There is an Exmouth firm of solicitors called Vine Orchards which "is the
amalgamation of two of the oldest firms in Exmouth, Orchard & Co. and Vine
Edwards & Co. each of which had been established for over 100 years at the
time of the merger in 1997" so they go back over 120 years, and probably
back to the Messrs HFF Orchard that you mention.
There is also an Exeter firm called Dunn & Baker, founded about 1887 by
Alfred Edward Dunn, whose premises, and possibly their records, were
destroyed during the air raids of 1942.
Both firms should be able to tell you how and where their oldest records
were archived or disposed of or lost.
Have you researched the person you believe to have been Rose Nellie's
father? Did he leave a paper trail that has been digitized online -
National Archives, London Gazette, will, census, public trees, etc? Do you
know the father's family solicitor? Incidentally, the person named in
maintenance orders/agreements for an illegitimate child was not always the
father but sometimes a relative of either the father or mother, who
guaranteed financial provision for the child. Do you have any contact with
the father's family? You might perhaps ask about him on this list.
Regards - Martin Beavis