Yeovil & Yeovilians in the Newspapers

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Yeovil and Yeovilians in the newspapers




Snippets of News


"We hear from Yeovil in Somersetshire, that a Detachment of General Gore's Regiment is marched into the said Town, to keep the Inhabitants in awe, they being suspected of Disaffection to the present Government." 
Newcastle Courant, 30 June 1733

"Last Saturday sev'night one John Adams, of Yeovil, in the County of Somerset, was found hanging in a Stable at the Sign of the Crooked Fish at Frome.... ordered to be buried in the common Highway, and to have Stake drove through (his) Body." 
Derby Mercury, 5 January 1753

"Extract of a Letter from Yeovil, June 26 - 'This week a young Woman was brought here, to the Parish where she belongs, raving mad; occasioned by the barbarous Cruelty of two of the Hessian Officers that were quartered at an Inn where she was Servant, near Salisbury, by laying her on the Kitchen Fire, on her Refusal to comply with their brutish Lust; where she must have been burnt to Death, had not a Manservant, on hearing her Cries, immediately rescued her; for which he narrowly escaped losing his Life, by their Attempts to run him through the Body." 
Oxford Journal, 3 July 1756

"Friday last at Yeovil market the People rose on account of the high Price of Corn, and obliged the Farmers to sell their Wheat for 10s per Bushel." 
Leeds Intelligencer, 10 May 1757

"Last Sunday Capt. Bru--e, an Officer belonging to the Artillery, cut his Throat at Yeovil, in Somersetshire, and expired immediately. He had been fifty Years in the Service, and had £150 per Ann Pension, granted by his late Majesty, for his past services." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 10 December 1761

"On Christmas Day a young Man at Preston near Yeovil, drowned himself in a Pit in a Field, because a young Woman (between whom the Bans of Matrimony had been published) refused to marry him. The young Woman was present at the Time, to whom he told what he would do, but she did not imagine he would have put his Threats in Execution. The Jury brought it in Lunacy." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 10 January 1765

"A few days ago one Gregory, servant to Mr Symonds, Gardener at Yeovil, aged near 70, was found dead between Yeovil and Ivelchester, much bruised in several places, and his pockets cut off, whence it is believed he was murdered." 
Salisbury & Winchester Journal, 6 May 1765

"We hear that the Inhabitants of Yeovil, on account of the Repeal of the Cyder-Act, and the Prohibition of the Importation of French Gloves, (Gloving being the principal Trade of that Town) have devoted the greatest Part of the last Week to Bell ringing and other Diversions; three Sheep being roasted whole on the last three Days, and two Vessels of Cyder continually running at their Market-House." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 1 May 1766

"Friday - the Inhabitants of Yeovil, generously bought a large Quantity of Wheat at 11s per Bushel, and sold it again to the Poor at 8s. -- An Example highly worthy of Imitation." 
Derby Mercury, 15 August 1766

"Last Week a Duel was fought at Yeovil, in Somersetshire, between Mr (J) Peddle, a young Surgeon, and Mr (W) Edwards, an Ironmonger of that Town. The same Form and Parade was observed, as would have been between two noble Lords. The Pistols were charged by the Seconds, the Ground paced out, their Breasts examined, and a Signal for firing given, by the dropping of a Handkerchief. Accordingly they fired in the same Instant of Time, when both were thoroughly persuaded of having just missed each other - Mr Peddle not yet satisfied proposed Swords; when the Seconds interfering, and rallying them sufficiently for their Folly, by telling them that the Pistols had been charged only with Powder, they shook Hands, and parted good Friends." 
Oxford Journal, 28 December 1771

"There is a Lady now living at Yeovil by the Name of Shew, who has practised Midwifery these thirty Years, in which Time she had brought into the World 2765 Children, of which she keeps a regular and correct Register." 
Oxford Journal, 16 February 1782

"About a fortnight since was caught at Yeovil, by a gentleman of that town, a blackbird with white spots on the breast and on the back, and a white circle around the neck; and the night after it was caught, after being watched to roost, by Charles Phelps of Yeovil, an entire white sparrow, except a black spot under the throat, which denotes it to be a cock." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 20 December 1787

