the family of plasterer Walter Harrison. However it seems apparent that Walter did take on the license as by 1872 he was listed in Kelly's Directory as the licensee and again in 1875. Walter was born in East Coker, just west of Yeovil, around 1830, the illegitimate son of Theresa Harrison and Samuel Douch. In the 1841 census Walter was listed as an orphan living in the Yeovil District Union Workhouse and by 1851 he was lodging in Kingston and working as a blacksmith. In the summer of 1851 he married Tryphena Andrews and in the 1861 census they were living in Belmont Street with their four children, two daughters-in-law and a grandchild. Walter was working as a plasterer and Tryphena and her two girls were working as glove sewers. Tryphena, aged about 36, died in the spring of 1861 just after the census was taken. Walter married Rebecca March, 11 years his junior, and by the time of the 1871 was living with her, two of their children four of his children by Tryphena and three other assorted relatives, in the Seven Stars. He, his son-in-law and nephew all worked as plasterers while Rebecca and one of the girls worked as glovers. It is not really clear who was licensee of the Seven Stars in 1871 - it may have been either John Gulliver, as mentioned above, or Walter. Possibly it was both of them, each for part of that year but certainly by the following year Walter was listed as licensee in Kelly's Directory of 1872. He was still listed as licensee there in Kelly's 1875 Directory but by 1881 he had moved to Vicarage Street where he lived with Rebecca, five of the children and a son in law. Walter still worked as a plasterer. He died in the autumn of 1888, aged about 58.
Henry Sims was born in Ilchester, six miles north of Yeovil, around 1847 the son of farm labourer Alexander Sims and his glover wife, Ann. In the 1851 census Henry, known as Harry, lived with his parents and seven siblings at Ilchester Mead. In 1861 Henry, aged 14, was a hawker's assistant and living in Ilchester with his licensed hawker master, Edward Jennings, and his family. Henry married Sarah Brown in October 1867 and in 1871 he and Sarah, were living in Yeovil with her mother in Paradise, Huish (Paradise was named after the colloquial name for the burial ground next to this terrace of slum housing). In the census Henry's occupation was given as a porter and Sarah's was glover. In the 1881 census Henry and Sarah were listed in the Seven Stars where his occupation was listed as beerhouse keeper. On 15 April 1881 the Western Gazette reported "On Saturday afternoon, Mr H Sims, of the Seven Stars Inn, Bond Street, whilst engaged in placing some empty meat hampers on one of the South Western Railway trollies, in the station yard, fell off the trolley, and the horse starting, one of the wheels passed over his chest, dislocating the collar bone. Dr Colmer is attending the sufferer, who is progressing favourably." Henry was listed as the licensee in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1882 but he died in September 1882 aged just 35. The license of the Seven Stars was taken over by Henry's older brother, Thomas, probably straight after Henry's death.
Thomas Sims was born in Ilchester about 1838 and was one of Henry's seven siblings mentioned above. In 1851, at the age of 13, he was a farm labourer. By 1861 he had married Sarah, 13 years his senior, and they were living at Ilchester Mead where he still worked as an agricultural labourer. By 1881, for whatever reason, Thomas was working as a gardener and lodging in Queen Street, Yeovil, and although he was listed as married there was no sign of Sarah. In the 1891 census however, they were back together and living at the Seven Stars with granddaughter Blanche, aged 10. Thomas was described as a licensed victualler aged 53. Sarah was 66. Sarah died in March 1892. In 1901 the census still listed Thomas as the innkeeper of the Seven Stars and living with him was his son James, aged 42, and 27-year old daughter-in-law, Agnes. James' occupation was listed as a domestic coachman. Henry was still listed as licensee in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1903 but he died in September 1903, aged 65.
After his death,
James took on
the license of
the Seven Stars
and was listed
in the 1907
Seven Stars lost
its license in
1906 and by
1911 James was
with his wife,
Agnes, and four
children at 19
Yeovil, and the
Seven Stars was
simply an empty
The New Inn is at extreme right in this photograph, taken around 1920, and includes the arched entrance. The Seven Stars Inn is immediately next to it, at 3 Bond Street, which is the three storey building next to it with the people standing outside. By the time of this photograph No 3 Bond Street was a lockup shop,
Today the building that once was the Seven Stars Inn is now a hair salon.
owner / licensee
1835 – Licensee
listed as Seven
1839 – James Foan – Beer Retailer (Robson’s 1839 Directory)
1840 – James Foan (1840 Somerset Gazette Directory - Beer Houses) listed as Seven Stars
1850 – Henry Foot – Beer Retailer (Hunt & Co 1850 Directory) listed as Bond Street
1851 – Henry Foot – Leather Dresser (1851 census)
1852 – Henry Foot – Retailer of Beer (Slater's 1852/3 Directory)
1859 – Henry Foot (Harrison, Hodder & Co 1859 Directory) listed as Seven Stars, Bond Street
1861 – Henry Foot – Beer House Keeper (1861 census) listed as Seven Stars Inn
1861 – Henry Foot – Beer Retailer and Shopkeeper (Kelly's 1861 Directory)
1866 – John Gulliver – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1866 Directory)
1871 – Walter Harrison – Plasterer (1871 census) listed as Seven Stars.
1872 – Walter Harrison – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1872 Directory)
1875 – Walter Harrison – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1875 Directory)
1881 – Henry Sims – Beerhouse Keeper (1881 census) listed as Seven Stars
1882 – Henry Sims (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Seven Stars
1889 – Thomas Sims – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1889 Directory) listed as Seven Stars
1891 – Thomas Sims – Licensed Victualler (1891 census) listed as Seven Stars
1892 – Thomas Sims (Whitby's 1892 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Seven Stars
1895 – Thomas Sims – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) pub not named
1897 – Thomas Sims – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1897 Directory) listed as Seven Stars
1901 – Thomas Sims – Inn Keeper (1901 census) listed as Seven Stars
1903 – Thomas Sims (Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Seven Stars
1907 – J Sims (1907 Yeovil Directory) listed as Seven Stars, 3 Bond Street
1911 – listed as Lockup Shop (1911 census)