Larkhill Farm

Larkhill Farm

Carved out of the great West Field of Kingston Manor

 

Larkhill Farm was primarily a dairy farm located to the east of Larkhill Lane (today's Larkhill Road) and either side of the field access track known as Lower Larkhill Lane that would eventually become Stiby Road. The farmhouse and farm buildings were located roughly where the new Perrythorne Park has been built.

Of course, over the years various fields were sold off (for instance Dampier's Mead in 1899 - the only parcel to be sold in an attempt to sell off the whole farm) and new fields acquired. The darker green fields concentrated around the farmhouse and shown on the1920 map below are probably typical of the farm through much of its history. Once a large farm approaching 130 acres, its final demise was in 1920 by which time so much land had been sold off that only 22 acres remained.

From various sales as reported in local newspapers, a dairy herd was kept as well as a substantial number of pigs, horses and chickens. Cider was made on the farm and, as well as being used as part-payment for farm workers, was also advertised for sale. 

The following list of owners and tenants of Larkhill Farm over the years has been put together from various sources chiefly items in local newspapers -

  • 1846 - William Jones Prowse (owner) - James Pope (b1791) of Yeovil Marsh (tenant)
               from 1846 Tithe Apportionment
  • 1859 - William Jones Prowse (owner) - William Symes of Yeovil Marsh, Yeoman from a 4-year lease. At this time Larkhill Farm was 128a 3r 14p

  • 1864 - William Symes (b1831) left in October 1864, at Marsh Farm in 1871

  • 1865 to 1892 - Nathaniel Bartlett (1807-1892)

  • 1893 - Herbert Bartlett (b1857, son of Nathaniel)

  • 1899 - Charles Stacey Perry (b1841)

  • 1902 - Robert Arthur Perry (b1880) - left in Jan 1906

  • 1909 - Percy Jacob Grist (b1881) - left in March 1911

  • 1911 - B Saunders - moved to Sussex in 1918

  • 1918 - Robert Hawkins - left in 1920

  • Larkhill Farm was sold in 1920

 

A Counterpart of Lease dated 25 March 1859 between Captain William J Prowse of Enham House, Southampton, Ret’d Capt RN and William Symes of Yeovil Marsh, Yeoman, tabulated the fields comprising Larkhill Farm in the Parishes of Yeovil and Preston at that time.

In 1951 the Corporation earmarked Larkhill Farm for use as an emergency mortuary in case of nuclear war, etc. However the farmhouse was demolished by 1953 and the changing rooms at Mudford Road Playing Fields were earmarked in its stead.

As will be seen from the modern aerial photograph with the outline of the farm superimposed, the land of the former Larkhill Farm is now completely covered with housing with the single exception of the green space around Westfield Academy.

 

Location map & aerial photographs


An extract from the 1928 Ordnance Survey showing the location of Larkhill Farm (at centre) relative to Larkhill Lane running from top left to bottom centre, Ilchester Road at top right and Preston Road at bottom right. Lower Larkhill Lane, seen at centre right, would be extended to join with Larkhill Road in the 1940s, becoming Stiby Road.

 

An aerial photograph of 1941 showing Larkhill Lane running from its junction with Preston Road at top right, down past Larkhill Farm at centre left. At centre, the circular object is Yeovil's Barrage Balloon Site No 19, "Larkhill Lane".

 

This 1946 aerial photograph clearly shows the development of the Larkhill Road 'prefabs' left of centre. Much of this section of Larkhill Road would be built in 1946 by Italian prisoners of war. Running across the bottom of the photograph is Preston Road and from the junction with Larkhill Road and running to the bottom right corner is Preston Grove. Larkhill Farm is at centre top.

 

Fields of larkhill Farm


The fields shaded darker green are the fields that comprised Larkhill Farm in 1846 (owned by William George Prowse with James Pope as tenant) and the lighter green fields are those added to the farm by its sale in 1920. The field shaded yellow was the only field of Larkhill Farm to be sold in the largely unsuccessful sale of the farm in 1899.

 

Key to fields in the map

In 1846 fields 1 to 15 were owned by William George Prowse with James Pope as tenant, other field owners / occupiers at this time as noted below.

  1. Parcel 68 (Preston Plucknett) - Fields End
  2. Parcel 73 (Preston Plucknett) - Barnes
  3. Parcels 1336 / 1337 - In Great Ashley
  4. Parcel 1351 - Lockyer's Mead
  5. Parcel 1353 - Lower Grubhams
  6. Parcel 1354 - Higher Grubhams
  7. Parcel 1415 - Higher Larkhill
  8. Parcel 1413 - Higher Little Larkhill
  9. Parcel 1417 - Higher Perrythorne
  10. Parcel 1418 - Great Larkhill
  11. Parcel 1446 - Cribhouse Perrythorne
  12. Parcel 1445 - In Higher Perrythorne
  13. Parcel 1444 - Lower Little Larkhill
  14. Parcel 1449 - Lower Perrythorne


  15. Parcel 1097 - Nobles Nap - owned and occupied by William George Prowse in 1846
  16. Parcel 1326 - owner / occupier unknown
  17. Parcel 1332 - Great Ashley - John Ryall Mayo owner, Joseph Brooks tenant
  18. Parcel 1333 - owner / occupier unknown
  19. Parcel 1338 - Little Ashley - John Ryall Mayo owner, Joseph Brooks tenant
  20. Parcel 1339 - owner / occupier unknown
  21. Parcel 1338 - owner / occupier unknown
  22. Parcel 1352 - Cogan's Mead - owner / occupier unknown
  23. Parcel 1414 - French Grass Ground - John Winter owner, Joseph Brooks tenant
  24. Parcel 1443 - Lower Larkhill Lane - John Winter owner, Joseph Brooks tenant
  25. Parcel 1350 - Dampier's Mead - originally part of Larkhill Farm but the only parcel sold off
                           in 1899 (see below) to Mr F Palmer.
  26. Parcel 1444 - Drang Ground - owned by William George Prowse in 1846 with James
                          Pope as tenant but sold by 1920

When Captain Prowse leased the farm to William Symes in 1859, the additional parcels of land had been incorporated into the farm, giving it a total area of 128a 3r 14p

  1. Parcel 1408 – Oxen Furlong (p) 8a 1r 5p
  2. Parcel 1442 – Drang Ground (m) 121a [sic] 0r 20p
  3. Parcel 1453 – Shores Close Pasture (p) 6a 2r 5p

 

The outline of Larkhill Farm, as at the time of the 1920 sale, superimposed over the 1946 aerial photograph.

 

The outline of Larkhill Farm, as at the time of the 1920 sale, superimposed over the modern aerial photograph.

 

By the time of the 1931 sale of Larkhill Farm the size of the farm had been much reduced by over 100 acres, to just over 22 acres - Lots 20 and 21 shown here..

 

gallery

 

A notice following an attempted sale of Larkhill Farm from the 3 November 1899 edition of the Western Gazette. The parcel that sold was Dampier's Mead (Parcel 1350).

 

The notice of sale of livestock of Larkhill Farm in the 2 February 1906 edition of the Western Gazette. This sale followed the departure of Robert Arthur Perry in January 1906 and gives an excellent account of the livestock of the farm at this time.

 

Notice of the sale of the Larkhill Farm dairy herd in the 24 September edition of the Western Gazette.

 

The notice of sale of the Larkhill Farm saddleback pigs - many of which had some notoriety - in the 22 October edition of the Western Gazette.

 

Wessex Saddleback pigs.

 

Notice of the sale of the land of Larkhill Farm in the 3 December 1920 edition of the Western Gazette.