yeovil people

william lambert white

Solicitor and Banker

 

William Lambert White was born in 1767, and baptised at East Coulston, Wiltshire, on 27 June 1767. He was the son of William White of Trowbridge, Wiltshire (1726-1810) and Nelly née Mervyn (1737-1816), daughter and co-heir of John Mervin. In 1781 he was indentured as an articled clerk to Ivan Vaughan of Frome Selwood, Somerset.

On 25 June 1789, at the age of 22, he married Anne Messiter (1761-1852) at Yeovil. She was the daughter of banker Moulten Messiter Esq of Wincanton and Mary née Ring. They were to have one daughter, Letitia, born in 1790 and baptised in Wincanton.

William was an attorney and lived at Pitney House in Kingston (see map and photograph below) with Anne and their daughter Letitia. The Universal British Directory of 1791 listed William Lambert White as one of the four Yeovil solicitors, the others being Edmund Batten, George Proctor Upton and Samuel Watts the elder. The London Gazette reported that on 6 December 1791 "The Lord Chancellor has appointed William Lambert White, of Yeovil, in the county of Somerset, Gentleman, to be a Master Extraordinary in the High Court of Chancery". In March 1793 the Bath Chronicle reported "Samuel Bailward Esq, of Horsington, high-sheriff for this county, has appointed Mr WL White, of Yeovil, his county clerk.

In 1819, in his role as a solicitor, he gave evidence in a Parliamentary enquiry into the dwellings against the churchyard wall in Silver Street. He was listed as an attorney and also an agent for Westminster Life Fire Insurance at Kingston in Pigot's Directories of 1822, 1824 and 1830.

 In 1794 William is known to have been a shareholder with a £100 shareholding in the Somersetshire Coal Canal. This was a venture promoted by the mine owners of the North Somerset coalfields as a cheaper means of transporting coal to their markets in Bath and Wiltshire since in Somerset, before canals were built, the only transport was by pack-horse or horse and cart, which could only cope with limited quantities and resulted in high prices. This shareholding would be the equivalent to over £120,000 at today's value.

William was a prominent member of the Yeovil Freemason's Lodge from the 1820s onwards, being initiated into the Lodge of Brotherly Love on 12 December 1826..

William became a partner of banker Henry Whitmash. The company was known as Whitmash & White. When Whitmash opened up branch of his bank in Yeovil in 1808, it became known as the Yeovil & Wincanton Bank. The bank printed its own banknotes in £1, £5, and £20 denominations, but only the £1 and £5 notes are known to have been issued. In 1835 the bank was acquired by Stuckey's Banking Co, but the trading name was retained until 1837.

William White served as a trustee of the Woborn Almshouse, he was a member of the Vestry and became a Town Commissioner in 1830, acting as treasurer until his death. According to the memorial tablet, shown below, in St John's church he was for "many years Lieutenant Colonel of the East Somerset Yeomanry Cavalry" - actually only from 1825 until it was disbanded in 1828. His will notes "my portrait in the dark blue uniform of the late East Somerset Yeomanry" He is known to have been a Freemason in Yeovil from this time.

E Watts' map of 1806, shown below, reveals that William owned almost the whole of Penn Hill from South Street nearly all the way to Brunswick Street. Watts' later 1831 map, also shown below, reveals that he owned the land which would later be home to Yeovil Town's football ground and is now occupied by Tesco's store and much of its car park.

In 1831 there were riots in England when Parliament decided against reform to give Britain's industrial cities and towns better representation. Many of the solicitors in Yeovil were active anti-Reformers and had been professional election agents of Lord Ashley. Consequently they were the first to be singled out by an angry mob on the night of Friday, 21 October 1831, in what was to become known as the Yeovil Reform Riot of 1831, who attacked Pitney House, the home of William Lambert White, and also the homes of Edwin Newman, Francis Theophilus Robins, Edwin Tomkins and John Slade.

As a solicitor, he was in partnership with John Slade but, as indicated by a notice placed in the London Gazette, William terminated his solicitor's partnership with Slade in 1833 although he remained with his banking concerns. In 1834 he was listed as a subscriber to William Hull’s “History of the Glove Trade”.

