yeovil people

James Shorland Aplin

Founder of Aplin & Barrett


William Aplin (1776-1856) was a farmer of Combe St Nicholas and in 1803 he married Elizabeth Shorland; they had eight daughters and four sons, including Isaac Shorland Aplin, born at Combe St Nicholas on 29 March 1811.

In 1841 Isaac married Crewkerne-born Mary Ann Edwards (1823-1900) and initially they lived in Crewkerne where their first child, Emily, was born in 1840. Their second child, Lydia, was born in Yeovil in 1844 and by the time of the 1851 census Isaac and Mary were living above Isaac's grocery premises in the Borough (see first photograph below), with Emily, Lydia, Ebenezer (b1846) and Anna (b1849) as well as a nursemaid, cook and three grocer's apprentices.

By 1861 the family had moved to Rotten Row (today's Market Street) by which time a further two children, Ellen (b1854) and Isaac (b1860 at Weston-super-Mare) had been born. Isaac listed his occupation as 'Cheese Factor employing 2 men & son' - the son being 15-year old Ebenezer who worked as a 'Clerk in the Business'. The family still had a live-in cook and nursemaid.

In the 1871 census the family were listed at Reckleford - not to be confused with today's Reckleford. Indeed, even as late as the 1871 census the enumerator still listed today's Market Street as 'Reckleford formerly called Rotten Row'. Isaac gave his occupation as 'Cheese Factor & Provision Merchant'. Anna, Julia and Isaac Jnr were still living at home and James (b1861) and Albert (b1863) were new additions to the family.

By the time of the 1881 census the family were listed at 26 Market Street but now only Isaac, Mary and James were living there, together with a servant. Isaac listed his occupation as 'Wholesale Cheese Factor' and 18-year old James gave his as 'Apprentice Cheese Factor'. By 1884, when James would have finished his apprenticeship, Isaac would have been aged 73 and it is likely that during the next couple of years James took over the family business. Isaac died on 29 June 1895, aged 84.

In 1888 James Shorland Aplin and William Henry Barrett merged their wholesale dairy businesses together for the purpose of creating and marketing cheese, cream and butter. The new company was called Aplin & Barrett Ltd.

In the summer of 1889 James married Yeovil-born Mary Eliza Hunt at Yeovil. They were to have four children; Dorothy Marianne (1891-1891), Kenneth Shorland (1892-1914), Arthur Basil (1895-1896) and Robert Morley Shorland, known as Morley (1897-1966). In the 1891 census James and Mary were listed at 'Sunny Lawn' Earle Street (most likely the double-fronted Victorian house today next door to the Chinese restaurant).

In 1891 the Western Counties Creamery moved to Marston Magna from Rimpton and in 1898 it was amalgamated with Aplin and Barrett Ltd. Around the turn of the century Aplin & Barrett acquired some two acres of land on the eastern side of Newton Road, near its junction with Middle Street, that had been the extensive grounds of Osborne House. The new Aplin & Barrett premises opened around 1900.

By 1901 James and Mary, by now aged 38 and 40 respectively, had moved again to a large house called Overdale in Preston Road. The house is now gone and a modern house sits on the site which is immediately opposite the Quaker's Burial Ground. James gave his occupation as 'Company Managing Director' and he and Mary lived in the house with their two sons Kenneth and Morley (Dorothy and Arthur having both died in infancy), a cook and a nursemaid.

The 1911 census recorded that by this time James and Mary, together with Kenneth (who was to die on the Western Front in 1914), a housemaid, parlour maid, lady's maid, cook and kitchen maid were living at The Glade, Egham, Berkshire. 48-year old James listed his occupation as 'Director of Dairy Produce Company'.

In October 1925 James was listed in the ship's manifest of the Edinburgh Castle, a steamer of the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co Ltd. Returning from Natal, South Africa, and arriving at Southampton. He was travelling alone, giving his address as the Royal Auto Club, Pall Mall, London and listing his occupation as a Company Director.

On 17 March 1926 James Shorland Aplin was made a life member of the University of Reading.

James died on 6 April 1929, aged 68, at 12 Merton Road, Swiss Cottage, Middlesex. His will was proved in May and he was referred to as "of the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, Middlesex". His effects amounted to £175,352 (about £43 million at today's value). Mary died, aged 79, on 6 May 1935 at 5 Johnson Street, Bath, Somerset.


James' signature on the 1911 census form


See Family Tree




The tomb of Isaac and Mary Ann Aplin in Yeovil Cemetery. Photographed in 2015.


This postcard of the Borough dates to about 1905 and shows the former grocery premises Isaac Aplin as the middle of the three buildings at left.


A 1960's photograph, taken from the junction of Market Street, Silver Street and Court Ash, looking up Market Street. I'm not absolutely certain, but I think that 26 Market Street, where James grew up, was the large double-fronted house at the centre of the photograph.


Earle Street looking back towards Reckleford. Photographed in 2014. It is most probable that James and Mary lived in the house at extreme left of this photograph.