"Whereas William Dickinson stands on a violent suspicion of having burglariously broken open the house of John Hancock, at Yeovil, in the county of Somersetshire, in the night of 13 March 1788. The said W Dickinson is a deserter from the marines, is 23 years of age, five feet seven inches high, by trade a blacksmith, was born at Wolverhampton in Staffordshire, is of a fair complexion, hath grey eyes, light brown hair, and had on a dark brown coat, yellow striped waistcoat, black velvet breeches and grey worsted stockings. FIVE GUINEAS Reward." 
Cumberland Pacquet, 23 April 1788

"Thursday Mr Genge, of Preston, near Yeovil, was found drowned in a pond before his own house. He was insane." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 3 December 1789

"Wednesday was committed to Ivelchester gaol by E Phelips Esq. Thomas Goodfellow, a hawker and pedlar, having been detected in picking a man's pocket of a purse, containing three guineas and some silver, at Yeovil Fair." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 8 July 1790

"Thomas Goodfellow, the hawker and pedlar who was committed to Ivelchester gaol for picking pockets at the last Yeovil Fair, is removed from that prison to Worcester, on a charge of horse-stealing." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 29 July 1790

"Thomas Goodfellow, alias Bayliss, a hawker and pedlar, was executed at Worcester on Friday last for burglary. He was removed from Ilchester gaol, to which he had been committed for picking pockets at the last Yeovil fair."
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 5 August 1790

From my collection

A contemporary sketch of Ilchester Gaol.

"Wednesday se'nnight, at Vagg Farm, near Yeovil, aged 102, Mr Thomas Beer, who had rented that farm near 60 years." 
Death Notices, Caledonian Mercury, 22 November 1790

"Mr Holloway, grocer of Yeovil, Somerset, endeavouring to overtake the stage coach between that town and Sherborne, unfortunately burst a blood vessel, fell down on the road, and died almost instantly." 
Derby Mercury, 12 April 1792

"About three o'clock on Wednesday last a fire broke out in a house in Preston, near Yeovil, which for nearly three hours threatened the whole town with destruction. The wind, which was high, blew the flames in various directions, and at the same time five different parts of the town were on fire. By the great exertions of some gentlemen from Yeovil, and the united endeavours of the people of the village and neighbourhood, the flames were got under; having, however, entirely consumed 14 houses, and damaged a still greater number. Near 100 persons, by this melancholy accident, are, at this inclement season, destitute of homes." 
Derby Mercury, 10 January 1793

"Pedestrian Horse-Racing - On Thursday evening last a velocipede race was contested by Mr Butt, linen draper, and Mr Leonard, ironmonger, of Yeovil.... Mr L, in consequence of being rather shorter in the legs than his opponent, was allowed the privilege of wearing a pair of lady's clogs, but these artificial heels were not able to cope with the natural alertness of the linen draper, ho beat his antagonist by one minute and a half, completing the mile in six minutes. The gentlemen afterwards retired to an inn for refreshment."
Western Flying Post, 4 November 1819

♦  "The maid servant of Mr Thomas Holt, superintendent of the Yeovil police, on Saturday evening last, being in the house by herself, and on her knées, scouring out the room, was much surprised at seeing the door suddenly opened and two stout women enter; she enquired what they wanted? and was answered either money or food; she told them she had neither, and desired them to leave the house, which they refused to do, swearing that they would have something before they left. The girl (who is about fifteen years of age) immediately took down her master's constable's staff, and laid it over the shoulders of the women, and finally ejected them from the house, drove them into the road, and locked the door. We certainly consider that great credit is due to this young female, as there can be no doubt that had it not been for her resolute conduct something or other would have been stolen."
Morning Post
, 24 November 1848

♦  "A commission appointed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells have decided that certain charges against Mr Elliott, the incumbent of Hendford, Yeovil - of drunkenness and improper familiarity with his female servant - have been sufficiently sustained to warrant further proceedings."
Exeter Flying Post, 24 December 1857

