Of Stone Farm, a detached part of Preston Plucknett
Furze Leaze was a small field at the northern end of Stone Farm to the east side of Stone Lane. Furze is a corruption of the Middle English firse, itself a corruption of the Old English fyrs, meaning gorse. Leaze means pasturage or meadow-land, from a root of Iet indicating that this is land that has been let alone.
This area is actually a detached part of the parish of Preston Plucknett, known as Preston in Stone, and the Preston Plucknett Tithe Map of 1849 shows Furze Leaze as Parcel 157. It was bounded on the west by Lower Ground (Parcel 156), on the south by Square Orchard (Parcel 164), on the west by Home Mead (Parcel 158) and a small field marked on the Tithe Map as Parcel 159 but noted in the Tithe Apportionment to be a dairy house, outhouses and garden and to the north by a small brook marking the parish boundary, the other side of which are fields in the parish of Mudford.
The Preston Plucknett Tithe Apportionment of 1848 notes that Furze Leaze was in the ownership of Henry Goodford Esq. of Chilton Cantello and occupied by Mrs Phillis Coles, as indeed was the whole of Stone Farm at this time. The Tithe Apportionment reckoned the area of Furze Leaze as 3a 2r 21p.
Other known owners / occupiers had been James Harris (1800), Mr Pester (1810), Mr Spear (1818), Stephen Coles (c1821-1827). Phillis Coles, in her later years assisted by her sons, ran Stone Farm after the death of her husband Stephen until her own death in 1877. Her son Edmund ran the farm after her death until his death in 1885. By 1886 a Mr Russell was farming Stone Farm but his widow sold up and retired in February 1900. In 1901 the tenant farmer was John Sawtell.
At some time before 1946 Furze Leaze, Home Mead and Plot were merged to form a large square field as shown in the 1946 aerial photograph below. In more recent times this field was itself merged with Pit Orchard (Parcel 160), Orchard Close (Parcel 161), Long Orchard (Parcel 162), Square Orchard (Parcel 164) and Great Orchard (Parcel 163) to form the very large present-day field shown in the recent aerial photograph below.
maps and aerial photographs
The Stone area reproduced from the 1849 Tithe Map. Furze Leaze is top, right of centre.
The 1946 aerial photograph showing at centre the field created by merging Furze Leaze, Home Mead and Plot. The dark wavy band running across the top third of the photograph is a tree and bush-lined brook that forms the parish boundary between Preston in Stone to the south and Mudford to the north.
The modern aerial view showing the large field at top right formed by the merging of Furze Leaze, Home Mead, Plot, Pit Orchard, Orchard Close, Long Orchard, Square Orchard and Great Orchard. At left the boundary hedge between Lower Five Acres and Lower Ground has been removed very recently to form a similarly large field.
The 1849 Tithe Map superimposed over the current Google Earth image. Although the field boundaries do not align precisely, remember that the 1849 survey was undertaken by hand using primitive surveying equipment. The location of the former Furze Leaze is at top centre.
Between the hedge and the tree line, both running the full width of this photograph, is the large modern field comprising the former Furze Leaze, Home Mead, Plot, Pit Orchard, Orchard Close, Long Orchard, Square Orchard and Great Orchard. Photographed in 2015.