In the 1841 census 74-year-old William and 80-year-old Anne were living at Kingston with four servants. Williams occupation was simply described as of independent means. The census also revealed that he was not born in Somerset.

In the 1832 and 1834 Yeovil poll books William was listed by virtue of owning his freehold house in Kingston. Perhaps surprisingly in the 1840 and 1841 poll books for Weymouth, Dorset, William was listed as entitled to vote there as well by virtue of owning a freehold house at Chapelhay Steps, Weymouth, even though he lived in Yeovil.

William Lambert White died on 17 April 1845 in Yeovil. He was aged 77. In the 1851 Census Anne, by now aged 89, was living in Kingston with 61-year-old Leticia and her 77-year-old brother-in-law, William's brother, James White, of Bruton. Anne died on 20 March 1852 in Yeovil.

 

William Lambert White's signature against the Vestry minutes of 29 December 1831.

 

See Yeovil Solicitors

 

Land holdings in Yeovil at the time of his death

 

The following table shows the parcels of land in Yeovil owned by the late William Lambert White at the time of the 1846 Tithe Apportionment. He also owned substantial properties and land in Weymouth, Wellington, Henstridge and elsewhere.

 

Owner Occupier Parcel Description
White, William Lambert Brown, John 381 House, Garden & Orchard
White, William Lambert Brown, John 382 Pen Hill
White, William Lambert Hann, George 351 House, Garden & Orchard
White, William Lambert Pope, James 1111 Coppice
White, William Lambert Pope, James 1112 House, Garden & Orchard
White, William Lambert Pope, James 1113 Smoke Acre Orchard
White, William Lambert Pope, James 1114 Summerleaze
White, William Lambert Pope, James 1115 Hollow Ground
White, William Lambert Pope, James 1116 Washing Pool Ground
White, William Lambert White, William Lambert 299 House, Offices & Garden
White, William Lambert White, William Lambert 300 Cottage, Garden & Orchard
White, William Lambert White, William Lambert 301 Field, The


Parcel 381 is now Petters Way and the area occupied by the Law Courts.
Parcel 382 is almost the entire top of Pen Hill (see map below)
Parcel 351 was a large house in Brunswick Street close to the current Goldenstones access
Parcels 1111 to 1116 was Marsh Hill Farm, to the north of Combe Street Lane and east of 
Ilchester Road
Parcel 229 was William Lambert White's own home and office, Pitney House (see Gallery)
Parcel 300 was the cottage (see photo on link) on the land that would become Telford House
Parcel 301 was 'The Field' which became Yeovil Town FC's Huish ground and is now the site of Tesco and much of its car park. (see second map below).

 

E Watts' map of Yeovil of 1806 showing the land holdings of William Lambert White running from South Street at top right, nearly all the way to Addlewell Lane at bottom left and including the bulk of Pen Hill.

 

E Watts' later map of Yeovil of 1831 shows Pitney House, Kingston, at top right with William Lambert White's name in the large garden. Also The Field at lower left of centre accessed off Hewish Lane (today's Huish), annotated with his name would later become Yeovil's football ground with its famous sloping pitch. The field had, in 1806, belonged to the Goodford family. The site is now occupied by Tesco's store and much of its car park.

 

gallery

 

The record of William's baptism of 27 June 1797 in the parish register of East Coulston, Wiltshire.

 

The record of William and Anne's marriage of 25 June 1789, in the parish register of St Peter & St Paul, Wincanton.

 

This photograph dates to about 1875 and looks north along Kingston as seen from just outside what would become Bide's Gardens. The impressive five-bay frontage of William's home and law practice, Pitney House, is seen at centre.

 


© Trustees of the British Museum

The obverse and reverse of a five pound note of the Yeovil & Wincanton Bank featuring a drawing of St John's church. From the period 1808 to 1835, at which time £5 would be worth in excess of £300 at today's value. Notes were printed in £1, £5, and £20 denominations, but only the £1 and £5 notes are known to have been issued.

