Preston Road

Preston Road

The ancient lane connecting Yeovil and Preston Plucknett


In 1856 Vickery wrote "Preston is a considerable parish one mile northwest from Yeovil, in the turnpike-road to Taunton." Today's Preston Road was originally called Preston Lane and, as seen in the map below, there were no buildings between Yeovil and Preston Plucknett. Until the boundary changes of 1928, the parish of Yeovil ended at Larkhill Road where the parish of Preston Plucknett began.

Over time, as with most roads of this nature, houses and other buildings have been added to Preston Road. However, especially in more recent times, Preston Road has been straightened and widened in places, often causing the loss of old buildings.

The photographs in the Gallery below, illustrate Preston Road for its entire length. They begin at Fiveways and end at Preston Plucknett - albeit not in chronological order. Most photos have links in the accompanying text leading to further information and photographs.




Part of the 1811 Ordnance Survey map showing the completely unpopulated Preston Lane flanked by open fields and running from Fiveways, at the right, to the village of Preston Plucknett at the left, and beyond. At the centre, running north from Preston Road, is Larkhill Road - at the time called Down Lane.




This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

The second (at least) Kingston Turnpike House photographed about 1860 by Henry Goodfellow (before the Fiveways hospital was built). The eastern end of Preston Road was at the very left edge of this photograph. Notice the toll gates which would close until tolls had been paid.


From my collection  -  This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

Fiveways photographed in the early 1950s by HA 'Jack' Cooper, when the roundabout still had its black and white markings - painted on during the war so that it was easier to see in the blackout. Preston Road is at the left with two cars. Replacing the Yeovil General Dispensary, Fiveways hospital opened in January 1872 just as an outbreak of smallpox hit Yeovil. Fiveways Hospital was demolished in 1969 and the site was lost as the new, massive Fiveways roundabout was developed.


An early 1960's photograph taken from Fiveways Crossroads and looking down Preston Road towards the Somerset Inn, facing the bend in the road.

Somerset Court on the site of the Somerset Inn, photograph taken in 2009.


This photograph features in my book "A-Z of Yeovil"

Moving just a few yards further west, this is he stone set into the Quaker, or Friends, burial ground's boundary wall, facing Preston Road. It is inscribed "Friends' Burial Ground 1689". Photographed in 2013.


This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

A photograph of the entrance to, and the lodge of, Yeovil cemetery, adjacent to the Friends' burial ground, taken around 1900 from The Park. The entrance and lodge are unchanged today.


The original of this photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

This colourised photograph was taken in the 1960s and looks west along Preston Road and the road running off to the right is Willow Road. The three-bay house end-on to Preston Road with a corner shop in its left-hand side is Providence Cottage. The building at right was originally a leather tannery but converted into a flour mill known as Newis' Mills. Both cottage and mills were demolished shortly after this photograph was taken.


Looking east along Preston Road to Cemetery Hill from Grove Avenue. The entrance to Willow Road, site of the former Newis' Mills, is seen at the centre between the two street lights.


A colourised photograph of Grove House, photographed in the 1960s from Preston Road. The new road being constructed in the foreground is today's Legion Road and, at the time, Grove House was about to be demolished.


Just before the junction with Westfield Road stands Grovecote, built in 1830 as the manse for the minister of Yeovil's Unitarian Chapel in Vicarage Street. Photographed in 2013.


This photograph features in my book "Yeovil In 50 Buildings"

To the west of Westfield Road, is the main Preston Road elevation of the former Yeovil Union Workhouse, photographed in 2017. Today, only the administration block, seen here, survives.


Taken before 1932, when they were demolished, these cottages stood on what is now the corner of St Andrew's Road. At the left is Preston Road and at the left edge is seen the retaining wall in front of the old workhouse building of the previous photograph.


Presumably taken at the same time as the previous photograph, this looks west along Preston Road from the other side of the cottage above.


Courtesy of Chris Rendell

Opposite St Andrew's Road, stands the Preston Hotel photographed in 1989.


To the immediate west of St Andrew's Road, on the south side of Preston Road, are the former council offices, now Bournemouth University's Yeovil campus. Photographed in 2018.


This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

The southern end of Larkhill Road  seen from Preston Road, probably photographed in the 1930s. At right is Ivy Cottage which is shown on the 1886 Ordnance Survey (indeed, it was also shown on the 1842 Tithe Map as the only house in Down Lane). It was demolished in the 1960s. The Larkhill Road houses at left (built in 1906) were actually in the parish of Preston Plucknett until the 1928 boundary changes.


This photograph features in my book "Yeovil In 50 Buildings"

Just beyond Larkhill Road is Glencote, on the north side of Preston Road, now known as the Old House. Photographed in 2014. Glencote is a rare survivor of what was once typical of the domestic houses of Yeovil. It is thought to have sixteenth century origins albeit with major alterations during the seventeenth century.


A colourised photograph of the entrance to Preston Park (carved from the land of Preston Lower Farm in the late 1920s), opposite Glencote (above). Judging by the lack of trees, this photograph is probably from the 1960s.


The Plucknett, photographed in 2009. Originally built as a private residence, it was recorded as Preston House on early maps. Being turned into a hotel during the mid 20th century, the Plucknett closed in 2015 and is now a vet's practice.


This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

Jubilee Cottages, opposite the 'Jubilee Tree junction' with Watercombe Lane, photographed in 1931. The cottages were demolished in 1938.


Courtesy of Carol Parmiter

The Preston Plucknett Post Office, probably photographed in the 1950s.

Carol said "I have been asking my mother, who is now 90 years old, about the Post Office. Apparently, my great-grandmother Mrs Elizabeth Sloggett lived in the house connected to the Post Office and ran the PO for a while [probably in the 1920s]. Her husband Edwin Sloggett worked in the bacon factory, which was located nearby (possibly behind the PO). When Elizabeth became ill, her daughter Olive (my grandmother) took over the running of the PO. My mother is sure they only rented the house, and thinks it was owned by a Mr Haynes [this would probably be Hedley Haynes, or his son Arthur, owners of the bacon factory]."  - notes in square brackets are mine.


Courtesy of Carol Parmiter

This photograph probably dates to the 1950s. Carol continues; "it shows the entrance to where Stratford Road was planned to be built and the existing house along Preston Road. The houses in Stratford Road were built in the early 1960’s, as my parents bought a brand new property there in 1965." 


From my collection

The old Bell Inn, photographed circa 1920. At far right are seen two thatched cottages; the first was at one time the village post office but was later the home of the Beale family. The other cottage was occupied by the Saunders family.  Both the Bell Inn and the cottages were demolished for road widening - the Bell Inn was rebuilt, the cottages were not.


From my collection

A postcard of Preston Great Farm (erroneously called 'Abbey Farm'), produced around 1907 and used by Aplin & Barrett as an advertisement for their St Ivel range.


Looking west along Preston Road during the 1960s. The thatched cottages were soon demolished. The large house behind the cottages was Sutherland House, home to Yeovil poet and author Walter Raymond from around 1892 to 1905.


The thatched cottages of the previous photograph (Nos 214 and 216 Preston Road).


This photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

No 253 Preston Road, photographed around 1965 and demolished shortly thereafter.


From my collection  -  This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

The tower of St James church, Preston & Brympton Elementary School (opened 1875) and roadside cottages in an unused postcard, probably dating to about 1920, published by Whitby of Yeovil. The cottages were demolished for road widening.


This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

Looking east along Preston Road from the western end of Preston Plucknett during the 1920s.