yeovil people

john batten the younger

Solicitor and Banker of Aldon House


John Batten the younger was born in Yeovil on 17 February 1815, the eldest son of solicitor John Batten the elder and Sarah née Copeland. In 1832 he became an articled clerk to his father for a term of five years (see Gallery below).

After he qualified as a solicitor he worked with his father in the firm of Batten & Son. In 1829 Edmund Batten's nephew John Batten Snr joined the Batten, Sparks & Co. bank which by this time was known as Yeovil Old Bank.

After Edmund Batten's death in 1836, partnership in the bank was John Batten Snr, John Batten Jnr and Henry Butler Batten. By 1846 however, after the death of John Batten Snr, the partners were John Batten Jnr and Henry Butler Batten. In 1849, when it was known as J & HB Batten, the bank was acquired by Stuckey's Banking Co of Langport.

In 1837 John Batten Jnr, Gentleman, was listed in a House of Commons Private Bill concerning Railway Subscription Projects, as an investor in the 'South Western, or Kingsworthy & West Monkton Railway', subscribing £500 (about £54,000 at today's value using the 'historic opportunity cost' of an investment project).

In Yeovil on 21 June 1841 John, now qualified as a solicitor, married Grace Eleanor White, some thirteen years his junior. She was the only daughter of the late John White, Esq. of Up Cerne, Dorset, and Fairlee, Isle of Wight (to whose estates she succeeded in 1865). They were to have seven children;

  • Colonel John Mount (1844-1916) was born on 7 April 1843 and educated at Winchester. He became a JP for Somerset and Dorset; High Sheriff of Dorset in 1903; Lord Lieutenant of Dorset from 1906 to 1916. He was an officer in the army (Ensign, 1861; Lt., 1865; Capt., 1871; retired 1878; Major, 1887) and in 2nd Royal Lancashire Militia (Capt., 1878; Hon. Major, 1882; Hon. Lt-Col., 1889; Hon. Col. by 1889), who served in the Boer War. He was appointed CB, 1903. He was a Liberal member of Dorset County Council, 1889-92, an Alderman of the County Council, 1901-16, and a Governor of Sherborne School, 1905-16. He firstly married Margaret Annie Brooks (d1893), on 16 July 1873 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster, Middlesex. She was the eldest daughter of Rev. John Brooks, rector of Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire. He later, on 8 August 1895 at St Mary, West Kensington, Middlesex, married Mary Edith Sant (1852-1949), eldest daughter of James Sant RA, artist, and widow of Howard Frederick Nalder. John Mount Batten lived at Coker Court, East Coker, until he inherited the Upcerne, Dorset, estate from his father in 1900. He also had a London home at Mornington Lodge, West Kensington. He died 5 March 1916 and was buried at Upcerne on 9 March 1916. His will was proved 23 June 1916 (estate £14,751, just over £1 million at today's value). His first wife died 26 September and was buried at Upcerne, 30 September 1893; her will was proved 1 November 1893 (estate £386, around £44,000 at today's value). His widow died, aged 97, on 4 November 1949; her will was proved 29 December 1949 (estate £262,850, in excess of £10 million at today's value). His children were -

    • Grace Amy Margaret (1874-1968)

    • John Henry Strode (1875-1914)

    • Nathaniel Prygge (1882-1941)

    • Winifred Eleanor Sarah (1882-1965)

    • Frances Maud (1886-1951)

    • Catherine Constance (1889-1934)


  • Eleanor Harriet (b1845) was born in 1844. She firstly married on 29 July 1880 at Yeovil, as his second wife, Rev. Dr. Charles William Williams DD (1819-89), rector of Christchurch, Brondesbury, Middlesex, and headmaster of North London Collegiate School. She secondly married on 17 July 1890 at Windermere, Westmoreland (bigamously) 'Charles Walter Baker Farquharson'. He was a fraudster and serial bigamist who made a living by marrying women with private incomes and defrauding them; he abandoned her after receiving £1,500 and some jewellery, but was eventually tried and convicted for his crimes under the name Albert Charles Baker in 1896, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. She then reverted to the surname Williams and died on 16 February 1917. Administration of her goods was granted 2 August 1917 (estate £2,249, around £130,000 at today's value).

  • Henry Butler (1845-1912)

  • Emily Jane, or Cicely (b1847) birth registered as Emily Jane in the spring of 1847, but probably the child baptised at Yeovil as Cicely Batten on 17 September 1847. She apparently died in infancy.

