Of Stone Farm, a detached part of Preston Plucknett
Higher Ground was a large (indeed the largest) field in the centre of Stone Farm.
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 Higher Ground as Parcel 167. It was bounded on the north by Middle Ground (Parcel 166) and Eight Acres (Parcel 165), to the east by Hanging Orchard (Parcel 168), to the south by Hartwells Orchard (Parcel 169) and Hetts Orchard (Parcel 171) and to the west by Plantation (1 - Plot 172).
The Preston Plucknett Tithe Apportionment of 1848 notes that Higher Ground 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 Higher Ground to be 15a 1r 35p.
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 the aerial photograph of 1946, shown below, Higher Ground appeared to be pasture.
Today Middle Ground has been combined with Higher Ground and Eight Acres to form a single large arable unit although remnants of the boundary hedge between Eight Acres and Middle Ground still remain as seen in the photograph below.
maps and aerial photographs
The Stone area reproduced from the 1849 Tithe Map. Middle Ground is towards the top, left of centre.
The 1946 aerial photograph showing Higher Ground at centre with a north-south path worn down its centre. Its northwestern quadrant appears to have been turned into a tree nursery.
The modern aerial view showing the large field formed by merging Middle Ground, Eight Acres, Higher Ground and Hetts Orchard. Remnants of the boundary hedge between Middle Ground and Eight Acres are visible, continuing as remnants of a hedgerow that until recently split Higher Ground in two. To the north of the farmhouse, the ghost of the northern boundary of the former Hetts Orchard is just visible as a faded line.
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. Higher Ground is at centre.
This photograph (made from two joined together) looks northeast across the modern large open field comprising the former fields; Hetts Orchard in the immediate foreground, Higher Ground takes up most of the middle of the field while Middle Ground and Eight Acres are at the far left end of the field. Photographed in 2015.