burial grounds (19th century)

burial grounds - Quaker / Friends

Dealing with burials in 19th century Yeovil


The Quaker Burial Ground in Preston Lane (today's Preston Road) dates to 1689 when it was carved out of the corner of a field known as Batt's Corner.

In 1852 in his Report to the General Board of Health concerning, among other items, Yeovil's burial grounds, Thomas Rammell wrote the following concerning burials in the Friends, or Quaker, burial ground in Preston Road.

"The Quakers Burial-Ground is situated about 300 yards beyond the turnpike gate, on the Preston Road, and is therefore quite removed from the town. It is a very old ground, established upwards of a century. It is about one-eighth of an acre in extent, and the interments are few, about 19 having taken place in the last 29 years. It is a dry ground, and lies high."

In fact Quaker meetings were first held in Yeovil in 1654, fifteen years earlier than the date on the wall of the burial ground. The ground was, however, privately owned and in his will of 1716 Yeovil glover Samuel Goodford the Elder bequeathed the burial ground to his second son William Goodford. The first Quaker meeting house was dated from 1690 and was built in Kingston.

On the 1886 Ordnance Survey the site is shown as "Friends' Burial Ground (Disused)" although, of course as seen in this photograph of 2007, the burial ground remains today albeit locked. Mounted in its boundary wall facing Preston Road is the stone, photographed below, which is inscribed "Friends Burial Ground 1689".

Only six headstones, all of the Thompson family, survive (see Gallery). These are -

  • Samuel Thompson, died 11th month 23rd 1759, aged 22 years

  • Mary Thompson, died 3rd month 29th 1777, aged 70 years

  • Jonah Thompson, died 5th month 21st 1780

  • Ann Thompson, died 2nd month 10th 1802, aged 46 years

  • Lawson Thompson, died 1st month 13th 1809, aged 10 years

  • Thomas Thompson, died 9th month 1826, aged 38 years

The 'Grave-Maker' for the Yeovil Burying Ground for the period 1784 to 1792 was George White.

For a list of Quaker Burials in Yeovil - click here




This photograph features in my book "A-Z of Yeovil"

Four of the six headstones, photographed in the 1990s.


Sadly the graves are now completely overgrown and uncared for. Photographed 4 November 2021.


Courtesy of Kevin Waterfall

A great improvement, photographed at the end of November 2021. Kevin says "The burial ground had become overgrown and actions are now in progress to make this into a wildlife friendly area."


This photograph features in my book "A-Z of Yeovil"

The stone set into the burial ground's boundary wall, facing Preston Road. Photographed 2013.


The title page of a Quaker Burial Register.