Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


The Great Orchard and Nursery Field
(Land to the rear of Friends Field)

For decades this plot of land has been used as an apple orchard, at one time containing over 1000 mature trees.

Left Photo circa 2000 - orchard to the rear of properties in Friends Field.


Site now totally cleared circa 2008

Ref: Google Earth maps

Burnt remains of the apple trees.

Ref: Google Earth maps

Aerial view of the cleared orchard dated 2005.

Four piles of scrubbed out apple trees


Ref:- Google Earth maps

Photos by J. Doddington taken from an adjacent field
Orchard cleared September 2004

Over two weekends the entire orchard was levelled
According to the owner they cleared it because of rat infestation.

However, according to Babergh and published documents they were requested to clear a one metre strip around the perimeter of the orchard to prevent rodents entering the adjacent properties.

Very wide strip !


Once again in Mid 2004, this plot of land was once again been put forward as a possible site for housing development.
This time however, Babergh District Council have elected to place this area in their "Local Plan" suitable for housing.
Although this was tentatively
supported by the local Parish Council, very few residents agreed with this change of use, all were concerned by the restricted access, density of the housing and school overcrowding.

Residents were once again asked by Babergh for their comments, prior to the Local Plan Public enquiry.
When the Inspectors report and comments were quoted back to them from 1988/9, the reply given by the District Council was that these were now "invalid objections"
The conclusion reached by Babergh was that:- "The Inspector is asked to make no changes in the light of all of these objections"
The District Council readily agreed with the Planning Inspector in 1988, but now disagree with him when they are clambering for land.

During September/October 2004, there was the Public Enquiry where the Government Inspector decided in favour of the District Council.
It has now been included in the Local Plan as land suitable for housing development

Extract from EADT/Suffolk Free Press

Aerial view of the orchard dated 2000

In that year it contained 1,000 mature apple trees

In the 1980`s a further section of the field was sold by Mr Dennis Eves to Babergh District council for sheltered housing
Bottom left corner of photograph.

Ref:- Google Earth maps





No486 on the Tithe Maps

The Great Orchard was part sold in the 1970`s and now houses the properties known as Friends Field to the left

The remaining orchard represents a fragment of a large orchard, that was left isolated by the construction of social housing in 1988 (bottom right)
Photograph courtesy of Ken Baxter



The Great Orchard

To the left of the orchard land has started to be cleared in preperation for a new Council Estate.

( right side of photo)

Today its known as Claypits Avenue and Tawneys Ride

Photograph courtesy of
Ken Baxter

Aerial View dated 1963
Ken Baxter owned the land to the right of the blue line.

Dennis Eaves owned the orchard to the left.

Ken managed this faarm land with Chickens, Pigs and Cows

Kens land now forms the estate of Friends Field

Image courtesy of David Vango



This 1904 map shows land as an orchard.

The upper section with the text "Malthouse etc" is now occupied by Friends Field.

For many years this plot of land has been used as an orchard containing over 1000 (circa 1980) mature apple trees.


The Bures St Mary tithe map of 1837, showing the area of the 'orchard and garden' to the west of the Nayland Road

The orchard area indicated by 479 and 486.

No 479 was known as "The Great Orchard Field was part sold in the 1970`s to become the housing estate known as Friends Field.

No 486 known as Nursery Field.

No 539 known as Shooting Field

No 486 known as Slaughters Field



Early records indicate that Abraham Hardy as a 'farmer, seedsman and church clerk' born at Nayland in 1799, marrying a Sarah Pilgrim

Abraham Hardy then owned both the orchard of 4 acres 19 perches (plot 486) and the large L-shaped house dividing it from the Nayland Road on the west (plot 483, which includes 1-7 Nayland Road.
He occupied the orchard himself, which was described as a 'nursery ground' consisting of a 'garden and orchard', but lived outside the parish and let the house to 'John Garrad and 13 others who paid rent.

The 2.5 acre field to the north of the orchard was a pasture known as 'Great Orchard', either because of its proximity to the orchard (fields often bore the names of distinctive adjoining features) or because it had once been part of it. Field names are notoriously slow to change over time, and this indicates the orchard was ancient even in 1837. It is reputed to have contained many rare species until its recent destruction. .

Abraham Hardy was recorded in White's Suffolk Directory of 1844 only as an agent for the Norwich Fire Insurance Office, but a James Hardy appears as a gardener (i.e. a market gardener) as well as a Norwich agent in the edition of 1855.


First Edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey of 1885. This survey plotted trees with great accuracy, and shows a series of linear paths that probably represent vegetable or seed plots in the northern half of the orchard


By 1874 Henry Hardy was a gardener and seedsman who lived in London, but neither the Hardy name nor any comparable business is listed in Kelly's Directory for 1912.

A transcription of births, deaths and marriages available online records Abraham Hardy as a 'farmer, seedsman and church clerk' born at Nayland in 1799, marrying a Sarah Pilgrim (of a prolific Bures family of builders) in 1817 and dying at Billericay in Essex in 1873.

The most recent owner of the orchard was Mr Dennis Eaves whose father is understood to have bought it in or about 1937.

Mr Eaves originally lived at Lorne House (1 Nayland Road) but the rest of the terrace was bought by the Hitchcock family of Bures mill.

He operated the orchard as a fruiterer and smallholder, supplying produce to local shops and keeping chickens in the now demolished sheds behind no. 7 Nayland Road. He also sold directly to the public from a shop in the central shed , but opened on only one afternoon each week in the years leading up to his death in the 1990s.

The early-19th century a shed with the sunken floor was used to store apples, along with the upper storey of the central shed, and older residents of Bures recall at least one horse stalled in the shed with the mono-pitch roof during the 1940s and 1950s.

Mr Eaves sold part of the orchard to Babergh District Council in the 1980s and the resulting estate of bungalows bears his name (albeit mis-spelled- Eaves Orchard).
The business terminated with his death and the trees were subsequently cleared by his son-in-law, the present owner Mr Alan Cockrell of Colchester. Nos. 2-7 Nayland Road were sold individually in the 1970s.

Their link with the site of the orchard to the rear is documented as early as 1577 when Barnaby Claydon, a wealthier clothier and church warden who lived in Bures High Street, owned a larger block of land in the same area stretching from the Nayland Road on the west to what is now Fysh House Farm at the top Cuckoo Hill to the east .

This land included two 'ruinous' houses on the Nayland Road, one of which was known as Pike House and was associated with ground called Pikes Acre and a marsh called Pikes Marsh. The other is not named but lay to the north of Pikes House and also possessed a significant but unspecified amount of land to the rear (it is said to have belonged previously to John Arundell and afterwards to Thomas Mollens).


Acknowledgment to Suffolk County Council, Archaeological Dept for allowing the web site to reproduce this text.
Acknowledgment to Leigh Alston the author of history (bottom) text