yeovil people

Charles Dycear Gawler

Glove Manufacturer


The Reverend Charles Dycear Gawler, born around 1796 in Wincanton, was a minister of an independent congregation of Dissenters and, as a consequence, moved around the country for much of his early life. For several years he was a minister at Wincanton and then Ilchester, finally moving to Yeovil with his wife Anna (b1791) and their young family by 1829 when the birth and baptism of their daughter Mary Ann was recorded in the Yeovil (Independent) Register of Births (Mary Ann was to emigrate to South Africa with her husband, John Heynes and four children; Louisa, Jane, John Charles and Jessie. She died in Cape Town in 1883). By this time Charles and Anna already had two children;  a son, also called Charles Dycear (b c 1819) and a daughter Anna Maria (1821-1870), both born in Wincanton. Another son, William, was born around 1823 and a third daughter, Selina, was born in Yeovil in 1831.

By the time of the 1841 census the two sons, Charles and William, were lodging in Park Street; Charles working as a glover and William as a tailor's apprentice. In the late summer of 1846 Charles married Louisa Maxwell (c1820-1897), originally from Devonport, Devon, at Yeovil and by the time of the 1851 census Charles was clearly doing well since he and Louisa had two sons of their own; Henry (b1848) and George Wrentmore (1850-1916) and they were all living in Park Street with a 12-year old servant girl. Charles listed his occupation as a glover and Louisa gave hers as a dress maker.

During the 1850s Charles Gawler went into partnership with William Fooks, son of wealthy glove manufacturer Thomas Fooks, who inherited his father's glove manufactory in South Street. The new company of Fooks & Gawler also owned a factory and dressing yard in Addlewell Lane.

Meanwhile, Charles and Louisa were still living in Park Street and the 1861 census showed they had another child, Louisa, born in 1853. Charles gave his occupation as 'Glove Manufacturer. Fooks & Gawler'. Fooks & Gawler were still listed in the Post Office directory of 1866 but William Fooks died in Yeovil in 1872 aged 41.

With the death of his partner Charles began manufacturing gloves under his own name. His parents were already living in a house in Wyndham Street and Charles moved his family to a house next door to them. It is not possible to determine exactly where in Wyndham Street, due to re-numbering and rebuilding, but it seems that there was a small glove factory built between, or entered from between, but most likely behind the two houses. In the 1871 census Charles and Louisa (listed as Jemima) and 20-year old George were still listed at the same address. Charles gave his occupation as 'Glove Manufacturer employing 30 men, 6 boys, 11 women', George gave his simply as a glover.

His parents died during the 1870s and by the time of the 1881 census Charles' son George, a glover, and his family were living in what had been his grandparents house at 7 Wyndham Street (not today's No 7) while the factory was listed as No 6 and Charles, Louisa, their daughter Maria and a servant were at No 5. 60-year old Charles listed his occupation as 'Glove Manufacturer (employing 40 men & 4 boys)'. Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1882 listed 'Charles Dycear Gawler, Glove Manufacturer, of 5,6 Wyndham Street' and he was also listed in the 1889 Somersetshire & Bristol Directory.

Shortly thereafter Charles retired and he and Louisa moved to Summerlands, Preston Road, where the 1891 census listed them, together with their daughter Maria and a servant. Louisa died on 9 August 1897, aged 78, and in the 1901 census Charles, listed as a retired glove manufacturer, was living with his daughter Maria and a servant.

Charles died on 25 March 1903 at his home, Bayford Lodge, Summerlands, aged 82. His will was proved in May when his effects were estimated at £14,102 2s 8d (about £8.8 million at today's value). Charles and Louisa are buried in Yeovil Cemetery.


Side Note: At the bottom of Charles and Louisa's gravestone is "Also of Charles Dycear Gawler, elder and dearly loved Grand Son of the above named, who giving his life for King and Country fell in action, mortally wounded, at Kaal Vraal, May 31st 1902 being in all probability the last killed in the South African War of 1899-1902".




A snippet from the 5 January 1866 edition of the Western Gazette describing the annual treat for the workers of Fooks & Gawler.


.... and a similar story for the Christmas party of the following year noted in the Western Gazette's edition of 4 January 1867.


Notice placed in the London Gazette's edition of 31 January 1873 announcing the dissolution of the Fooks & Gawler partnership due to the death of the former.


The Fooks & Gawler glove factory was let after the death of Thomas Fooks, Charles Gawler moving on to Wyndham Street.


Photographed around 1990, this photograph shows, at centre, the building that had housed Charles Gawler's glove factory in Wyndham Street. Charles and his family lived in a house at one side of the factory, while his parents lived in the house on the other side.


The grave headstone of Charles and Louisa Gawler in Yeovil Cemetery.