Of Stone Farm, a detached part of Preston Plucknett
Hanging Orchard was a long, thin field in the centre and on the eastern boundary of Stone Farm. The term 'hanging' derives from the Old English hangende meaning 'land on a steep slope' and in this case the ground slopes to the the valley bottom cut by the stream that marks the parish boundary with Mudford.
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 Hanging Orchard as Parcel 168. It was bounded on the north by Eight Acres (Parcel 165), to the west by Higher Ground (Parcel 168) and Hartwells Orchard (Parcel 169), to the south by Garden Field (Parcel 177) and to the east by the above-mentioned parish boundary stream.
The Preston Plucknett Tithe Apportionment of 1848 notes that Hanging Orchard 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 Hanging Orchard to be 3a 0r 35p but also noted that it was "now Part of Waindle Wood" and today it remains densely wooded.
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.
As seen in both the aerial photograph of 1946 and the modern aerial photograph, shown below, Hanging Orchard remains densely wooded.
maps and aerial photographs
The Stone area reproduced from the 1849 Tithe Map. Hanging Orchard is at centre right.
The 1946 aerial photograph showing Hanging Orchard as the heavily-wooded north-south strip at centre right.
The modern aerial view showing Stone Farm at centre bottom and Hanging Orchard along the right hand edge.
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. Hanging Orchard is at centre right.
Looking across the fields from Stone Lane, Hanging Orchard is denoted by the strip of trees running across the centre of the photograph. Photographed in 2015.