yeovil people

Jane Ostler



Jane Palmer was born in Spaxton, Somerset, around 1832. She was the daughter of James and Charlotte Palmer and in the 1841 census she was listed with her family in Spaxton. By the time of the 1851 census, Jane was in service in Taunton as a house servant of widow Mary Major.

By 1860, Jane was living in Langport and was married there on 4 July 1860 to tinman and brazier Charles Ostler (1834-1876) of Yeovil. In fact, 26-year-old Charles had been leasing premises in Middle Street for his new business for around a year. The 1861 census listed Charles and Jane living in Vicarage Street with three lodgers. Charles listed his occupation as a tinman.

Charles and Jane were to have four sons, all born in Yeovil; Henry (1862-1866), Frederick (b1865), William Charles (1867-1942) and Hubert (1868-1873). Sadly, three-year-old Henry died in January 1866 by falling into the Rackel Stream behind a house in Vicarage Street. A jury at the inquest, held at the Blue Ball Inn, returned a verdict of 'accidentally drowned'. Just a few years later, Hubert died when he was five years old.

By the time of the 1871 census, Charles, Jane and the three surviving sons were living in Middle Street above the shop premises. In 1876, however, Charles died. He was aged 42. Following his death, Jane took over her husband's business and advertised herself as a dealer in ironmongery and tin goods in several editions of the Western Gazette during April and May 1877 (see Gallery).

In the 1881 census, Jane was listed living at 28 Middle Street with Frederick and William. She gave her occupation as an ironmonger and 15-year-old Frederick gave his as an ironmonger's assistant. 13-year-old William was a scholar. Jane advertised herself twice, in the 1882 and 1886 editions of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.

However, it appears that Jane's financial and administrative skills, required in running a business, were completely lacking, and in January 1887 she was declared bankrupt. Her stock, fixtures, etc were put up for sale in February 1887 and bought by HN Cox & Son of Bridport with the intention of continuing to run the business. Following Jane's bankruptcy, dividends of 6s 3½d in the pound were paid to her creditors in September 1887.

Following the shame of her bankruptcy, Jane and Frederick moved to Petersfield, Hampshire, where Jane died in 1890, aged 68.




The entry in the Langport parish register of the 4 July 1860 marriage of Charles Ostler and Jane Palmer.


Following the death of her husband, Jane began running the ironmongery business on her own and placed this advertisement in the Western Gazette during April and May 1877.


Jane's advertisement in the 1882 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.


... and her advertisement in the 1886 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.