Brewery

Somerton Brewery in West Street is now a shopping precinct.

It is recorded in the Tithe Apportionment Act of 1841 that Thomas Templeman owned a house, garden and BREWERY, a total of just over one acre, paying 3 shillings in tithe. The house was on West Street, just west of the Methodist Church, with the Brewery next door and the pasture behind extending to Behind Berry. The properties are No 105 and No 107 on the Tithe Map:

It is recorded elsewhere that The Brewery in West Street was established by a Mr. Kerrison before 1840, and that it later became Ord, Battiscombe and Elwes - Somerton Brewery. Mr Ord died in September 1889. He had been very concerned about sanitation in the town and in 1870 gave way-leave for the first main sewer through the town to pass through the northern end of the brewery site.

In 1889 Philip Elwes, the youngest of the directors of the Brewery, became brother-in-law of Col Pinney of Somerton Erleigh, and he lived at Monteclefe House with his wife and children. In 1920 Philip Elwes inherited the Elwes family estate in North Devon and so left the town. Brewing at the Somerton Brewery ceased almost at once. The horses, two teams of six, were kept in stables behind the Unicorn Hotel, and they were a familiar sight as they pulled drays of beer to pubs up to 40 miles away. The water which made Somerton beer famous came from the deep well on the premises, the head of which can still be seen. Just across the yard, there is a glass-roofed building over the steps down to the cellar which housed the boiler, under the brick arch visible in the shop wall.

At one time thirty people were employed and they worked from 6.0 am. to 6.0 p.m. The Brewery hooter sounded at 6.0 a.m., 1.0 p.m., 4.0 p.m. and 6.0 p.m., and, as it was audible for miles around, it was used by many folk as a time signal, to put their clocks right. As well as producing beer, both in barrels and bottled, the Brewery produced spirits and mineral waters, and there was a very special and locally famous mixture known as “Garratt’s Mixture” which was supposed to cure anything from “Pneumonia to In-growing Toenails” - its ingredients were never divulged, although they were certainly potent.