yeovil's pubs





THE Skinner's Arms

location unknown


There is just one known reference to the Skinner's Arms which was in 1853 when the landlord Thomas Fooks (not thought to be the glove manufacturer of the same name) was charged with selling beer "during Divine Service" and allowing spirits to be consumed on the premises. As well as total fines of £7 (around £650 at today's value) Fooks lost his license.

The fact that the spirits had to be fetched from the George Inn indicates two things about the Skinner's Arms; firstly that the Skinner's Arms didn't have a license to sell spirits and was therefore a beerhouse. Secondly although its location is unknown it must have been in, or close to, Middle Street.

Because Thomas Fooks lost his license and the the Skinner's Arms is not mentioned again as such, it is most likely that the Skinner's Arms was the un-named beerhouse recorded in the 1861 census directly across Middle Street from the George. At this time it was run by Thomas Haywood who was recorded in the census as a 'tailor and beerhouse keeper'. A photograph of the premises is shown in the Gallery.

Because of its location in the 1861 census this beerhouse (marked 'A' on the map and arrowed in the photograph below) is one of the very few beerhouses whose location can be precisely pinpointed - on the eastern side of the entrance to Dean's Court, off Middle Street, directly opposite the George Hotel and two doors along from the Castle Hotel. At about the same time this operated as a beerhouse Dean's Court, which was essentially slum housing for the very poor, became notorious for the repeated outbreaks of typhoid fever because all eight properties shared a common privy so close to the well supplying drinking water for the Court that the privy actually drained into the well. Not nice.



A report from the 10 May 1853 edition of the Western Flying Post describing the offence.


This rare sepia-toned photograph of about 1875 looks down Middle Street and shows the Castle Inn at extreme left with Thomas Haywood's beerhouse arrowed. The original narrow entrance to Union Street is seen right of centre.




Thomas Fooks (see above) listed as Skinner's Arms


Thomas Haywood 'tailor & beerhouse keeper' (1861 census) beerhouse not named