yeovil people

Thomas sydenham

Cordwainer and Currier

 

Thomas Sydenham was born in Yeovil in 1786. He was the eldest of the nine children of cordwainer, or shoemaker, Nathan Sydenham (1760-1860) and Hannah née Shene (1767-1803).

Little is known of Thomas' early life other than he was a cordwainer like his father and had almost certainly served his apprenticeship with his father. Nathan and Thomas were in partnership but, as published in the London Gazette of 15 May 1813, the partnership was 'dissolved by mutual consent'.

On 7 March 1815 Thomas married Mary Loring at St John's church. It is doubtful that they had children or, if they did, they probably did not survive childhood. Thomas and Mary were living alone (albeit with a servant) in the 1841 census and his will Thomas left all his properties to his wife and several nephews.

Pigot's Directory of 1822 listed Nathan as a Boot & Shoe Maker of Middle Street and his son Thomas was listed as a Boot & Shoe Maker in the Borough. Pigot's Directory of 1830 repeated the listings although by this time Thomas was listed in Hendford.

In fact at this time Hendford included what we now know as the west side of Princes Street as far as Park Road. Thomas appears to have been the part-owner (with surgeon Markes Lambe) of today's 1 & 3 Princes Street, on the corner of today's Westminster Street.

Thomas was listed in the Poll Books of 1832, 1834 and 1846 by virtue of owning a freehold house in Hendford - presumably today's 1 & 3 Princes Street referred to above.

Robson's Directory of 1839 listed Nathan as a Boot & Shoe Maker of Middle Street again but Thomas was not listed, however another son, James Sydenham, was listed as a Boot & Shoe Maker of Belmont. In his later years Thomas described himself as a currier (a person who dresses and colours leather after it is tanned).

The 1841 census listed Thomas and Mary living in Porter's Lane - this was the very narrow lane that was the precursor to today's Westminster Street. Thomas and Mary lived, with a servant, in a house adjacent to what is now the Westminster pub.

Despite being a humble cordwainer and currier, Thomas accrued a considerable number of properties during his lifetime in addition to the Princes Street property referred to above. His will (see below) included

  • a house (at an undisclosed location, possibly their home in Porter's Lane) purchased from Stephen Parkhouse and left to his wife, valued at £350 (around £380,000 at today's value)

  • Seven cottages at Rustywell

  • "my newly erected dwelling house in Back Street or South Street" occupied by John Brett

  • "my dwellinghouse in Middle Street" occupied by Mr Stationer

Thomas Sydenham died in Yeovil in 1847. He was aged 61.

 

Thomas Sydenham's signature and seal on the 1835 lease in my collection.

 

Will of Thomas Sydenham

 

