yeovil people

Phillis Coles

'Farmeress' of Stone Farm

 

Most of Stone Farm, certainly that part lying either side of Stone Lane and north of Mudford Road (see map below), actually lay in a detached part of the parish of Preston Plucknett - which is why it appears in the Preston census returns and so on, rather than those of Yeovil.

The early owners or occupiers of Stone Farm remain something of a mystery - in 1800 James Harris of Stone Farm offered a reward for the return of his dark bay mare colt 'stolen or strayed'. In 1810 the farm was owned by a Mr Pester and the advertisement below, when he sold his stock, shows that the farm was a mix of dairy and sheep (although a glance at the field names of the farm show that a large acreage was orchards). On 9 March 1818 a notice of auction was placed in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal for the 'live and dead stock' of Mr Spear "who is about to quit the Farm." From notices of auction of the sale of standing timber on the farm in 1838 it would appear that the owner of the Stone Farm at this time was Mr Newman - almost certainly the Yeovil solicitor Edwin Newman who is known to have had extensive land holdings in Yeovil at the time.

Phillis Cary was born at East Pennard, Somerset, in 1799 the fourth of the ten children of William Cary, Gentleman (1757-1840) and Phillis née Vincent (1769-1831). On 16 December 1821, at East Pennard, Phillis married Stephen Coles (1790-1827). Stephen had already been married to Sarah née Welsh (1794-1819) and they had four children all aged under four when Sarah died, most likely in childbirth with twins Stephen and William in 1819.

Stephen and Phillis moved to Stone Farm where their first child Phillis Cary (1824-1915) was born. Three sons were to follow, all born at the farm; William Cary (1825-1882), Edmund (1827-1885) and Stephen Henry (1828-1895). Sadly Stephen Jnr, known later as Henry, was born posthumously since his father Stephen died in the summer of 1827 at Stone Farm and was buried in Evercreech, his birthplace, on 29 July 1827.

Phillis took on the running of Stone Farm, which was owned by Henry Goodford Esq. of Chilton Cantello at the time. As well as her own children she also raised Stephen's children by his first marriage. In 1836 Stephen's daughter Jane married John Gear of Combe Down, near Bath. In the 1841 census Phillis was listed at Stone Farm with John, her husband's son from his first marriage, as well as her own three children; Phillis, William and Henry (Edmund was elsewhere). Phillis gave her occupation as 'Farmeress' and was possibly a bit evasive about her age - she was listed as being 35 but, even allowing for the rounding up in blocks of five years in this census, it wasn't even close to her real age of 41 or 42.

During the 1840s Tithe Maps were drawn up showing all lands in the parishes, field by field. The Tithe Apportionments were documents drawn up to show who owned which parcel of land and who occupied it. Phillis appeared as the occupier of extensive lands in the parishes of both Preston Plucknett and Yeovil as tabulated below and shown on the map below. The Yeovil Tithe Map was drawn in 1842 and the Yeovil Tithe Apportionment was completed in 1846 while the Preston Plucknett Tithe Map was drawn in 1849 and the associated Tithe Apportionment was completed in 1848. At this time all the parcels occupied by Phillis Coles as tenant were owned by Henry Goodford of Chilton Cantello.

In 1847, at the Yeovil Agricultural Society's annual show, Phillis won a prize for two pigs and William won £1 first prize for exhibiting the 'Best Breeding Sow'. In the Society's 1850 show, held in the Sheep Fair, Edmund won first prize for "the best pair of stock heifers in calf, bred by the claimant, not exceeding three years old" and was presented with a piece of silver plate valued at three guineas and presented by Henry Goodford. Clearly both William and Edmund were running Stone Farm with their mother. At the 1860 show Phillis won a prize for a cheese weighing 105lb (47.6kg). In 1864 Edmund won second prize for the best boar.

In the next census of 1851 Phillis was listed with her four children, her brother William Cary, her daughter-in-law Jane Geare (a farmer's wife) and baby grandson John Geare, 6-year old Ann Geare (listed as a visitor) and two servants. Phillis listed her occupation as 'Farmer (280 acres employing 8 labourers)'.

