Extract from Pigot's 1842/44 Directory
Yeovil is a market town and parish in the hundred of Stone, 122 miles w. by s. from London, 42 s. from Bristol, 38 s.from Bath and 22 e. by s. from Taunton (the nearest railway station); situated in a delightful part of the country, and sheltered from the north by a range of high hills finely cultivated.It derives its name from the River Yeo or Ivel which rising from seven springs, called the 'seven sisters', near Sherborne, runs here under a stone bridge of three arches dividing the counties of Somerset and Dorset. Yeovil was formerly famed for its woollen manufacture, which has given place to that of gloves, principally of the finer sort, for ladies, which branch is carried on very extensively. The town is governed by a portrieve and eleven burgesses; the other office bearers are a mace-bearer, two constables for the town, and two constables for the parish, which is a distinct jurisdiction.The magistrates for the division meet on the first Wednesday monthly; and William Phelps Esq. the lord of the manor holds a court leet annually.
The parish church of St John the Baptist (situated near the centre of town) is a fine old cruciform structure, in the ancient style of English architecture, with a tower at the west end; and the interior is ornamented with an elegant altar-piece.The benefice is a vicarage in the presentation of the lord of the manor; the Rev. Robert Phelps is the present incumbent. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independants, the Society of Friends, Weslyan Methodists and Unitarians. The charities consist of an endowed school,almshouses for six poor men and a like number of women and some annual benefactions to the poor. From the dairies in the neighbourhood is produced butter in immense quantities, a great weight of which is sent to the metropolis under the name of Dorset butter. The market which is held on Friday, is a very large one for corn, cattle, pigs, bacon, butter, flax and hemp; fairs, June 28th and November 17th, for horses, attle, pedlery etc. The parish contained in 1831 5,921 inhabitants and at the last census (1841) 6,925.
The following photographs are reproduced with the permission of the Francis Frith Collection at www.francisfrith.co.uk