 

The record of William's burial of 23 April 1845, from St John's parish register.

 

The memorial tablet in St John's church erected to the memory of William Lambert White, his wife Anne and daughter Letitia.

 

Will of William Lambert White, 1845

 

This will, written in long and, let's face it, tedious and repetitive legalese, is a prime example of a solicitor ensuring that his extensive and substantial holdings in Yeovil, Weymouth, Wellington, Henstridge and elsewhere are distributed exactly according to his wishes for generations into the future, with all the "ifs and buts" that presents.

He appointed his brothers-in-law, George and Henry Messiter of Wincanton, as trustees (his wife was originally Anne Messiter) and he appointed his wife and daughter as executrixes.

The will was signed on 2 April 1845, and he died two weeks later, on 17 April 1845.

 


 

This is the last Will and Testament of me William Lambert White of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Esquire I give and devise all my freehold messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever and wheresoever unto George Messiter and Henry Messiter both of Wincanton in the said County Gentlemen and their heirs To the use of my dear Wife Anne White and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life without [word illegible] estate by forfeiture or otherwise in her lifetime Then to the use of the said George Messiter and Henry Messiter and their heirs during the natural life of my said Wife In Trust to support and preserve the contingent uses and estates hereinafter given or limited from being defeated or destroyed and for that purpose to make entries and bring actions as occasion shall require but nevertheless to permit and suffer my said Wife and her assigns to receive and take the rents and profits of the said messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments for her own use during her life And from and immediately after the decease of my said Wife To the use of my dear daughter Letitia Messiter White and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life without impeachment of waste And from and after the determination of that estate by forfeiture or other wise in her lifetime then to the use of the said George Messiter and Henry Messiter and their heirs during the natural life of my said Daughter In Trust to preserve the contingent uses and estates hereinafter given or limited from being defeated or destroyed and for that purpose to make entries and bring actions as occasion shall require but nevertheless to permit and suffer my said Daughter and her assigns to receive and take the rents and profits of the said messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments for her own use during her life And from and immediately after her decease To the use of all and every the children and child of my said Daughter lawfully begotten or to be begotten share and share alike to take as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and the heirs of the bodies and body of all and every such children and child issuing And if there is a failure of issue of any such children or child than as to the part or share of such children or child [this last phrase repeated] whose issue shall to fail To the use of the [remaining ?] or other of the said children equally to be divided between them if more than one share and share alike to take as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and the heirs of their respective bodies issuing And in case there shall be a failure of issue of all such children but one or if there shall be but one such child of my said Daughter to the use of such remaining or only child and the heirs of his or her body And in default of such issue then to the use of my dear Brother James White and his assigns for and during the term of his natural life without impeachment of waste And from and after the determination of that estate by forfeiture or otherwise in his lifetime then to the use of the said George Messiter and Henry Messiter and their heirs during the natural life of my said Brother James White In Trust to preserve the contingent uses and estates hereinafter given or limited from being defeated or destroyed and for that purpose to make entries and bring actions as occasion shall require But nevertheless to permit and suffer my said Brother James White and his assigns to receive and take the rents and profits of the said messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments for his own use during his life And from and immediately after the decease of my said Brother James White To the use of my Nephew Frederick White and his assigns for and during the term of his natural life without impeachment of waste And from and after the determination of that estate by forfeiture or otherwise in his lifetime then to the use of the said George Messiter and Henry Messiter and their heirs during the natural life of my said Nephew Frederick White In Trust to preserve the contingent uses and estates hereinafter given or limited from being defeated or destroyed and for that purpose to make entries and bring actions as occasion shall require But nevertheless to permit and suffer my said Nephew Frederick White and his assigns to receive and take the rents and profits of the said messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments for his own use during his life And from and immediately after the decease of my said Nephew Frederick White To the use of the first Son of the body of my said Nephew Frederick White lawfully to be begotten and the heirs male of the body of such first Son issuing And for