Historic West Country practices to merge

Two West Country practices which both date back to the mid-eighteenth century are to merge.

Battens, which is the larger of the two firms, will join forces with Poole & Co on 1 January. The new 26-partner-strong operation will be called Battens.

The merged practice will work out of two offices in Yeovil and Crewkerne under the existing managing partner, Graham Hughes. Poole & Co's senior partner, Patrick Haran, will become a member of the partnership board.

Poole & Co, which deals mainly in private client work, is joining up with an unusual partner. Most of Battens' partners make up the majority of the shareholders in Dryfield Trust, an authorised lending institution under the terms of the Banking Act. The trust has been in existence for more than 10 years and lends to a variety of private individuals and companies.

Andy Marshall, the firm's director of finance, says Battens' other claim to fame was its own in-house accountant at a senior level – former Robson Rhodes partner Mervyn Ellis – who heads the management and tax division.