J. Layzell and Sons was founded in 1895 by Jeremiah Layzell a joiner and wheelwright (pictured during the building of St Peter’s Church Horton 1899) who made carts and wagons for the agricultural industry. In 1941 the firm passed on to Jeremiah Wesley Layzell, who was also a joiner and wheelwright. He was responsible for building many individual, architect designed houses and also for the repair and restoration of old buildings.
Jeremiah Peter Layzell continued the firm’s reputation for quality new build and repairs to old buildings, handing over to his sons in 2005.
Harvey is a Professional Builder who has specialised in Traditional Buildings for over 30 years. He was a William Morris Craft Fellow in 1994 and is an active member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
(Director - Accounts)
Edward graduated from college with a Btec National Diploma in Building Studies in 1986 and is responsible for all our accounts. He is also a member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
We have a dedicated team of banker and fixer masons, bricklayers, carpenters and joiners, painters and decorators.
J Layzell & Sons Ltd. pride ourselves on the training and development opportunities we provide for our employees.
We welcome new applications from all trade backgrounds so please send us your CV as we are always on the lookout for talented and dedicated craftsmen.
We specialise in:
1. The repair and conservation of notable and historic buildings.
2. Sympathetic renovation and extensions to existing listed period properties.
3. Bespoke new build to high specification and finish.
Jeremiah Layzell walked to Horton from Sidbury after falling out with his father, fell in love with a local girl Rosa Emily and they married in 1895. He set up partnership with George Woodland and together they built Horton Church.
During the height of his success, before the first world war, Jeremiah employed 70 men. As well as building work they also constructed all types of waggons, carts, pony traps and gypsy caravans.
There were 2 workshops one of which was converted into Uplands by my Father in 1936. On the first floor in Uplands was the paint shop and the brushes were worked out on the gable wall which eventually built up in layers to almost 3” thick!
During the winter, up until about 1920, a gang of men would come to stay and cut trees into planks in the saw pit, which was down towards the river Ding.
Jeremiah Wesleywho would take over from his father was born 1913. He was one of 10 children.
Two further construction businesses were acquired, one in Honiton and one in Alwliscombe. Harold ran the Honiton branch and Roy ran the Alwliscombe branch.
Jeremiah Wesley cycled to Alwliscombe to stay with his brother Roy during the week where he learnt his trade as a wheelwright.
J. R Layzell is still going today run by his grandsons.
As the depression hit the UK and Jeremiah was forced to scale down to cover his debts. He sold his Honiton business to his sons took out a Bank loan in 1930 and carried on at Horton with his sons Francis and Wesley, working mainly for the farmers on buildings and making / repairing wagons etc.
Funeral directing and undertaking (as all coffins were hand made) was a major part of the business, which Francis took on after the partnership split in 1951.
All the Layzell’s were exempt from the war, Francis & Wesley on farming works with Harold & Roy in rebuilding works in London.
Jeremiah died in 1941.
It is worth noting that during Jeremiah’s time G. Woodlands, J. V. Baker and a Sibley brother all worked for J. Layzell & Sons and went on to form outstanding companies of their own.
Staff included Perce Taylor, George Keitch, Bill Chislett, Bob Connett,
Jeremiah Wesley moved into general building, although repairs were still carried out to wheels and wagons as late as the 1960’s.
There are many properties locally built by this generation for whom hand craftsmanship and labour took twice as long as it does now. All foundations were dug by hand until 1955 when the first digger arrived.
The firm moved from single properties to developing multiple sites; 9 sites at Broadway, 6 sites at Touchstone Chard in 1961.
In 1962 Peter Layzell began work on his own house.
December 26th1962 to March 1963, the UK had one of its coldest winters since 1947 but this time it snowed and was never cleared from the roads. All the men (all local at that time) walked to work and as we could not go on site, all the old sheds were pulled down and replaced with the sheds we see today. The machine shed was revamped and machines in the position we see today with timber store at the far end.
A plumber by trade Peter Layzell was kept busy that winter as farmers would fetch him to repair burst pipes on their farms.
Staff included George Keitch, Dennis Priddle, Michael Martin, Dennis Yarde, Ted Smith.
Further housing developments were undertaken. 6 sites were bought in Shepton Beauchamp in 1965 and an estate of 6 at Tatworth in the 1970’s.
A new partnership was formed with Jeremiah Wesley’s sons Peter, Tim & Michael. Michael left 1970, and Jeremiah Wesley retired in 1980.
In 1981 Tim left to pursue his own decorating business and Peter continued the firm on his own, but with his father’s support.
Staff included George Keitch, Dennis Priddle, Andrew Larcombe, Phil Griffiths
1984 Peter’s two sons joined Peter in the firm.
They continue to design and build in Shepton Beauchamp, Horton, Broadway, South Petherton and Ashford.
J Layzell and Sons became a limited liability partnership in 1995 and Limited Company in 2009.
1990 following work with Architecton for a listed building at West Lambrook, the firm began the repair and conservation work that they are renown for today.
Harvey was awarded a SPAB Fellowship in 1994 travelling all over the Country working with large specialist company’s in the field of restoration.
Notable work includes All Saints Church Langport, Stembridge Tower Mill High Ham, the conversion of the Coach House at Dinnington, repair of Ashill House, a fire damaged house in Combe St Nicholas, Sign of The Angel and House near Church at Lacock, St Thomas Church Thurlbear.
1994 the FMB Certificate of Excellence and National Award for The Priests House.
1994 The Building Conservation Award from “The Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors” for the Priest’s House.
2003 the Conservation award from The Taunton & District Civic society and TDB Council for “ St Margaret’s Leper Hospital” in Taunton.
2014 from the Somerset Building Preservation Trust for Restoration of the Somerset Cricket Museum, the last remaining building of “Taunton Priory”.
2006 the Conservation Commendation from Taunton Deane Borough for “Amberd Granary” Trull.
2007 “The Wood Award” winner of the Conservation and Restoration category for “The Abbey Barn” a Grade 1 at Abbotsbury.
2010 from the Somerset Building Awards for the restoration of The Stapleton Farmhouse near Martock.