The 1861 census found Phillis listed as a 61-year old widow with the occupation given as 'Farmer'. 38-year old daughter Phillis was still unmarried and sons William (married but no sign of his wife) and Edmund (unmarried) both gave their occupations as 'Assisting Parent'. Phillis' brother William was listed as a Visitor and gave his occupation as Gentleman.

In the 1871 census Phillis gave her occupation as 'Farmer - 145 acres Preston, 189 acres Yeovil [total] 334 acres. Principally dairy'. Living with her was William (now aged 46 and still married although no signs of a wife), Edmund (now aged 44 and still unmarried) and Phillis' 13-year old granddaughter, also called Phillis.

On 14 April 1877 Phillis Coles died at Stone Farm, aged 78. Her will was proved in the October and her effects estimated as 'Under £3,000' (around £2.3 million at 2017's value). Following her death Stone Farm was run by William and Edmund and in the 1881 census 52-year old Edmund was listed as the head of the household and gave his occupation as Farmer while 57-year old William was listed as a 'Retired Farmer'. Living with them was their niece Phillis, who worked as their housekeeper, together with a general domestic servant.

In a lease for one year dated 1878 The Rev. Charles Old Goodford of Chilton Cantelo, Provost of Eton College,  leased to Edmund Coles of Preston Plucknett, farmer, "Farm and lands situated in Yeovil and Preston Plucknett known as Stone Farm, currently occupied by Edmund Coles" at an annual rent of £860 (around £78,000 at 2017's value).

William Coles died at Chilton Cantello in 1882 aged 57 and Edmund died at Stone Farm in 1885. He was aged 58.

map

 

This map, based on the Yeovil Tithe Map of 1842 and the Preston Plucknett Tithe Map of 1849, shows in yellow the parcels of land farmed by Phillis Coles that were technically in the Parish of Preston Plucknett and in pink are the parcels she farmed that were technically in the Parish of Yeovil.

 

Land Farmed by phillis coles

 

The first list below are the parcels farmed by Phillis in the detached part of the parish of Preston Plucknett and are derived from the Preston Plucknett Tithe Apportionment of 1848. The second list are those parcels she farmed in the parish of Yeovil and are derived from the Yeovil Tithe Apportionment of 1846.

Owner Occupier Parcel Parcel Name
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 153 Higher Broadmead
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 154 Lower Broadmead
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 155 Lower Five Acres
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 156 Lower Ground
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 157 Furze Leaze
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 158 Home Mead & Plot
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 159 Dairy House Plot
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 160 Pit Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 161 Orchard Close
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 162 Long Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 163 Great Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 164 Square Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 165 Eight Acres  
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 166 Middle Ground
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 167 Higher Ground
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 168 Hanging Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 169 Hartwells Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 170 Cottage & Garden
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 171 Hetts Orchard
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 172 Plantation
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 174 Plantation
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 175 Home Close
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 176 Farm House, Offices & Garden
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 177 Garden Field
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 178 Hetts Mead
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 179 Daniells Mead
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 180 Waste Plot
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 181 Bishops Ground
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 182 Hundredstone

 

Owner Occupier Parcel Parcel Name
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 936 Collins Ground
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 937 Loydes
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 940 East Swincombe
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 944 Spitt Croft
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 945 Long Close
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 948 West Swincombe
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1025 Hangerlawn
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1026 Holloways
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1027 Gold Spitt
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1039 Cottage & Garden
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1041 Beacon
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1042 Collins  
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1043 In Old Nursery
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1044 Barn Close
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1045 Furzehedge
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1046 Cottage & Garden
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1047 In Green Cross
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1048 Plot
Goodford, Henry Coles, Phillis 1049 Bullslough

 

Gallery

 

Reward offered by James Harris of Stone Farm for the return of his dark bay mare colt as placed in the 3 March 1800 edition of the Sherborne Mercury.

 

A notice placed in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal's edition of 5 October 1812 shows that the farm was a mix of dairy and sheep.

 

A notice placed in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal's edition of 9 March 1918 shows that in addition to the mix of dairy and sheep (guaranteed sound and free from goggles), there were several horses, pigs and a goat.... and 40 hundredweight (over 2,030 kg) of household cheese!

 

Stone Farm seen from Stone Lane (and 'borrowed' from Google Earth).

 

.... and finally

 

From the 14 August 1874 edition of the Western Gazette.