Middle elm path
Middle elm path
An ancient field now part of the Recreation Ground
Originally part of the great Medieval Middle Field of Kingston Manor, a sub-field called Pikes covered a large area in the region of Marsh Lane and Combe Street Lane. It was still called Pikes and is noted as such on an indenture dated 1800. The name changed however to become Elm Path.
At one time there was a continuous footpath from Yeovil to Yeovil Marsh and eventually to Ilchester by footpaths and lanes. It started at Kingston at Red Lion Lane, continued along Sparrow Lane to Mudford Road then crossed the road and entered a single large field called Elm Path (the field name was a corruption of an earlier name of the footpath - Hellam Path, referred to as Hillon Path in the 1589 Terrier) that ran all the way to Combe Street Lane and then onwards to Yeovil Marsh.
By Victorian times this large field, Elm Path, had been subdivided into Higher Elm Path (1094), Middle Elm Path (1086) and Lower Elm Path (1081). Today these three fields form the Yeovil Recreation Centre, affectionately known as 'Mudford Rec', and remain the only open green area in the Hollands section.
Middle Elm Path was bounded to the north by Higher Elm Path, to the west by Lower Nobles Nap (1085), to the east by Stoney Field (1087) and Green Cross (1080) and to the south by Lower Elm Path (1086). In its northwest corner was a link to Higher Nobles Nap (1096) and in the southwest a link to Behind the House (1084).
The 1842 Tithe Map and the 1846 Tithe Apportionment recorded Middle Elm Path as being owned by Henry Goodford of Chilton Cantelo and the tenant was John Newman Berkley. The Apportionment recorded the area as 9a 0r 9p and noted as arable, that is, suited to the plow and for tillage and therefore used for producing crops.
An Agreement for a Lease dated 30 August 1849 between Henry Goodford Esq. of Chilton Cantelo and Nathaniel Bartlett, a baker of Yeovil, for "Land late in the occupation Mr John Newman-Birkley in Yeovil" included Middle Elm Path but reckoned the acreage of the field as a slightly smaller 8a 3r 35p.
For details on historic land measurement (ie acres, roods and perches) click here.
This map, based on the descriptions in the 1589 Terrier and the 1846 Tithe Map of Yeovil shows the approximate boundaries of the Manors of Kingston and Hendford as well as the manorial three-field system used in Kingston.
A conjectural map of the great Middle Field of Kingston Manor.
The Hollands area reproduced from the 1842 Tithe Map. Middle Elm Path is right of centre.
The 1946 aerial photograph showing Middle Elm Path at lower centre, clearly laid out as five football pitches with the grass in the areas in front of each goalmouth worn away.
The 1842 Tithe Map superimposed over a modern map.
Middle Elm Path, seen from the northwest corner and looking south to the boundary with Lower Elm Path at the tree line. Photographed in 2014.
Middle Elm Path, seen from the northwest corner and looking east. The beige building at centre is the park store by the car park and is built on the site of Lower Stone Farm. Photographed in 2014.