The Hebditch Family


Three Generations at New Cross Fruit Farm

Henry & Dorothy : David & Heather : William & Elizabeth

The 1840 Tithe Map showing New Cross Farm – centre – and its working barns & buildings around a courtyard.

Since 1835 in the ownership of Lord Portman, New Cross Farm, in its current building, has operated with a wide range of farming practices. It has always been involved with apples, and apple tree husbandry. Its main business in the late 19thc and early 20thc was flax growing and milling.
First generation : Henry & Dorothy Hebditch & sons at New Cross
Second & third generation : David , third from the left, and William, second from the left.
The Porters of East Lambrook, delivering barrels of apples.


For 100 years New Cross Farm has grown trees for apples and apple-growers. It had workers running a cider-producing mill, along with racking and storage of barrels. It was an important focus of the ‘apple and cider culture’ of the Parish – with many of its workers living as neighbours in The Lambrooks.
One such family were the Pipes of West Lambrook who appear in the:

Farm Year Account Book for 1890-91
Down the left-hand column are Harry Porter, Harry Pipe, Jordan Pipe, Job Pipe, Job Pipe – amongst other well-known names of the Parish.
Note Christmas Day 1890 is a day off, but not Boxing Day, although there are many ‘Absents’.
Various jobs are being undertaken, including flax-dressing, loading dung and so on.
Harry Cosh, Jas. and John Rusell are involved in Making Cider & Racking Cider
In the early weeks of 1891 a new name appears towards the foot of the ledger – that of Tom Pipe. His grandfather is Courtney Pipe, the man on the tricycle riding through East Lambrook.

In February 1891 : Week beginning 14th Feb. Tom Pipe appears on the workforce list – second from bottom

Tom Pipe – Attending Hfrs
(Hfrs = heifers i.e. young cows)

An older Tom Pipe, enlists for WW1 – and survives.

He becomes the farm’s ploughman………..

Ploughing at New Cross, with Burrow Hill in the background

…………and lives to celebrate a 60 years diamond wedding.



Geologically, the farm occupies land with lighter soils, just off of the clays of Stembridge on the rising slopes of the light soils and sands. This short distance makes a significant difference to what can be cropped.

Soils, gentle slopes, aspect, and climate result in conditions highly suited to nursery tree specialisation. Over the decades it has acted as a hub for nursery practice and knowledge.”



William Hebditch