yeovil people

John Tucker Dobel

Watch and Clockmaker of Middle Street


John Tucker Dobel was born on 12 December 1831 at Yeovil, the son of Watch & Clock Maker Robert Dobel and Elizabeth née Tucker. Robert and Elizabeth were members of the Baptist Chapel in South Street and John was baptised there. In the autumn of 1837 Elizabeth died and in the spring of the following year Robert married Mary Ann Hardy at St John's church.

 In the 1841 census Robert was listed as living with his new wife Mary (b1815), children John (b1832), Ellen (b1835) and William (b1839) and a female servant in Hendford (see Gallery below) on the corner of High Street. 35-year old Robert gave his occupation as a Jeweller.

By the time of the 1851 census Mary had died and Robert was listed as a widower. He was still living in Hendford, with children John, Ellen and Frederick and a domestic servant. Robert gave his occupation as a Silversmith and both John and Ellen were listed as his Assistants. Working in the shadow of his father, John was never listed in any Yeovil trade directories in his own right.

On 18 February 1854 at St John's church John married Elizabeth Hill (1833-1859), the daughter of Richard Hill (1797-1863) and Hannah née Clavey (1803-1857). John and Elizabeth were to have a son, Robert (1857-1892) named for John's father.

However, trouble loomed for John and from June 1853 he had severe financial troubles leading to being made bankrupt in December 1855, by which time he had moved to Castle Cary. Sadly, in the spring of 1859 Elizabeth died aged just 26. Nevertheless just a few months later, in the autumn of 1859, John married Sarah Barnes (1821-1889), ten years his senior, at Wincanton.

Following this John and Sarah moved around quite a bit - in 1861 he was the landlord of the Crown Inn in Bruton, in 1871 he was an 'Agent' in Leominster, Herefordshire. By 1881 John and Sarah were living in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, where John worked as a Clerk and his son Robert was a Fishmonger. Sarah died in Merthyr Tydfil in 1889, aged 72, and in the following 1891 census John and Robert were boarding in High Street, Merthyr Tydfil. 62-year old John gave his occupation as an Inn Keeper while 34-year old Robert gave his as a Salesman.

Robert died in Merthyr Tydfil in 1892, aged 35, and John died there in 1894, aged 62.




The notice of John Tucker Dobel's birth in the Yeovil Dissenting Register.


This photograph, one half of a stereoscopic pair, was taken around 1870 and looks down Hendford with High Street and the shop of Lindsay Denner at extreme left. Next to Denner's was the home of clock makers Robert and John Dobel but by the time of this photograph the home, workshop and shop premises of John's brother Frederick Dobel. The imposing building at right is Stuckey's Bank.


The notice of John's insolvency from the 18 December 1855 edition of the Sherborne Mercury.