default of such issue To the use of the second third fourth and fifth and all and every the Sons and Son of my said Nephew Frederick White lawfully to be begotten severally successively and in remainder one after another as they shall severally be in priority of birth and the heirs male of the bodies and body of all and every such Sons and Son issuing the older of such Sons and the heirs male of his body being always preferred and to take before the younger of the said Sons and the heirs male of his and their bodies and body issuing And for want or in default of such issue To the use of all and every the daughters and daughter of my said Nephew Frederick White lawfully begotten or to be begotten equally to be divided between or amongst them if more than one share and share alike to take as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and the heirs of the bodies and body of all and every such Daughters and Daughter as issuing And if there be a failure of issue of any such daughter or daughters then as to the part or share of such Daughter or Daughters whose issue shall so fail To the use of the remaining or other of the said Daughters equally to be divided between them them if more than one share and share alike to take as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and the heirs of their respective bodies issuing And in case there shall be a failure of issue of all such Daughters but one or if there shall be but one such Daughter To the use of such remaining or only Daughter And in default of such issue To the use of my own right heirs forever I give and bequeath all my messuages cottages or dwellinghouses in Trowbridge in the County of Wilts and in Weymouth in the County of Dorset with their respective appurtenances and all other my leasehold messuages cottages or dwellinghouses lands and premises whatsoever and wheresoever unto the said George Messiter and Henry Messiter their executors administrators and assigns for and during all the residue and remainder of the [word illegible] terms of years which shall be to cause and [word illegible] of and the said leasehold messuages or dwellinghouses cottages lands and premises respectively at the time of my decease upon Trust for my said wife during her life And from and after her decease In virtue of this my Will be entitled to the said freehold messuages tenements [inserted = dwelling houses] cottages farms lands and hereditaments hereinbefore devised or limited to the use of my said wife for her life with such interest as such person or persons shall then have and be entitled unto in the said freehold messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments to the end and intent that the premises may go along with the same and be held and enjoyed by the person or persons who for the time being shall be entitled to the said freehold messuages tenements dwellinghouses cottages farms lands and hereditaments hereinbefore devised so far as the nature of the said leasehold messuages or dwellinghouses cottages lands and premises and the rules of law and equity will permit And whereas my farm lands and hereditaments called Lower Marsh Farm situate in the parish of Henstridge in the said County of Somerset were at the time I purchased the same and are now or some part thereof was and now is charged with the payment of the sums of one thousand pounds and one thousand one hundred and fifty pounds and interest Now I do declare it to be my will and I so direct that the interest of the said sums shall be paid by the person or persons who for the time being shall by virtue of this my Will be entitled to the freehold of the said farm lands and hereditaments called Lower Marsh Farm without enlarging thereby his her or their estate of interest therein for and during such time as such person or persons shall have power to raise and pay off the said principal sums or any part thereof by mortgage of the said farm lands and hereditaments called Lower Marsh Farm or by sale of a sufficient part thereof it being my intention and desire that the said sums or any part thereof shall not be paid out of my residual personal estate hereinafter bequeathed And whereas my dear Brother Frederick White in and by his last Will and Testament dated the twenty second day of August one thousand eight hundred and forty three after writing that He was and stood indebted to me for principal and interest upon mortgage of his mansion house in which he then resided with the garden backside lands and hereditaments thereunto belonging and of a certain messuage or dwellinghouse called Gallows House and divers other lands tenements hereditaments and premises all situate within the parish of Wellington in the said County of Somerset in the sum of three thousand four hundred and seventy six pounds and upwards And that on or about the fifth day of June one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight he purchased of Thomas Rice of Wellington aforesaid Carpenter a strip of land then lately taken out of an orchard belonging to him situate in the parish of Wellington aforesaid and which he my said Brother Frederick White had added to the said garden belonging to the said Mansion House and that the same then accordingly formed part thereof and was bounded on the north by a wall created thereon by him the said testator did thereby give devise and bequeath and also direct limit and appoint in pursuance of any power or authority vested in him to me my heirs executors administrators and assigns all and singular the said mansion house garden backside messuage or dwellinghouse called Gallows House lands tenements hereditaments and premises