Yeovil People

Thomas Hayward

Tailor and Beerhouse Keeper


Thomas Hayward / Haywood was born in Yeovil around 1835 the son of glover John Hayward and his wife, Maria. In the 1841 census Thomas was living in Back Street (today's South Street) with his parents and five siblings. By 1851 the family were living in Willmington Lane (possibly an early name for Salthouse Lane) and Thomas, now aged 15, gave his occupation as tailor. By this time he had eight siblings.

In the 1861 census Thomas and his new wife, Sarah Ann (b1841, Charminster, Dorset), were living in Middle Street and he described his occupation as a tailor and beerhouse keeper. Thomas and Sarah were to have three children It seems likely that Sarah ran the beerhouse during the day and Thomas, after spending the day at his 'normal' job, took over during the evenings which was a very common practice in beerhouses.

Because of its location in the 1861 census this beerhouse (marked 'A' on the map and arrowed in the photograph below) is one of the very few beerhouses whose location can be precisely pinpointed - on the eastern side of the entrance to Dean's Court, off Middle Street, directly opposite the George Hotel and two doors along from the Castle Hotel. At about the same time this operated as a beerhouse Dean's Court, which was essentially slum housing for the very poor, became notorious for the repeated outbreaks of typhoid fever because all eight properties shared a common privy so close to the well supplying drinking water for the Court that the privy actually drained into the well. Not nice.

It is thought that Thomas' beerhouse had earlier been known as the Skinner's Arms. In 1853 the licensee, one Thomas Fooks, had lost his license and been heavily fined for serving beer "during Divine Service" and allowing spirits (fetched from the George Inn across the road) to be consumed on the premises. A beerhouse license did not allow the sale of spirits or fortified wines, and any infringement would result in the beerhouse being closed down and the owner heavily fined. Beerhouses were not permitted to open on Sundays.

The Post Office Directory of 1866 recorded that Thomas Hayward was a 'Shopkeeper of Middle Street' but no further detail is given.

Sarah was living in Middle Street in the 1871 census and described her occupation as greengrocer. Thomas was conspicuous by his absence (as he was for the following census in 1881), but there were five lodgers. Whether or not the greengrocery had a beer barrel sat on a table in one corner can only be guessed at.

We actually have a very good description of Thomas Hayward from the record of his admission to Dorchester Prison on 12 October 1878 for being drunk and disorderly. His parish was Yeovil, trade was tailor, age 43, height 5ft 5½ins, hair dark brown, eyes light hazel, complexion rather ruddy, married, 3 children, hair thin top of head, (word illegible) under left shoulder blade, large veins inside left leg, scar below the knee same leg, 1st time. The sentence was not recorded.

The last record I found for Thomas was the 1891 census. He and Sarah were still living in Middle Street, his occupation was tailor and hers was shopkeeper.



This rare sepia-toned photograph of about 1875 looks down Middle Street and shows the Castle Inn at extreme left with Thomas Haywood's beerhouse arrowed. The original narrow entrance to Union Street is seen right of centre.