Lancaster House & Somerton Brewery

On the site of the Brunel Shopping Precinct was once the Somerton Brewery, which was called Ord, Battiscombe and Elwes. Mr. Ord established this at around 1850, and it thrived, bringing trade, money and work to the town.

The drays were drawn by large horses which became a regular scene in the high street. Alas the brewery began to struggle in the early years of the 20th century. This was mainly due to the introduction of mechanised vehicles and machinery, which meant they could transport their beer to locations further away, but also meant the competition could. Other breweries began using better technology and transport and so they could deliver over longer distances quicker and at a cheaper price.

Tractor and dray at brewery entrance in about 1920

The brewery was sold to Messrs. Bruttons of Yeovil and the site used for storage, before being developed as a shopping centre.

If you go into the car park, on the right, the first house you come to is Lancaster House.

This is named after the Lancaster bomber, because one of two brothers who used to live in a cottage on the site was a Lancaster pilot in World War II. Sadly, both brothers died in the war. Sgt H.A.M. Cox served in the RAF and was killed in 1942 while in a Lancaster and his brother Private Jim Cox was killed in Caen in 1944. It is noteworthy that the area in front of the library is known as Cox’s Yard.

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