yeovil people

DR William tomkyns

Surgeon

 

William Tomkyns, or Tomkins, was one of the five children of Rev Thomas Tomkins (c1761-1839) and Mary née Messiter. He was born in Yeovil in 1799. William had three older brothers; John, Thomas and Edwin (1791-1861) and a younger sister Letitia (1808-1876).

William qualified as a Doctor of Medicine and was a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and MRCS.

In 1822 he married Hannah Holland (1799-1871) of St Saviour, Southwark, Surrey. The 'obligation' to marry made between William and Hannah, dated 29 August 1822, is shown below. Two hundred pounds (equivalent to more than £170,000 at today's value) was to be paid to the Bishop of Winchester as part of this legal transaction between the parties. William and Hannah were to have seven children, all born in Yeovil; William Fancourt (1825-1899), Mariane, aka Maryanna (b1828), Letitia Jane (b1830), Emily (1831-1902), Henry Holland (1831-1907), Fanny (b1833) and Lucy (b1838).

William's medical practice, and also his home, from the 1820s until his death was Magnolia House in Princes Street. During the Yeovil Reform Riot of 1831 his house was attacked by the mob and the Royal Cornwall Gazette, in its edition of 5 November 1831, reported "Mr William Tomkins, surgeon, of this town, with the assistance of a workman, made an effort, in the early part of the attack, to clear the room first broken into by the rioters, and they had partially succeeded in driving them out, and would have maintained their ground, had not the attempt been made to set fire to the house." His testimony at the trial is reproduced in the Gallery below.

William was a member of the Freemason's Yeovil Lodge of Brotherly Love, being initiated in 1831 at the age of 29. He was Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1837 and again in 1841.

In June 1837 William was appointed Registrar of Births and Deaths for Yeovil District comprising the parishes of Yeovil, Preston Plucknett, Lufton, Mudford, Brimpton and Thorne Coffin. He held the post until retiring in May 1855. His successor was Joseph Whitby. He was a member of the committee convened to establish a railway station in Yeovil and at a public meeting held at the Three Choughs Inn he proposed "That in the opinion of this meeting, it is indispensable for the interests and convenience of the Inhabitants of Yeovil that the main Line of any Railway proposed as the direct Route from London to Exeter and Falmouth, should pass and leave its Station as near as possible to the Town and that any Company neglecting to accommodate us in this respect does not merit our countenance and support."

William was also a Police Commissioner and in 1838 gave evidence in the manslaughter trial against James Beare, watch-man of Yeovil.

He published many medical papers and letters - an interesting example is shown in the Gallery below. Rising in eminence throughout his career, he was Chairman of the Crewkerne & Yeovil Medical Association in the early 1850s and served as the Coroner for Yeovil.

In the 1841 census he was listed there as a Surgeon, together with Hannah and their seven children. In the 1851 census William and Hannah were still at Magnolia House with four of their children, a medical pupil and three servants. William gave his occupation as "M.D. London College Consulting Physician" and his eldest son, 26-year old William Fancourt, gave his occupation as a practising Surgeon.

William Tomkins Snr died at Magnolia House on 8 November 1855, aged 56.

 

gallery

 

A sketch portrait of William Tomkyns, probably dating to the late 1820s or early 1830s.

 

The 'obligation' to marry made between William Tomkins and Hannah Holland dated 29 August 1822. Two hundred pounds (equivalent to more than £170,000 at today's value) was to be paid to the Bishop of Winchester as part of this legal transaction between the parties.

 

William Tomkin's evidence given at the trial of the Yeovil Rioters, as reported in the 6 April 1832 edition of the Evening Mail.

 

An interesting letter, dated 8 July 1834, from William Tomkins to the editor of the London Lancet.

 


Photograph by Trevor Hussey, courtesy of Mrs Anne Hussey

Mansion House and Magnolia House, photographed in 1990. Magnolia House (at centre and on the corner of North Lane) was the home and medical practice of William Tomkins Snr from the 1820s until his death in 1855.

 

Magnolia House, Kingston (now Princes Street), somewhat dwarfed by the Magnolia tree from which the house derives its modern name. Photographed in 2013.

 

Will of Dr William Tomkyns, 1855

 

