Hartwells Orchard

Hartwells Orchard

Of Stone Farm, a detached part of Preston Plucknett


In his 'Agricultural Survey of Somerset' of 1797, John Billingsley refers to the large number of orchards for which the land is "peculiarly adapted". The large acreage devoted to this purpose in the Yeovil area reflects the county's reputation for cider making. The low wages being paid at that time to agricultural workers were augmented by an allowance of cider; a labourer received one shilling a day in winter 'with cider' and one shilling and fourpence with cider in summer. The latter amount was also paid for mowing grass per acre and one gallon of cider, while reaping wheat was paid for with four shillings per acre and 2½ gallons of cider. The large number of orchards in the town itself and the parish as a whole lasted right up to the end of the 19th century. Apples grown from grafts or crab stocks were such varieties as Royal Wilding, White Styne, Court of Week Pippin, Pouncet or Cadbury, Flood-Hatch, Black Pit Crab, Buckland, Mediate or Sourham, Royal Jersey, Woodstock, Red Hedge Pip, Old Jersey and Red Streak - all varieties which are unknown today. 

Hartwells Orchard was a small field to the immediate northeast 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 Hartwells Orchard as Parcel 169. It was bounded on the south by Garden Field (Parcel 177), to the west by Hetts Orchard (Parcel 171) and Home Close (Parcel 175), on the north by Higher Ground (Parcel 167) and on the east by Hanging Orchard (Parcel 168). Set within the boundary between Hartwells Orchard and Garden Field was a small plot containing Stone Farm Cottage and garden (Parcel 170).

The Preston Plucknett Tithe Apportionment of 1848 notes that Hartwells 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 Hartwells Orchard to be 5a 3r 18p.

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, by this time Hartwells Orchard had been combined with part of Garden Field to form a new pasture, as it remains today.

For details on historic land measurement (ie acres, roods and perches) click here.


maps and aerial photographs

The Stone area reproduced from the 1849 Tithe Map. Hartwells Orchard is above and right of Stone Farm.


The 1946 aerial photograph showing the former Hartwells Orchard at centre. By this time its southern boundary with Garden Field had been moved south to include part of Garden Field.


The modern aerial view showing Hartwells Orchard to the immediate northeast of Stone Farm. The original southern boundary of the field was along the bottom of the brown area running across the field, the hedgerow at bottom is later and encloses part of garden 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 Hartwells Orchard is to the immediate northeast of Stone Farm.