Glove Manufacturer of Vicarage Street
Virtually nothing is known of William Snook's early life although it is thought that he was born around 1780 - unfortunately there was more than one William Snook living in Yeovil at the time and at least two had wives called Mary. On 10 November 1816, at St John's church, Yeovil, William married Mary Beacham. They were to have at least three children; George (who predeceased his parents), Samuel Beacham (b1817) and Elizabeth.
In a report of the 1820s Inquiry of Commissioners concerning the properties owned and leased by the Woborn Almshouse, William Snook was listed as lessee of a property (previously leased by Dorothy Johnson) described as "A house and some outhouses and a yard in Quedam Street, now called Vicarage Street". William produced the lease of the property for the inspection of the Commissioners; it was granted by the Custos and Wardens of the Almshouse in which the premises were described as "a burgage or tenement, situate within the Borough of Yeovil, in Quedam Street".
Pigot's Directories of both 1824 and 1830 listed William as a Glove Manufacturer of Vicarage Street. He was listed in the Jury List of 1827, 1832 and 1834 by virtue of owning a freehold house in Vicarage Street. William was also a member of Yeovil's Vestry.
The following example of pay and conditions while working for William Snook is about William Hawkins - At the age of seven years William began to work for his support. When eleven years old he was put to learn the trade of kid-glove cutting. After serving six months for one shilling per week, he was, in 1825, apprenticed for eight years. The first year he received 18 pence per week, and was advanced 6 pence per week each year until the close of his apprenticeship. The hours for work were in summer from 6am till 8pm, and in winter from daylight till 9pm. His master was William Snook, for whom he worked about six months after his apprenticeship expired.
An indenture dated 3 August 1829 in my collection is interesting as it refers to the lease of properties leased for one year by Robert Jennings 'Plumber & Glazier' to Glove Manufacturer William Snook. It also shows that Jennings built several houses on the site in which, presumably, William Snook made a speculative investment. The indenture refers to "All that Piece or Parcel of Arable Land containing one acre (more or less) lying in a certain Common Field called Gore Field [Goar Knap] in Yeovil aforesaid bounded on the east by Lands belonging to William Helyar Esquire on the west by Brickyard Lane [today's St Michael's Avenue] on the North by Lands belonging to Mrs Callan and on the South by the piece or parcel of Land hereinafter described And also all those several Messuages Dwellinghouses or Tenements and Premises which have been erected thereon by the said Robert Jennings And also All that piece or parcel of Arable Land containing by estimation one Acre (be the same more or less) situate lying and being in Gore Field aforesaid sometime since converted into a Brick Yard bounded on the north by the said piece or parcel of Land Hereinbefore mentioned and described on the South by Lands of James Tucker on the east by the said Lands of the said William Helyar Esquire and on the west by Brickyard Lane aforesaid with the Brick Kiln and all and singular other the erections and buildings now standing or being thereon All which said premises are now in the possession or occupation of the said Robert Jennings or his undertenants....". Again it is assumed that William Snook was committing to a speculative investment with regards to the brickyard.
William Snook died at Yeovil on 4 September 1838. In the 1841 census Mary and her son Samuel were listed living in Kingston. Samuel, presumably having inherited his father's business (although it isn't mentioned specifically in his will - see below) gave his occupation as Glove Manufacturer while Mary gave hers as of independent means.
Whether or not Samuel had acquired his father's business acumen is not know, however it seems unlikely since Samuel moved to New York, USA, where he died on 4 April 1847, aged 30. His will was proved in London and his effects were valued at "under £5".
William Snook's signature against the Vestry minutes of 5 April 1832.
This map, based on the 1842 Tithe Map, shows the parcels of land referred to in the indenture of 1829 above. Parcel 982 was that parcel "lately converted into a Brickyard" that was leased by William Snook. Parcel 981 contained New Prospect Place built and owned by Robert Jennings (his son William had inherited the lands by 1846) - "bounded on the north by the land of the said Robert Jennings". Parcel 983 was "on the South by lands of James Tucker" - this is now the site of Great Western Terrace.
From my collection
The indenture dated 3 August 1829 referred to above in which Robert Jennings leased out the brickyard as well as several houses he had built on the site to William Snook.
Will of William Snook
I William Snook of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Glovemanufacturer being of sound mind and disposing mind memory and understanding do make publish and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say First I direct that all my just debts and funeral and Testamentary expenses shall be retained and paid by my Executrix hereinafter named with all convenient speed after my decease And hereby subject charge and make liable all my personal estate and effects with payment of the same and also with payment of the several legacies hereinafter mentioned I give and bequeath to the three children of my deceased son George the sum of one hundred pounds equally to be divided between them share and share alike as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and I hereby direct that the interest thereof shall in the mean time be applied by my Executrix hereinafter named in for and towards their maintenance education and support until they shall respectively reach the age of twenty one years I give and bequeath to my son in Law James Green the sum of fifteen pounds I give and devise unto my Wife Mary Snook all my messuage lands tenements and hereditaments in Yeovil aforesaid whatever freehold copyhold or leasehold for the term of her natural life and from and immediately after her decease I give and devise the same to my son Samuel and my daughter Elizabeth their heirs and assigns for ever as tenants in common and not as joint tenants all the Rest and Residue of my real Estate and also all the rest and residue of my personal Estate subject as aforesaid I give devise and bequeath unto my said wife in order that she may receive take and enjoy the rents issues and profits thereof for and during the term of her natural loife and from and immediately after her decease I give devise and bequeath the same unto my said son and daughter equally to be divided between them as tenants in common and not as joint tenants And I hereby appoint my said wife sole Executrix of this my Will In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this third day of March one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight - Wm Snook - Signed Sealed published and declared by the said William Snook as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as Witnesses Fran[cis] Henry Oakley - Letitia Messiter Tomkins.
Proved at London 18th October 1838 before the Judge by the Oath of Mary Snook Widow the Relict the sole Executrix to whom Adm[inistration] was granted having first sworn by [word illegible] duly to administer.
Transcribed by Bob Osborn