Ferguson Brown Orchard

Ferguson Brown Orchard (1938): Richard Bennie

The story starts back in 2010 when my son Douglas, at that point a young lad came running across Campsie Showfield telling me he had been talking to a man whose father had a Ferguson Brown Orchard. I myself had never seen or heard of a Ferguson Brown Orchard and dismissed him telling him there was no such thing.

As often happens in these situations we then bumped into ‘the man’ at various sales and shows across the country and which developed a friendship with him and his father, Doug McNicol over the weeks and months that followed.

Over a number of conversations with them it transpired that they did in fact possess a Ferguson Brown Orchard and which they had bought in the mid-eighties in Yorkshire and brought home to Scotland where it had been out to a small number of shows in the early years of ownership and then stored away in a shed until we secured it in 2015.

At a visit to Doug McNicols home in Perthshire to see his collection we peered into the shed and couldn’t see a Ferguson Brown however after clambering over a number of larger tractors which were all packed in “wheel to wheel” there she was sitting there gathering dust. A few photographs and some further research verified that it was indeed a rare Ferguson Brown Orchard with its tell-tale tubular wishbone front axle set back to provide a tighter turning circle.

Looking down on the Ferguson Brown Orchard’s wishbone tubular front axle

The Ferguson Brown Orchard on display at the Yorkshire Farming museum. Stuart Gibbard

With regard to the tractor itself Mr McNicol had been coming home from a holiday down South with his caravan in the mid-eighties just at the point the Yorkshire Farm Museum was getting established and called in for a look around. There was a Ferguson Brown on display inside the museum at the time which caught Mr McNicols attention and he was looking over it when his young daughter came running into the museum shouting “dad, dad there’s another tractor outside”. Mr McNico] took himse]f outside and saw what was another Ferguson Brown then realising a]most instantly it was something a bit different. It was a Ferguson Brown Orchard model. He promptly made some enquiries at the Museum and discovered that the 2nd tractor was owned by RV Rogers Nursery in Pickering who had bought it new in 1938 from Kay & Backhouse in York with it having worked in the nursery all its life before being loaned to the Museum in the mid-eighties.

The Ferguson Brown Orchard as found in Doug McNicols Perthshire collection.

Doug then extended his holiday by two days and took himself off to R.V. Rogers Nursery where he managed to persuade the family to sell him the tractor. The story told being that having successfully bought the tractor he immediately drove back home to Scotland with his caravan. unhitched it, hitched on his trailer and promptly drove back to Yorkshire to collect it in case they changed their mind.

 R.Y. Rogers Nursery’s at that time by a strange coincidence bought berry canes from a farm not too far from the McNicols home and the deal that was struck for the tractor involved a trailer load of berry canes going south to Yorkshire, there won’t be many Ferguson Browns that have been bought with a load of berry canes!!

My son Douglas and I had asked Doug that if he was ever selling the tractor to give us a shout never thinking it would be sold however we subsequently got a surprise call in November 2015 to say his daughter who first saw the tractor back in the mid-eighties was looking to raise money for a house deposit and given that she had ‘spotted it first’ Doug had decided to sell it in order to assist her.

The deal was done, not with berry canes, I might add, and my son and I collected the tractor in December 2015 complete with its Ferguson Brown 2 furrow plough.

The tractor itself is a 1938 Ferguson Brown Orchard, Yorkshire registration number BAJ 960 and serial No.1141. It is a straight petrol, all Ferguson Browns having the two tanks whether petrol or petrol / paraffin the distinguishing feature being the water temperature gauge on the petrol/paraffins. The tractor has a deep sump David Brown engine found in models beyond Serial No.500 or thereby, the earlier models having a Coventry Climax engine.

We understand there were around 1350 Ferguson Browns manufactured back in the day with around 10 of these being Orchard models with only a handful of Orchards still surviving today. A rare tractor and the first to incorporate the famous Ferguson three point linkage.

The current condition of the Ferguson Brown Orchard tractor.

 Published in Journal No.91, Spring 2019.