Hett's Orchard

Hett's 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.

Hett's Orchard was a square(ish) orchard to the north of Stone Farm House.

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 Hetts Orchard as Parcel 171. It was bounded on the north by Higher Ground (Parcel 168), to the east by Hartwells Orchard (Parcel 169), to the south by Home Close (Parcel 175) and to the east by Plantation (1 - Parcel 172), Cottage & Garden (Parcel 173) and Plantation (2 - Parcel 174).

The Preston Plucknett Tithe Apportionment of 1848 notes that Hett's 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 Hetts Orchard to be 5a 3r 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.

As seen in the aerial photograph of 1946, shown below, Hett's Orchard remained an orchard at this time. Today however, the apple trees are gone and the field is used as pasture.

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. Hett's Orchard is just north of Stone farm House.


The 1946 aerial photograph showing Hett's Orchard as the orchard field to the north of Stone Farm House and still retaining its apple trees at this time.


The modern aerial view showing Stone Farm at centre bottom and what had been Hett's Orchard immediately above it, with the ghost of the former boundary just visible as a faded line.




The former Hett's Orchard the other side of the gate, now part of a single large field. Photographed in 2015.