28 – Sealy’s (or Sealey’s) Row

Mr & Mrs J Carlton and family outside 31 Sealy’s Row in the late 1890s.
Image (ref. DD/RLM/48/53) courtesy of South West Heritage Trust and is available from the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton.

This terrace of cottages 31 -34 High Street used to be seven but are now five in number, the two cottages at the rear of the Laurels being part of this terrace. In 1814 the Parish took a lease of Sealy’s Row and a seventh cottage was added in 1823.  These were run as Poor Houses but were sold in 1839 to George Neville Grenville.  No 31 (Sealy’s Row) is the oldest of the cottages and is believed to be mid C16th. In the late C16th a wing was added at the rear which was subsequently used as a Poor house.  In 1906 extensive alterations were done to the terrace by Robert Neville Grenville and little has changed since then. Betsy Cottage at the rear of The Laurels was named after Betsy Birch who was known to have lived there in 1851 and for many years after.  John Sealy built a Meeting House in the grounds of what became The Laurels. His name was still present in the census of 1861.