Of Stone Farm, a detached part of Preston Plucknett
refers to the
large number of
which the land
devoted to this
purpose in the
The low wages
being paid at
that time to
augmented by an
shilling a day
in winter 'with
cider' and one
cider in summer.
amount was also
paid for mowing
grass per acre
and one gallon
of cider, while
was paid for
acre and 2½
Pit Orchard was a long narrow orchard, one of several in the northeast corner 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 Pit Orchard as Parcel 160. It was bounded on the west by Home Mead (Parcel 158) and Dairy House Plot (Parcel 159), on the south by Great Orchard (Parcel 163), on the east it was bounded by Orchard Close (Parcel 161) 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 Pit 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 Pit Orchard as 2a 2r 5p.
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 Home Mead, Furze Leaze and Dairy House Plot were merged to form a large square field as shown in the 1946 aerial photograph below. At this time Pit Orchard was next to this new field but, as seen in the aerial photograph below, still retained its apple trees at this time. In more recent times the new large 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.
Today all the orchard trees in the northwest corner of Stone Farm have gone.
maps and aerial photographs
The Stone area reproduced from the 1849 Tithe Map. Pit Orchard is towards the top right corner.
The 1946 aerial photograph showing Pit Orchard, still containing its apple trees, in the top right quadrant of the photograph. 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, Dairy House 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 Pit Orchard is towards the top right corner.
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, Dairy House Plot, Pit Orchard, Orchard Close, Long Orchard, Square Orchard and Great Orchard. Pit Orchard would have been immediately beyond the hedge. Photographed in 2015.