♦  "A commission appointed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells have decided that certain charges against Mr Elliott, the incumbent of Hendford, Yeovil - of drunkenness and improper familiarity with his female servant - have been sufficiently sustained to warrant further proceedings."
The Times, 13 August 1859

♦  "A woman named Hannah Russell, 104 years old, entered the Yeovil Workhouse last week as a pauper."
Glasgow Herald, 12 June 1868

♦  "Petty Sessions, Wednesday - (Before Capt. Messiter, G Harbin, J Wood, H Batten, G Bullock, and A Wood, Esqrs) - Throwing Wood at a Railway Train - William Pilton, a little boy, was summoned for throwing a piece of wood on the rails of the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company. On the 25th of Jan. the lad was seen to throw a piece of wood at the 10:35am train from Yeovil to Taunton. The wood struck the top of the van, and bounded off to the opposite side. The lad said he had no intention of doing any harm, and merely dropped the stick on the line. Mr Harbin (chairman) said the case was one of a most serious nature. The bench had no alternative but to impose a fine of £5 and costs, or in default three weeks imprisonment with hard labour."
Bristol Mercury
6 February 1869

♦  "At Yeovil Fair on Saturday night, a panic occurred in a show, owing to the fear of the people that a performing Zulu was going to assegai them. A number of persons were thrown to the ground and trampled upon, and the front of the show was forced out."
Cornish Weekly News, 24 November 1882

♦  "A gas explosion occurred on Saturday at the New Glove Factory, Yeovil. The ceilings of two rooms were laid bare, and some rafters caught fire, but the flames were soon extinguished. Mr Johnson, one of the firm, was knocked down by a piece of wood which was driven against him."
Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder, 05 January 1885

♦  "A fire, which at one time threatened to be of a very serious character, broke out on Monday night at the rear of the Mermaid Hotel. No time was lost in attaching the hose to the hydrants in the streets, and a copious supply of water being poured upon the flames, extinguished them before much damage was done. There was great excitement in the town, there being many old business premises adjacent. It was not generally known that a quantity of paraffin and other oils was stored near, belonging to tradesmen in the Borough, or the anxiety experienced by those who resided in the Borough would have been greatly intensified. The horses which were in the stable for the night were rescued with difficulty. What would otherwise have proved to be a most disastrous fire was subdued in half an hour after the outbreak by the prompt action of the fire brigade and others."
Bristol Mercury & Daily Post, 3 March 1888

♦  "An inquest was held on Monday morning at the Swan Inn before Mr Muller, coroner, touching the death of George Wellman, a drover, living in Addlewell Lane. Deceased complained on Friday morning of feeling cold and shivering, and, at his wife's suggestion, he remained indoors all day. He went to bed early, and became worse. He was gasping for breath. A linseed meal poultice was applied to his throat, and his wife went for an order for the parish doctor. Whilst she was waiting for the doctor she heard that her husband was dead. Dr Marsh said he had examined the deceased. He thought that death resulted either from diphtheria or acute inflammation of the larynx. A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned, and the coroner said he hoped Dr Marsh would keep his eye on the locality for any further cases of sore throat.."
Bristol Mercury & Daily Post, 3 March 1888

♦  "A case of shocking cruelty came before the county magistrates on Wednesday afternoon, when Robert James Masters, a Glover, was charged under the new Act for the protection of children with neglecting to provide the necessaries for his family. Mr S Watts prosecuted. The principal witness was Mrs Marsh wife of Mr W Marsh, solicitor, a district of visitor, who said that on her visits to the defendant's house she found the children in a wretched condition, without food, firing, or much clothing. She had supplied the family with food and coal; but on one occasion the little ones were in such a state from cold that one of them was unable to hold the spoon to its mouth. Mrs Marsh heard that the defendant was drinking at a public house, and she went to the inn, saw the man, and expostulated with him. He, however, apparently took no notice of Mrs Marsh's remonstrances, and the children remained in a sad and neglected state. It was proved that the defendant was in constant work. Evidence as to the condition of the children was also given by the police, who said the man had been summoned for ill-treating his wife, but at the last moment she refused to prosecute. Defendant was sentenced to 6 weeks hard labour."
Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, 4 January 1890

