Gloving in the area : A brief history


Tanyard House : West Lambrook – is one piece of evidence left in our surroundings indicating an historic connection with the production of leather. The building has evolved over time from what was probably a yeoman’s open-hall house built in the late 15th century. At that time the hall, the main room of the house, had a hearth which occupied a central position on the floor and smoke rose into the roof space.
Tanyard House roof space, with smoke-blackened truss & rafters, with one remaining wind-brace at left side – evidence of an original open-hall.
At the time of the Tithe Apportionment c.1840 the house is recorded as being on plot 1201 and described as Dwelling House, Outbuildings and Garden, owned and occupied by Benjamin, Alfred, Rebecca and Asenath Lye. Plot 1202 is described as a Tanyard.
In the census of 1841 Alfred is recorded as being a tanner aged 35. Also at the house were Rebecca 40, John 40, Darcas (sic) 19, Sarah 12, George 40 a butcher, Martha 35 and George 11.

By 1851 the family fortunes had changed. Alfred, now 43, is a farmer of 30 acres employing 1 labourer; Rebecca, his sister, is 45 and acts as housekeeper. Also living there are his niece Elizabeth Hodges 23, a dressmaker, and his elder brother John, 56, a farmer, working 10 acres and employing one labourer.
Nearby in fields 1342 to 1348 are fields known as “Weaver land” – denoting an historic reference to using the fleeces from sheep which were kept extensively in the West Lambrook area. Sheep provided the skins for leather – the Tanyard provided the process for their production. Sheepskin is relatively thin, soft, smooth and pliable, ideal for gloves.

The Meaning of Gloves

Some Gloving artefacts and machines.


The Reed Family outside of Riverview, Kingsbury Episcopi. Mary Jane Reed (front row, third from the right) began a gloving enterprise in around 1910. Her youngest daughter Jessica Millicent (centre) continued the business and went on to establish J.M Reed & Co.Ltd.

Photographs : The Chorley- Reed Archive

Film : Gloving Artefacts – Community Heritage Access Centre, Yeovil