  • Colonel Herbert Cary George (1849-1926) was born 3 March 1849 and baptised at Preston Plucknett on 3 February 1852. He was educated at Cheltenham College, Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1866; BA 1870) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1869; called 1874). He was a barrister-at-law on the western circuit and later banker (Director of Stuckey's Bank in Bristol, 1888-1918, and later of the London County and Westminster Bank, and Parr's Bank). He was also Chairman of the Bristol & South Wales Wagon Company and the Bristol Dogs' Home, and a board member of many other hospitals and charitable bodies. JP (from 1890) and DL for Somerset; Sheriff of Bristol, 1904-05, 1907-08. A Liberal in politics he stood unsuccessfully for parliament in East Sussex in 1884 and in West Dorset in 1885 and 1886. He was an officer in the Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteers (Lt., 1867) and later the 3rd (Militia) Battn, Dorset Regiment (Capt. by 1885; Maj., 1897; Lt-Col commanding, 1901; retired 1909) and later Hon. Col of the battalion. During the First World War he was commander of the Bristol portion of the Gloucestershire Volunteers, and was appointed OBE. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a member of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, and a talented cultivator of orchids, and while living at Abbots Leigh he built up a noted herd of Guernsey Cattle and established a model dairy, which was managed by his wife. He was a keen sportsman, hunting in Dorset for nearly seventy years, and also enjoyed shooting. He firstly married on 6 August 1878 at Holy Trinity, Brompton, Middlesex, Frances Eleanor (c.1859-93), daughter of John Beardmore of Uplands Park, Fareham, Hampshire, and secondly on 5 October 1898 at St Peter, Cranley Gardens, Kensington, to Isabel Frances (1866-1946), daughter of Gen. Sir Robert Bright GCB,

  • Arthur John (1850-1850) baptised at Yeovil on 13 May 1850 but died in infancy and was buried at Yeovil on 18 May 1850.

  • Cecily Alice (c1851-1932) was baptised at Preston Plucknett on 3 February 1852. She was educated at Missenden House School, Newchurch, Isle of Wight. Her first marriage was on 12 June 1879 at Yeovil, to architect Alexander Crawford (1831-87) of Leeds, son of Presbyterian minister Samuel Crawford, they had three daughters. Her second marriage was on 22 August 1895 at Abbots Leigh, Somerset, to Col. Walter John Tarte (1833-1918) of Wyke Regis, Dorset. Cecily died on 20 January 1932 and was buried at Wyke Regis on 23 January 1932. Her will was proved 8 July 1932 and 18 August 1933 (estate £17,229 - around £1.2 million at today's value).


The 1846 Tithe Apportionment (see the 1842 Tithe Map below) noted that John Batten (presumably Jnr, since Snr had just died) was the tenant of Parcel 333 (Yeovil Old Bank) and the owner of the buildings was Rev. Arthur Daniell Johnson.

The 1846 poll book shows that John Batten Jnr was living at Kingston House as the owner occupier and also owned freehold houses and land at Belmont. Kingston House had been the home of John's great-uncle Edmund Batten.

By the time of the 1851 census John and Grace were living at Aldon House with their five children, two housemaids and a footman. The situation was all but identical in 1861 but the 1871 census shows John living with his family in Up Cerne House, Dorset. The 1881 census however shows that John had returned to Aldon house where he was living with his son Henry and three servants; a butler, footman and kitchen maid. John listed his occupation as 'Justice of the Peace Somerset & Dorset, Solicitor'. In the 1891 census John, by now aged 76 and a widower, listed his occupation as 'Magistrate & Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset'. He was still living at Aldon with his solicitor son Henry, aged 46 and still unmarried, with a butler, housekeeper, housemaid and a domestic helper.

John Batten Jnr died at Weymouth on 8 November 1900, aged 85, and was buried at Barwick on 12 November 1900. His estate was valued at £40,012 (around £25 million at today's value). The bequests in his will are shown in the Gallery. Grace died 4 July 1883 and was buried at Barwick on 9 July 1883.


See Batten Family Tree

See Yeovil Solicitors




This is a portion of the 1842 Tithe Map showing West Hendford running across the map from top left to join Hendford which runs up from bottom left. Hendford House is today's Manor Hotel and the Yeovil Old Bank, here marked as Parcel 333, is at centre. Parcel 369 at bottom centre was the Yeovil Old Brewery.




John Batten's Articles of Clerkship to his father of 1832.

An envelope, posted from Dorset in 1846 with a Penny Red stamp, addressed to John Batten Junr. Esq, Solicitor, Yeovil, Somerset,


The report of John Batten's bequests from the 16 April 1901 edition of the Western Daily Press.