♦  "A remarkable woman named Gillard, living in Market Street, Yeovil, attained the age of 108 years on Wednesday. She lives with her daughter, who is 80 years of age, and, although compelled to keep to her bed, is in full possession of her mental faculties. Her eyesight is almost if not entirely gone. She remembers many important public events that occurred in her younger days, and converses about them with evident interest. As to her great age there can be no doubt, as the register of her baptism was verified by the then vicar of Yeovil. She received a good many visitors and more than the usual number of callers on her 108th birthday."
Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, 10 January 1890

♦  "Mr Richard Vining, for many years surveyor to the Yeovil Town Council, committed suicide by drowning."
Hampshire Advertiser, 25 March 1891

♦  "On Monday night and accident occurred on Babylon Hill, near Yeovil, whereby an auctionéer, named James Harris, was killed, and a man and wife named Gale, all of Yeovil, were seriously injured. It seems that Mr Harris was driving to his home from Sherborne, and when at the top of Babylon Hill, by some means, at present unexplained, the three were thrown out of the trap. Mr Harris was picked up at the top of the hill, and Mr Gale about halfway down, near where the road branches off to Bradford Abbas, and the woman was found at the bottom of the hill. The auctionéer and Mrs Gale were lying in pools of blood, and Mr Gale was be spattered with blood, but was standing up. The first to arrive on the spot was a young man, named Wilkins, of Yeovil, who was on horseback, and shortly afterwards Mr H Higdon of Yeovil, came by. Fly was returning from Sherborne at this time, and in this Mr Harris was conveyed to his home, where he was tended by Dr Colmer, but died about an hour afterwards from, it is supposed, concussion of the brain. The doctor, after doing all he could for Mr Harris, attended the others and eventually they were removed home, and conveyed subsequently to the hospital. The man sustained some severe cuts on the head and the woman scalp was cut in addition to other injuries. Yesterday morning she was not expected to recover, but Mr Gale's wounds were regarded as not very serious. An inquest on Mr Harris will probably be held today (Wednesday)."
Hampshire Advertiser, 29 July 1891

♦  "On Thursday morning an inquest was held before Mr EQ Louch, deputy coroner, on the body of Mr Samuel Cridland, who met his death by falling down a well on Tuesday. Supt. Self having given evidence as to the disused well, PC Hicks said that on Wednesday morning he went to the rear of the police station, where he saw Mrs Self, who said she had heard some noises in the well. He told her he thought someone ought to be seen about it. Both of them walked several times over the place where deceased fell in, but they did not think that it was likely to give way. After breakfast witness saw deceased near the station, and told him there was something the matter with the well. Deceased went round with witness to look at the well, and when he was near the sunken stone witness called out to him not to go any further, but at the same time the stone he was standing on gave way, and deceased fell in. Witness saw deceased catch at the handle of the pump, but he missed it. Dr Colmer said he examined the body. He thought deceased was stunned by the fall. The jury returned a verdict of 'Accidental death'. Much sympathy is felt for the deceased's family."
Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, 14 November 1891

♦  "A gang of poachers who were being watched by the police at Compton, near Yeovil, early on Saturday morning, were met by one of the watchers (Police constable Meech, of Yetminster) while descending Babylon Hill with a cartload of game. The policeman attempted to stop the horse, but was violently driven into and knocked down and seriously injured. The men then drove off at a wild gallop, and the efforts of the other policemen to stop them were ineffectual. It was at first feared that the injuries to Meech would prove fatal, but he subsequently rallied, although his injuries are of a very serious nature. No arrests have yet been made, the men having absconded."
Hampshire Advertiser, 19 July 1893

"Six German prisoners of war who were being driven in a motor-lorry from their camp to work on a farm, were thrown into the road at Preston on Tuesday when the tail-board on which they were sitting collapsed. Five received minor injuries and one was taken by ambulance to hospital and detained with head injuries." 
Western Gazette, 23 August 1946