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The William Dampier

Read about the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner.

97 Middle Street, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1LN

This is named after the English explorer, buccaneer and naturalist (1652–1715) who was born in East Coker, near Yeovil.

Text about literary links in the area. 


The text reads: An incident in the career of locally-born pirate and map maker William Dampier inspired one of the best-known books in the English language. Dampier was a great navigator but an indifferent commander, disliked by his crew. On one his voyages Alexander Selkirk preferred to be left on an island 400 miles off Chile.

He survived there alone for over four years, before being picked up by Woodes Rogers, Dampier’s partner in a two-ship expedition. Selkirk, on learning that Dampier was with Rogers, almost decided to stay on.

Selkirk’s adventures were published in 1710, and Rogers’ account in A Cruising Voyage Round the World, inspired Daniel Defoe’s The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner.

The novelist Thomas Hardy lived in Peter Street in 1876. He used Yeovil as a base for exploring the countryside. In his Wessex novels, he refers to the town as Ivel, a variant of the original name of the Yeo river.

A copy of Daniel Defoe's The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner.


An illustration and prints of Thomas Hardy. 


Illustrations of Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe.


External photograph of the building – main entrance.


If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk