Yeovil people

elias Lyndall whitby

Glove Manufacturer and Mayor of Yeovil


Elias Lyndall Whitby was born in Middle Street, Yeovil on 17 November 1833, the oldest of the eleven children of glove manufacturer Elias Whitby Jnr (1810-1888) and Hannah née Lyndall (1808-1888). He was baptised at the South Street Baptist chapel in 1833.

In the 1851 census Elias was listed with his parents and nine of his siblings at Green Quarry - although this was actually Ashgrove on the corner of Mudford Road and Sparrow Road. His father gave his occupation as a 'Gloving Master' and both 17-year old Elias Lyndall and his 15-year old brother Joseph were listed as their father's assistants.

On 17 August 1858 Elias Lyndall married Caroline Edwards (b1836) at the South Street Baptist chapel. Caroline was the daughter of pawnbroker and draper of Middle Street James Edwards and his wife Mary Ann. Elias and Caroline were to have seven children; Caroline (1859-1899), Lyndall Elias (1860-1889), Benjamin (b1862), Oliver (b1862), Annis (b1863), William (1865-1934) and Arthur (b1868). All the children were born in Yeovil.

In the 1861 census Elias and Caroline, together with their first two children and two servants were listed living in Peter Street (owned by his grandfather, Elias Whitby Snr). Elias gave his occupation as 'Manufacturer of Leather & Cloth Gloves, Employing 50 men, 28 boys, 21 Women and 25 Girls'. Elias' company was Whitby Brothers - although at the moment I'm not certain which of his brothers was also a partner.

By 1868 the family were living on Hendford Hill in a pair of four-bedroomed semi-detached houses occupied as one dwelling. In 1868 the Hendford Hill properties were put up for sale as two houses (see Gallery) and by 1871 the family were living in Court Ash. From the location in the census - at the junction with Reckleford (today's Market Street) - and later documentation this was Court Ash House. Elias gave his occupation simply as 'Glove Manufacturer' and was living in Court Ash House with Caroline, seven children and two servants; a cook and a nurse.

The 1873 Return of Owners of Land recorded that Elias owned 1a 2r 11p of land (for details on historic land measurement - ie acres, roods and perches - click here) in Yeovil with a gross estimated rental value of £50 per annum (around £30,000 at today's value). Sadly it is not recorded exactly where the land was.

It appears that, after the death of their father in January 1880, Joseph and his older brother Elias took over their father's gloving business, forming the firm of Whitby Brothers. The firm continued trading into the 1940s.

By the time of the 1881 census Elias, Caroline and four of their children (Oliver, Benjamin, Annie and William) were still living in Court Ash. Elias gave his occupation as 'Glove manufacturer employing 88 men, 6 boys, 25 Women and Girls and 400 Women & Girl outworkers.' He also noted that he was an Alderman and Vice Chairman of the School Board. Oliver and Benjamin were both listed as glovers and Annie was a governess.

Elias spent many years in local politics. He was elected to the Borough Council and was elected Mayor of Yeovil in 1878. In 1888 he was appointed as a Borough Magistrate (at which time he was still living at Court Ash House) and he became a Land Tax Commissioner in 1899. He served for many years as a member of the Yeovil United Districts School Board as a member for Yeovil Borough.

Having sold Court Ash House to butcher Richard Taylor, by 1891 Elias and Caroline, together with their son William and two servants were living at Holcote House. In the 1891 census Elias gave his occupation as 'Justice of the Peace & Glove Manufacturer'. William gave his as 'Assistant in Glove Factory'. Holcote House had ceased to be a residence of the Whitby family by 1901 and the residence was let.

I couldn't find the family in the 1901 census but it is thought that Caroline died in 1904. Elias moved to Great Malvern, Worcestershire, and died in a nursing home there on 4 September 1911. His estate was valued at £20,654 17s 6d (in excess of £11.6 million at today's value).


For the Whitby family tree - click here.




The notice of Elias' birth from the register of the South Street Baptist chapel.


Ashgrove, photographed in the 1970s. This was the home of Elias Whitby Jnr and his family in the 1840s although listed as part of Green Quarry.


The notice of the marriage of Elias and Caroline at the South Street Baptist chapel from the Western Flying Post's edition of 24 August 1858.


Peter Street photographed in the 1980s from the Union Street (western) end. Elias Lyndall Whitby lived here in the early 1860s.


The notice of sale of Elias' pair of semi-detached four-bedroomed houses on Hendford Hill, from the 24 July 1868 edition of the Western Gazette.


An aerial view of St John's church taken in 1924. At top left is Court Ash House (now the site of the Odeon cinema building) set within its extensive grounds that reach across the top of the photograph. This was the residence where Elias and his family were listed in the 1871 census.


Holcote House, home of Elias and Caroline in the 1890s. Photographed in 1972.


This portrait of "Mayor Whitby" is, according to the BBC website, attributed to the British School and was painted in 1910.


The distribution of Elias' wealth as reported in the 1 December 1911 edition of the Western Gazette.