This is the last Will and Testament of me William Tomkyns of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Esquire Physician I hereby ratify and confirm the Settlement made in contemplation of my marriage with Hannah my present wife I give and bequeath to my said wife Hannah All the wines liquors such housekeeping provisions and other consumable stores which shall at my decease be in or about my then dwellinghouse And I do give and bequeath unto my friend Daniel Vickery of Yeovil aforesaid Gentleman and my daughters Maryanna Tomkyns and Letitia Jane Tomkyns All my books household furniture and other household effects Upon trust nevertheless that they the said Daniel Vickery Maryanna Tomkyns and Letitia Jane Tomkyns or the survivors or survivor of them or the executors or administrators of such survivor or the trustees or trustee for the time being of my residuary estate will and shall permit and suffer my said wife Hannah to possess use and enjoy the same during her life and during any coverture for her sole separate and inalienable use independently of the control interference debts or engagements of any husband And I hereby declare that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall and lawfully may permit and suffer the said household furniture and household effects to be possessed and used by my said wife in common with any husband of hers in their dwellinghouse for the time being And from and immediately after the decease of my said wife Upon trust that my said trustees or trustee for the time being will sell and dispose of the books household furniture and household effects aforesaid in such manner as they he or she shall think proper and will stand possessed of the monies to arise by such sale or sales & Upon the trusts hereinafter declared of and concerning the monies to arise from my residuary estate I give devise and bequeath all the real and the Residue of my personal estate and effects of what nature or kind soever over which I have any disposing power unto the said Daniel Vickery Maryanna Tomkyns and Letitia Jane Tomkyns their heirs executors administrators and assigns respectively according to the nature and qualities thereof respectively Upon trust nevertheless that they the said Daniel Vickery Maryanna Tomkyns and Letitia Jane Tomkyns or the survivors or survivor of them or the executors or administrators of the survivor or other the trustees or trustee for the time being of my residuary estate will and shall as conveniently as may be after my decease sell dispose of and convert into money all such parts of my said trust estates and promises as shall not consist of money and will and shall collect and get in all such parts of the same trust promises as shall consist of money belonging or owing to me at the time of my decease And I authorize and empower my said trustees or trustee for the time being in their his or her absolute discretion to adjust settle and wind up all my accounts affairs and concerns and to admit allow pay compound or take personal or other security for any debts claims liabilities demands whatsoever which at the time of my decease or at any time after my decease shall or may exist be owing to or from or be made on behalf of or against or aside in relation to my real or personal estate and effects and that whether the same be legally enforceable or provable or not And I declare that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall stand and be possessed of the monies to arise from or by such sale collecting and getting in or my real and personal estate aforesaid and also of all the ready money of which I shall be possessed at the time of my decease after full payment and satisfaction of all costs charges and expenses of or incident to the execution of the trusts and powers hereby reposed in and given to them him and her respectively Upon trust in the first place to pay satisfy and discharge all my funeral and testamentary expenses and just debts And from and after payment thereof to lay out and invest all the residue of the said monies in their his or her names or name in the public stocks or funds of Great Britain or at interest upon real security in England or Wales with power for my said trustees or trustee from time to time to alter vary and transpose the same into or for other stocks funds or securities of the like nature at their his or her discretion And upon further trust to permit and empower my said Wife Hannah to receive the annual income of my said trust monies or of the stocks funds and securities whereon the same shall be invested as aforesaid (which monies stocks funds and securities are hereinafter referred to under the denomination of the said trust fund) during her natural life And after the decease of my said Wife As to as well the capital as the annual income of the said trust fund Upon trust for all and every my children or child who shall be living at the decease of my said wife equally to be divided between or among them if more than one share and share alike and being a son or sons on his or their attaining the age of twenty one years or being a daughter or daughters on her or their attaining that age or marrying and the child or children then living of such of the said children (if any) as shall have died in the lifetime of my said wife But I direct that the child or children of each such deceased child shall be only entitled to the share which his or her or their deceased parent would have been entitled to if living at the decease of my said wife And that the share which shall belong to the child or children of each such deceased child shall be equally divided between or among such children if more than one share and share alike and if there should be only one child then such share shall wholly belong to such only child And I declare that if the said trustees hereby appointed or either of them or any trustee or trustees to be appointed as hereinafter is provided shall die or be desirous of being discharged or refuse or become incapable to act then and so often the said trustees or trustee (and for this purpose any retiring trustee shall be considered a trustee) may appoint any other person or persons to be a trustee or trustees in the place of the trustee or trustees so dying or desiring to be discharged or refusing or becoming incapable to act And upon every such appointment the said trust premises shall be so transferred that the same may become vested in the now trustee or trustees jointly with the surviving or continuing trustee or trustees or solely as the case may require and every such new trustee shall (both before and after the said trust premises shall have become so vested) have the same powers authorities and discretions as if he or she had been hereby originally appointed a trustee And I declare that the receipts or receipt in writing of the trustees or trustee for the time being acting in the execution of any of the trusts hereof for the purchase monies of premises sold or for any monies stocks funds shares or securities which may be paid or transferred to them him or her in pursuance hereof shall effectually discharge the purchaser or purchasers or other the person or persons paying or transferring the same therefrom and from being concerned to see to the application or being answerable for the misapplication or nonapplication thereof And I declare that the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will shall be chargeable only with such monies as they he or she respectively shall actually receive and shall not be answerable the one for the other of them nor for any Banker Broker or other person in whose hands any of the trust monies shall be placed nor for the insufficiency of any stocks funds shares or securities nor otherwise for involuntary losses And that the said trustees or trustee for the time being may reimburse their his or her hands under the trusts aforesaid all expences to be incurred in or about the execution of the aforesaid trusts And I hereby appoint the said Daniel Vickery Maryanna Tomkyns and Letitia Jane Tomkyns Joint Executor and Executrixes in trust of this my Will hereby revoking all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament In witness I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and fifty five

William Tomkyns

Signed and acknowledged by the said William Tomkyns as his last Will in the presence of us present at the same time and was at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

John Glyde Jnr, Solicitor, Yeovil        W Hunt

Proved at London 19th of August 1856 Before the Judge by the Oaths of Daniel Vickery and Maryanna Tomkyns spinster and Letitia Jane Tomkyns spinster the daughters the Executors to whom Adm[inistrati]on was granted having been first sworn by Comon duly to administer

 

Transcribed by Bob Osborn