in mortgage to me as aforesaid to hold the same and every part thereof unto and to the use of my my heirs executors administrators and assigns absolutely according to the several natures and [causes ?] thereof freed and absolutely exonorated and discharged of and from all equity and right of [word illegible] from whatsoever in part discharge of the said sum of three thousand four hundred and seventy six pounds and upwards which the said testator was and stood indebted to me as aforesaid And the said testator did thereby give and bequeath unto my my executors administrators and assigns the said strip of land which he purchased and added to the said garden aforesaid To hold to me my executors administrators and assigns for the residue of his estate [word illegible] and interest therein in further part discharge of the said sum so due to me as aforesaid Now I do hereby declare it to be my will that the arrears of interest of the said sum which may be due to me from the estate of my said Brother Frederick White at the time of my decease shall not be claimed by Executrixes hereinafter named and I do give and bequeath such arrears to my Nephew the said Frederick White and my Nieces Frances White and Jane White accordingly but as to the future interest to become due from the time of my decease for the said sum of money so due to me from the estate of my said Brother Frederick White I give and bequeath to my said wife during her life And after the decease of my said wife it is my will that the interest of the said sum so due to me from the estate of my said Brother Frederick White shall be paid to my said Daughter during her life And I give and bequeath such interest to my said Daughter during her life accordingly And after the decease of my said Daughter I give and bequeath the said sum of money so due to me from the estate of my said Brother Frederick White after deducting a fair and reasonable sum of money as the value of the said mansion house garden backside messuage or dwellinghouse called Gallows House lands tenements hereditaments and premises and strip of land so given devised directed limited and appointed to me my heirs executors administrators and assigns by my said Brother Frederick White as aforesaid to the child or children of my said Daughter if more than one equally between them and their respective executors administrators and assigns and if but one to such one his or her executors administrators and assigns And in default of such issue then I give and bequeath the said sum of money so due to me from the estate of my said Brother Frederick White to my said Nephew Frederick White and my said Nieces Frances White and Jane White equally to be divided between them and their respective executors administrators and assigns I give and bequeath to my said Wife the sum of one thousand pounds in satisfaction and discharge of the Bond I entered into previous to my marriage for her benefit I give to my said Wife the use of but not the property in my silver box my largest silver salver my library my books of account my letter books my professional books and papers my portrait in the dark blue uniform of the late East Somerset Yeomanry and the portrait of my Horse for and during her life And after her decease I give the use of but not the property in the said vase salver library books papers and portraits together with the property therein to the child or children of my said Daughter if more than one equally between them and their respective executors administrators and assigns and if but one then to that one his or her executors administrators and assigns And in default of such issue I give and bequeath the same vase salver library books papers and portraits together with the property therein to my said Nephew Frederick White his executors administrators and assigns provided nevertheless and it is my will that it shall and may be lawful for my said Wife and Daughter or the survivor of them And I do advise and recommend but not enjoin them and each of them notwithstanding the bequest or limitation of the said library books and papers in favor of my said Daughters child or children to give and deliver to my said Nephew at any time after my decease any or either of the books constituting my Library or any or either of my books of account letter books or professional books or papers which they my said Wife and Daughter or the survivor of them may choose to give up or part with All the Rest Residue and Remainder of my personal estate goods chattels and effects whatsoever and wheresoever I give and bequest unto my said Wife absolutely And I appoint her and my said Daughter joint Executrixes of this my Will In witness whereof I have to this my Will contained in six sheets or paper subscribed my hand to the first five sheets thereof and subscribed and set my hand and seal to this sixth and last sheet thereof this second day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty five

W L White

Signed sealed published and declared by the said testator William Lambert White as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request in their presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

Henry Marsh Custard Bookseller Yeovil
John Swatridge Carver Yeovil
Ince Gamis Hardwareman Yeovil


Proved at London 17th June 1845 before the Judge by the oath of Anne White Widow the Relict one of the Executrixes to whom Admon was granted having been first sworn by Commission only to administer. Power reserved of making the like grant to Letitia Messiter White Spinster the Daughter the other Executrix when she shall apply for the same.

 

Transcribed by Bob Osborn