Thomas Starkey - Brewer of North Petherton 1840 – 1912

George Knight - Thomas Ford


Thomas Starkey snr was born 1809 to Thomas and Elizabeth Starkey (nee Hobbs) in Spaxton and established the North Petherton Brewery in the 1830’s.

By the time he was 16 years old Thomas Jnr was working at the brewery and when he was 31 his father sold the business to him.

Thomas Starkey jnr was born in 1839 to Thomas and Emma Starkey in Spaxton before moving to the Verriers in North Petherton, Emma died in 1858 age 56 and was buried in Spaxton.

After the death of Emma, Thomas is married to Martha Warner on 18 December 1861 who also a widow they have one child Elizabeth

Both Thomas Starkey snr and Thomas jnr lived at North Petherton for a while until Thomas Starkey snr moved to Heatherton Park, Bradford-on-tone around 1892 and where he established a dairy farm.

Thomas Starkey jnr married Elizabeth Hubert Wharton in 1868 and had two children Edith Mable and Constance Elizabeth


Upon acquiring the Town Brewery in Taunton Thomas Starkey stated “Parliament has seen fit to liberate the brewing trade from many restrictions formerly imposed, but I have not found it necessary or profitable to produce ales from any other materials than the old fashioned malt and hops”. He married for the second time in 1908. He retired as Chairman of the Starkey, Knight and Ford board in 1910, only 18 months before his death in 1912.

Will of Thomas Starkey 1809 – 1876

6 February 1877
The will of Thomas Starkey late of North Petherton who died 19 December 1876 at North Petherton was proved at Taunton by Martha Starkey widow the Relict and Thomas Starkey Maltster and Brewer the son both of North Petherton.  Effects under £9,000

Death of Mr Thomas Starkey – Well known Somerset brewer.

The death occurred on Monday mooring of Mr Thomas Starkey the principal of the firm of Messrs Starkey, Knight and Ford brewers whose headquarters are at Bridgwater and who have licensed houses in various parts of Somerset and Devon.

Mr Starkey who was 72 years of age was born at North Petherton where took over the successful brewery from his father.

In 1882 he purchased the lease goodwill etc of the old Taunton brewery and malting business for many years conducted by Messrs Davey and afterwards by Mr Tebbitt.  The wine and spirit business at North Petherton and Bridgwater was at that time of a highly prosperous character.

Mr E E Oram accepted the management of the Taunton business in this year. Some years after Mr Knight’s brewery at Bridgwater and later Messrs Ford’s at Tiverton were amalgamated with Mr Starkey’s. Until 18 months ago Mr Starkey was chairman of directors of Messrs Starkey, Knight and Ford Ltd.

Mr Starkey some 20 years ago bought Heatherton Park in Bradford near Taunton and eventually went to this charming residence ( formerly home to the late Colonel A.W. Adair) to live. Here he established a dairy farm and took a keen interest in it. Some dozen years or so ago he went to reside at Ilfracombe and only about four years ago he was married for the second time. As a business man he was shrewd and he was one of the keenest financiers in the West. He took a little part in public affairs, yet on the establishment of the County Council in 1891 he stood for North Petherton and was elected after a contest. Later he put up for the North Ward of Bridgwater his opponent being the late Mr George B. Sully who defeated him. He was elected a member of the Taunton Market Trust in 1892, but owing to non-attendance on his removal from taunt his place had to be filled.

Mr Starkey was a trustee for many years of the Taunton and west Somerset Licensed Victuallers and Beer sellers Association. The deceased leaves two daughters – Mrs Winter wife of Major Winter of Ilfracombe and Mrs De Peyer of Newent Court at Gloucestershire.     

Will of Thomas Starkey 1840 - 1912

Thomas of Wildercombe House in Ilfracombe, Devonshire a gentleman who died 19 March 1912, probate to Everard Charles de Peyer gentleman and Frederic John winter retired major, Edith Mabel de Peyer (wife of Everard) and Constance Elizabeth Winter (wife of Frederic ) effects £45,598 16s. 6d.

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