the history of yeovil's pubs





picketty witch

147 Ilchester Road


The Picketty Witch is nothing to do with witches. In fact gets its name from the Old English 'piccede' meaning a triangular or pointed piece of land and 'wice' being a Wych Elm that would, at one time, been a noticeable and distinguishing landmark of the area. The name was corrupted (in Victorian times at least, but probably much earlier) to 'piked weech' and 'picked wych' and applied to adjacent land for generations and appears in early Land Tax Returns.

The pub itself is relatively modern, being built in the 1930's by N&C Partridge Ltd, of North Lane, to serve the rapidly expanding housing in the vicinity. The land it was built on was, apparently, once frequently used as a gypsy camp site.

The first licensee in 1936, Reginald Spearing, had been licensee of the Oxford Inn for a brief period prior to coming to the Picketty Witch. The Spearing family had been licensees of the Oxford Inn since the 1890's.

It is a large building of red brick with stone mullioned windows under a tiled roof. Dormered windows to the elevation facing the Ilchester Road but fully two storey on the building's end return.

During the Second World War, the Picketty Witch was earmarked as a Civil Defence Reinforcements Rendezvous Centre.

In 1950 the skittle alley of the Picketty Witch was earmarked by the Corporation for use as a 'care of the homeless' furniture store in the case of a civil emergency - that is, the outbreak of another war.

The late 1960's pop group, Pickettywitch named themselves after the pub after visiting on the way back from a gig.

The following is from an article in the Visitor of June 1996 -


The Picketty Witch, Yeovil

Nigel Williams with partners Claire and Keith are your new hosts at the Picketty Witch on Ilchester Road, Yeovil. All three are from Stoke-on-Trent and have previous experience of running a pub. The first improvement they have made is to offer food. The Picketty Witch has a large, airy through lounge/public bar. At the far end is a pool table and darts board. The lounge bar/dining area offers comfortable seating, and various cozy corners to relax in over a drink or enjoy a meal. The Picketty Witch is a Gibbs Mew pub... outside is ample parking. There are beer gardens to the rear of the pub and it is hoped in the near future to add a children's play area.


The Picketty Witch restaurant area, 1996.



The Picketty Witch finally closed in late 2012 and is to be converted into yet another Tesco Express. The following is from the Western Gazette of 13 December 2012.


Tesco moves in after Yeovil pub shuts for good

Customers of a Yeovil pub have lamented the loss of their local which is being taken over by a major supermarket chain. Work will start next year to convert The Picketty Witch, on Ilchester Road, into a Tesco Express after the pub recently closed. Up to 20 full and part-time jobs will be created at the store, the supermarket giant said.

Melanie Chiswell, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said work to convert the pub into a shop should start in February 2013, with an expected opening date in spring or summer. First the store has to secure planning permission for a cash machine and external signage, she added. Ms Chiswell said the new shop would be open seven days a week from 7am until 10/11pm.




Colourised photograph of 1960 by Charrington & Co Ltd's surveyors as part of a 'stocktaking' exercise of photographing Brutton's pubs prior to the brewery takeover.


Courtesy of Chris Rendell

The Picketty Witch photographed in 1989.


The Picketty's sign, photographed in the late 1980s.


From my collection

Advertisement for the Picketty Witch from the Visitor, August 1996.


The Picketty Witch photographed in 2009.


The bar of the Picketty Witch, photographed in 2010.


Closed in late 2012, this photograph of January 2013 shows the Picketty Witch boarded up and awaiting conversion to a Tesco Express.


Photographed January 2013.


Photographed October 2013.




1936 – RH Spearing (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Wytch
1939 – Reginald Spearing (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Picketty Witch PH
1947 – RH Spearing (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Wytch
1949 – RH Spearing (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Picketty Witch
1951 – RH Spearing (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Witch
1954 – RH Spearing (1954 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Witch
1957 – CM Arnold (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Witch. In 1954 Charles had been
            licensee of the Pall Tavern.
1960 – CM Arnold (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Witch
1964 – Charles M Arnold (Foord's 1964 Directory)
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Picketty Witch
1974 – Arthur F Twilley (Kelly's 1974 Directory)
1987 – Licensee not named (Denton’s 1987 Directory) listed as Picketty Witch
1996 – Nigel Williams (Visitor article above)
2012 – Final Closure