Newspaper Editor and Author
"This little work has been compiled by a comparative stranger, amid a pressure of daily duties, and at brief intervals of unoccupied time, in order to supply, at this particular period, a palpable omission. He therefore can truly say "if he has done well and as is fitting the story, it is that which he desired; but if slenderly and meanly, it is that only which he could attain unto."
"A Sketch of the
Town of Yeovil"
Daniel Vickery, Hendford, Yeovil, 30 May 1850.
Daniel Vickery was born around 1797 in Bristol St Paul. He married around 1825 and he and his wife Catherine, originally from Wexford, Ireland, were listed in the 1841 census living at Bedford Place, Bristol St James with their children Henry Daniel (1828-1873), Charles D (b 1829) and Edward Colston (1832-1893) together with a domestic servant. Daniel gave his occupation as a bookseller. In the 1851 census the family were still living at 5 Bedford Place; Henry had left home - marrying and moving to Westbury on Trym - but both 53-year old Daniel and his 22-year old son Charles were listed as booksellers while 21-year old Edward was a clerk.
In 1847 John Noake Highmore started the Yeovil Times and, moving to Yeovil with his family (albeit not immediately according to the 1851 census quoted above), Daniel Vickery became its editor. The Yeovil Times went through many changes of name, typical for the time, finally ending up being labelled "The Yeovil Times and Farmer's Price Current, Weymouth and Portland Star, Axminster Gazette, Agricultural, Manufacturing and Commercial Chronicle, and General Advertiser for Somerset, Dorset, Devon and the Western Counties" - clearly all things to all men.
In 1851 Highmore purchased the Western Flying Post and amalgamated his Yeovil Times with it. Publishing returned to Sherborne although it was printed in Princes Street under the title of "The Western Flying Post, Yeovil Times and Sherborne Mercury". It was possibly at this time that Daniel Vickery moved his family to Yeovil.
In 1856 Daniel published his book "A Sketch of the Town of Yeovil" by the Western Flying Post Steam Press. This wonderful resource colourfully describes the Yeovil of his day and is much-quoted in every book about the town that has been published since and, of course, is frequently quoted verbatim in this website - "It has been truly said that, with regard to local events, "what everybody knows, everybody forgets" and so it comes to pass that our local histories are so meagre of facts."
The 1861 census listed Daniel and Catherine and their 7-year old grandson Charles Edward living in Hendford - somewhere between Hendford Manor and Flowers House. Daniel, by now aged 63, gave his occupation as 'Editor of Newspaper'.
Sadly, in the autumn of 1870 Catherine died at the age of 80. In the following census of 1871 Daniel, by now aged 73, was listed as a lodger at the house of glove manufacturer John Pickford in Brunswick Street. Daniel gave his occupation as 'Accountant'.
Daniel Vickery died in Yeovil in the summer of 1878. He was aged 81.
The frontispiece of Daniel Vickery's "Sketch of the Town of Yeovil", published in 1856.