the history of yeovil's pubs





king's arms (2)

South Street


Not to be confused with the earlier King's Arms in Back Kingston which ceased trading in the 1840's, thus releasing the King's Arms name, or the later King's Arms in Silver Street which is recorded as trading under the King's Arms name from the 1860's. This Kings Arms, marked 'B' on the map below, was another Yeovil beerhouse and was run by Richard Bennetts.

It was a very short-lived establishment as it only appears in the records for a little over a decade. The building was finally destroyed by fire on 23 February 1906 as seen in the photographs below.



Richard Bennetts was born in Mayler, Cornwall around 1789 and his wife, Mary, was born in St Marys, Cornwall in 1801. They had at least two children in Cornwall, twins William and Henry, born around 1826 but they moved to Yeovil shortly thereafter because their next son, Roderick, was born about 1828 in Somerset. In 1841 Richard Bennetts, described as a painter, and his family (now enlarged with two daughters, Belinda and Harriott, and another son, Frederick) were living in South Street.

Interestingly, they were living next door to Humphrey Jeans' beerhouse called the Market House Inn. In 1851 Richard and his family were still living in South Street and this is where Richard set up his beerhouse which he called the King's Arms. By this time the only children living at home were Harriett, Fred and new addition, Charles. By the time of the 1861 census Richard was dead and Mary, with her young son Charles, was living with her son Frederick and his family in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.







This photograph was taken around 1890. The King's Arms is arrowed. The three-storey building with the awning was the Market House Inn. At extreme right is the edge of the Cow Inn with the open first floor window and the building in the far distance advertising Perry's Dining Rooms is the Three Choughs Hotel.


From my collection. From my collection. This photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

Photographed by William Ross and produced as a postcard. The fire occurred, as stated on the image, on 23 February 1906 and the postcard was sent on 9 March 1906. The King's Arms was completely destroyed by fire although it hadn't of course, been a beerhouse for several decades.  The firemen in the first floor window and the crowd at ground level are facing the photographer who was standing in South Street. The man with the bowler hat is standing at the entrance to the Hall Keeper's house next to the Cheese Market - his location is just above the first 'T' in the word BACK STREET on the map above. The fire, apparently, was started by an unattended candle in a rear store-room of Thomas Clement's shop in High Street, that backed on to the cottages.


From my collection

The same image by William Ross and produced as a postcard in portrait format. The site of the burnt cottages is now the rear access yard of Argos.




1851 – Richard Bennetts – Painter and Inn Keeper (1851 census) pub not named
1852 – Richard Bennetts – Inn Keeper (Slater’s 1852 Directory) as the Kings Arms, South Street