Place:Orchardleigh, Somerset, England

Alt namesOrchardleasource: alternate spelling
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.264°N 2.329°W
Located inSomerset, England
See alsoFrome Hundred, Somerset, Englandhundred in which it was located
Frome Rural, Somerset, Englandrural district in which it was located 1894-1933
Lullington, Somerset, Englandadjacent parish into which it was absorbed in 1933
Mendip District, Somerset, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Orchardleigh (also spelled Orchardlea) is a country estate in Somerset, approximately two miles north of Frome, and on the southern edge of the village of Lullington. The privately held estate comprises a Victorian country house, the Orchardleigh Lake with its island church, and an 18-hole golf course.

Orchardleigh was a separate civil parish until 1933 when it was absorbed into Lullington. The parish was part of the hundred of Frome and the Frome Rural District (1894-1974).


Historic Descriptions

1822 - Somersetshire delineated by Christopher & John Greenwood

A small parish in the hundred of Frome, 2½ miles N. from Frome; containing 9 inhabited houses, and as many families, 6 of whom are employed in agriculture. Orchardleigh-Park, the seat of Sir T. S. Champneys, Bart. comprises nearly the whole of the parish. The church is a small structure, consisting of a nave only. The living is a rectory, in the deanery of Frome; Rev. Joseph Algar, incumbent; instituted 1818. Population, 1801, 32 — 1811, 32 — 1821, 27.

1875 - Somersetshire edited by Edward Robert Kelly

Orchardleigh is a parish, 117 miles from London, and 2 north from Frome railway station, in the Eastern division of the county, Frome hundred, union, county court district and rural deanery, Wells archdeaconry, and diocese of Bath and Wells, partly bounded by the Frome river. The church (name unknown) is a small Gothic stone edifice, built about the reign of Edward I. having a chancel, nave, transept, small tower with 1 bell, and porch: it stands in the park, and contains some monuments to the Champneys family, the former owners of Orchardleigh. The register dates from 1670. The living is a rectory, annexed to the vicarage of Lullington, endowed with £600 royal bounty, computed at £310 yearly, in the gift of William Duckworth, esq., J.P. and D.L., and held by the Rev. Arthur Drummond Wilkins, late Fellow of New College, Oxford. There is a Sunday school held at the church: the children attend the day school in the adjoining parish of Lullington. Orchardleigh, the seat of William Duckworth, esq., J.P. and D.L., lord of the manor and sole landowner, occupies an elevated position in the centre of an undulating park of about 800 acres, and comprises nearly the whole of Orchardleigh parish; this beautiful demesne was once the property of the Champneys family, who were in possession for about three centuries, when it became the property of the present proprietor, who erected the mansion: it is of the mixed English, French, and Scotch styles of the Elizabethan period, and of an imposing appearance, commanding fine views of the surrounding country, including Clay Hill, the Wiltshire downs, and the surrounding woodland scenery: the park is adorned with numerous groups of stately elms and forest trees: it contains a lake of 24 acres and two ponds, and the carriage drive through the grounds, from one lodge gate to the other, is 2½ miles in length. The soil is loam and mar), and the subsoil is marl. The land is chiefly in pasturage. The acreage is 715; rateable value, £1,435; the population in 1871 was 38, and is now (1875) 58.

1929 - Somerset by George Woosung Wade & Joseph Henry Wade

Orchardleigh, a modern mansion, 2 m. N. from Frome, built to replace the ancient seat of the Champneys. In the park is a knoll crowned by three huge stones, which were once a cromlech, and are supposed to mark a place of sepulture. Upon an island in a lake is a small church, quite a little gem in its way. It contains a carved cup-shaped font, a beautiful Dec. priest's doorway, and an elaborately sculptured aumbry and piscina. The unique features of the building, however, are the small projecting figures on the N. and S. walls of the sanctuary; the hand of the one on the S. will be seen still grasping the staple on which was once suspended the Lenten veil (cp. Leigh-on-Mendip).

Research Tips

General Somerset Tips

  • The Somerset Heritage Centre (incorporating what was formerly the Somerset Record Office and the Somerset Local Studies Library) can be found at its new location at Langford Mead in Taunton. It has an online search facility leading to pages of interest, including maps from the First and Second Ordnance Survey (select "Maps and Postcards" from the list at the left, then enter the parish in the search box).
    The Heritage Centre has an email address:
  • Three maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrate the changes in political boundaries over the period 1830-1945. All have expanding scales and on the second and third this facility is sufficient that individual parishes can be inspected.
  • Somerset Hundreds as drawn in 1832. This map was prepared before The Great Reform Act of that year. Note the polling places and representation of the various parts of the county.
  • Somerset in 1900, an Ordnance Survey map showing rural districts, the boundaries of the larger towns, the smaller civil parishes of the time, and some hamlets and villages in each parish
  • Somerset in 1943, an Ordnance Survey map showing the rural districts after the changes to their structure in the 1930s

Other Resources