This article came from the Chronicle published April 1985.  Page 28

 

THE QUEDAM

Author: L.C. Hayward

 

The opening of Yeovil’s new shopping centre has aroused interest in its name, which in fact preserves the medieval form Vicarage Street. The records of Woborn’s Almshouse include a number of leases, usually in Latin up to the end of the 16th century, which mention “in quodam vico vocato Quedam. Strete” (i.e. in a certain street called Quedam Street. Later, this becomes “in quedam streete”, and in the 17th century, “Quidham (or Quedam) Street now called Vicarage Street”, a description still used as late as 1784. The changed of name resulted from the building of a vicarage house there early in the 15th century, on a site just below Frederick Place. Martin Strong, Vicar of Yeovil 1690 -1721, modernised it at considerable expense, but it was demolished in the mid 19th century. The name will be preserved in Vicarage Walk down the centre of the new shopping precinct.

The meaning of the name Quedam is obscure. The late John Goodchild told the present writer that Prebendary Bates-Harbin of Newton Surmaville and a distinguished scholar and antiquary, suggested that it arose from a misinterpretation of a phrase commonly used in early leases “in quedam via”, (i.e. in a certain street) without further description: a later clerk assumed that it was the actual street name. The spelling varies, and old Yeovilians may remember Quidham Place as the name of an alley adjoining the former Brethern Meeting House in Vicarage Street.

Perhaps a more tenuous but plausable explanation is that Quedam is derived from a dialect corruption of “Quadrarium” which was used to describe a quarry in medieval Latin of the 12th and 13th centuries. Quadrarium Strete” might then have meant “The road to the quarry”, which could in turn refer to the local source of stone used in the building of St. John’s Church.- Ed.


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