This is the last Will and Testament of me Thomas Sydenham of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Currier I give and bequeath all and singular the household furniture books linen wearing (word illegible) and other apparel plate china glass wines liquors provisions and other goods and effects of a like sort or (word illegible) I shall be possessed of at the time of my decease unto my wife Mary Sydenham her executors administrators and assigns absolutely I give devise and bequeath all that messuage or dwellinghouse with the (word illegible) outhouses garden stable and premises adjoining and belonging situate in Yeovil aforesaid which I lately purchased of Mr Stephen Parkhouse and his mortgagees and which I now hold for the life of the said Stephen Parkhouse and also the reversion in fee of and in three undivided fifth parts of the same messuage or dwellinghouse and premises expectant on the decease of the said Stephen Parkhouse which I have also lately purchased and all other my estate and interest in the same premises and also a policy of assurance in the Royal Exchange Assurance Company whereby the life of the said Stephen Parkhouse is assured in the sum of three hundred and fifty pounds and all and every sum and sums of money to be at any time due and recoverable upon or by virtue of the said policy unto my said wife Mary Sydenham her heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the nature thereof respectively I devise my seven cottages or dwellinghouses at Rustywell in the Parish of Yeovil aforesaid with the gardens and other appurtenances to the same respectively belonging to my nephews George Sydenham and Charles Sydenham (the sons of my late brother Joseph Sydenham) their heirs and assigns during the life of my sister Mary the wife of John Stagg Gill so as she may not anticipate the same and after her decease I devise the same unto her children their heirs and assigns as tenants in common provided always and (word illegible) my will to be that if any of the children of my said sister shall die under the age of twenty one years without being or having been married then as well the original as the accruing hereinbefore devised shall from and after such his or her decease go to his or her respective heirs and assigns for ever and if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common I devise my newly erected dwelling house in Back Street or South Street in the Town of Yeovil aforesaid and now in the occupation of John Brett or his under tenants To the use of my brother George Sydenham and his assigns for his life without impeachment of waste and after his decease I devise the same to his children their heirs and assigns as tenants in common Provided always and I declare my will to be that if any of the children of my said brother George Sydenham shall die under the age of twenty one years without being or having been married then as well the original as the accruing share or shares of each such child so dying of or in the hereditaments last hereinbefore devised shall from and after such his or her decease (word illegible) and be to the use of the others or other of the same children and their his other respective heirs and assigns for ever and if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common I devise my dwellinghouse in Middle Street in Yeovil aforesaid now in the occupation of Mr Gloyne (?) Stationer with the appurtenances to the same belonging unto my said nephew George Sydenham his heirs and assigns I give to each of my nephews George Sydenham and Walter Sydenham (sons of my brother William Sydenham) the sum of one hundred pounds sterling to be paid to them respectively with interest in the meantime at the rate of five pounds per cent per annum at the age of twenty one years and in case my said last named nephews George Sydenham and Walter Sydenham or either of them shall die under the age of twenty one years then I direct that the legacy bequeathed to him or them so dying shall a one undivided moiety or half part of the residue of my real estate To the use of my said nephew George Sydenham the son of my brother Joseph Sydenham and his assigns for his life without impeachment or waste and after his decease I devise the same to his children their heirs and assigns as tenants in common Provided always and I declare my will to be that if any of the children of my said last mentioned nephew George Sydenham shall die under the age of twenty one years without being or having been married then as well the original as the accruing share or shares of each such child so dying of or in the said undivided moiety hereinbefore devised shall from and after such his or her decease to remain his or her respective heirs and assigns for ever and if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common I devise the (word illegible) undivided moiety or half part of the residue of my said real estate to the use of my said nephew Charles Sydenham (the son of my said late brother Joseph Sydenham) and his assigns for his life without impeachment of waste and after his decease I devise the same to to his children their heirs and assigns as tenants in common Provided always and I declare my will to be that if any of the children of my said nephew Charles Sydenham shall die under the age of twenty one years without being or having been married then as well the original as the accruing share or shares of each such child so dying of or in the said undivided moiety last hereinbefore devised shall from and after such his or her decease to remain and be to the use of the others or other of the same children and their his or her respective heirs and assigns for ever and if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common All the cost and Residue of my personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever I give and bequeath unto my said nephews George Sydenham and Charles Sydenham (the sons of my late brother Joseph Sydenham) their executors and administrators in equal shares I devise all real estate vested in me as trustee or mortgagee to the said last named George Sydenham and Charles Sydenham their heirs and assigns subject to the equities affecting the same respectively I appoint the last named George Sydenham and Charles Sydenham to be Executors of my will Lastly I revoke all other wills In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty seventh day of July one thousand eight hundred and forty one - Thomas Sydenham - Signed by the said testator in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses the words 'his or' in the first sheet 'or her' in the second sheet and 'eah' in this sheet having been first interlined and the word 'sixth' having been first obliterated in this sheet and the word 'seventh' substituted in its stead.
John Slade Tho Udall

This is a Codicil to the last will and testament of me Thomas Sydenham of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Currier which will bears the date twenty seventh day of July one thousand eight hundred and forty one whereas by my said will I have devised and bequeathed the dwellinghouse with the appurtenances in the Parish of Yeovil aforesaid which I then held for the life of Mr Stephen Parkhouse and also the reversion in fee of three undivided fifth parts of the same dwellinghouse and premises expectant on the decease of the said Stephen Parkhouse and all other my estate and interest in the same premises and also a policy of assurance in the Royal Exchange Assurance Company whereby the life of the said Stephen Parkhouse was assured in the sum of three hundred and fifty pounds and all monies recoverable by virtue of the said Policy unto my wife Mary Sydenham her heirs executors administrators and assigns And whereas the said Stephen Parkhouse has since departed this life and I have received the money due on the said policy and I have since the date and execution of my said will purchased the two remaining fifth parts of and in the said dwellinghouse and premises Now I do hereby give and devise the entirety of the said dwellinghouse with the garden and other appurtenances to the same belonging now in the occupation of Mr John Swatridge Carver and Gilder unto my said wife Mary Sydenham and her assigns for and during the term of her Natural life without impeachment of or for any manner of waste and from and after her decease I give and devise the same unto and to the use of Thomas Sydenham Swatridge the son of the said John Swatridge his hirs and assigns for ever and I confirm my said will in other respects In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty fifth day of January one thousand eight hundred and forty seven - The Mark of Me X Thomas Sydenham - Signed by the said Thomas Sydenham in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses - (signature illegible) John Slade

Proved at London with a Codicil 9th March 1847 before the Judge by the oaths of George Sydenham and Charles Sydenham the Executors to whom (word illegible) was granted having been first sworn (words illegible) only to administer.

 

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The marriage of Thomas Sydenham and Mary Loring recorded in  St John's register.

 

The Princes Street elevation of this lovely building with the usual unsympathetic twentieth century ground floor shop fronts and the inappropriate removal of lower glazing bars to the first floor fenestration. Thomas Sydenham was responsible for dividing the building into two properties, both shops with accommodation over, between 1825 and 1829.
Photographed in 2013.