A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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The parish of Sandhurst with Crowthorne has an area of 4,534 acres, of which 329 are arable land, 659¼ permanent grass and 149 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The rest of the parish is open land covered with heather. Most of the parish was included within the Sandhurst Walk of Windsor Forest and the rest in Bigshot Walk. An inclosure award was made for the parish in 1817 under the Windsor Forest Inclosure Act of 1813. The soil is sandy with a subsoil of sand and gravel, and barley and oats are the principal crops. From the high ground on the east of Crowthorne, where an altitude of over 400 ft. is reached, the land falls to a level of about 200 ft. near the River Blackwater in the south-west. In the heather country the land is uneven, rising into numerous small hills. From Sandhurst village a road runs north to Wokingham and another north-west to Finchampstead. A third road runs north-east past Edgebarrow Hill to Easthampstead. From the White Swan Inn near the railway, which lies to the south-west, Darbygreen Lane runs south to Yateley. East Mill was situated in this lane. The village of Sandhurst lies along the road to Finchampstead in the south-west of the parish near the River Blackwater, which here divides Berkshire from Hampshire. It contains the church of St. Michael, which was rebuilt in 1853, and has a mission church attached to it in Little Sandhurst. There is also a Wesleyan chapel dating from 1867, but rebuilt in 1906, and a recently erected Baptist chapel.
Crowthorne was made into an ecclesiastical parish in 1874 and a civil one in 1894. Here is a Wesleyan chapel. Owlsmoor is a hamlet on the south of Crowthorne parish and contains an iron mission church.
The parish of Sandhurst is chiefly noteworthy as containing the Royal Military College, established here in 1812 on its removal from Great Marlow, and Wellington College, founded by national subscription in honour of the Duke of Wellington, the first stone being laid by Queen Victoria in 1856. The buildings of Wellington College, which were designed by John Shaw and opened by Queen Victoria in 1859, are grouped round a large central courtyard divided into two nearly square quadrangles by the great schoolroom, while at the south-west and south-east of the whole group, with which they are connected by covered ways, are two detached buildings, originally intended to be occupied as the infirmary and chapel. A new chapel designed by Sir Gilbert Scott was afterwards added to the east of the original chapel, and in 1886 two new dormitories were added on the same side. The building is designed in the 18th-century French renaissance manner, and is an unusually good example of its period. The materials are red and purple brick, with stone string-courses, bands and dressings. The east and west wings have mansard roofs of slate, and from the centre of each rises a brick tower containing the stairs to the upper floors and the ventilating shafts to the dormitories.
An estate of 450 acres partly in Sandhurst and partly in Frimley was bought by the Military College from William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, being part of the Tekels Castle estate. The present building has a central block with a portico and two wings.
Two silver medals, one of Mark Antony and the other a consular medal of the Papia family, were found in digging behind the Royal Military College. (fn. 2)
Sandhurst Lodge, formerly occupied by the late Sir W. J. Farrer, is the manor-house and was built by Richard Heaviside. It was bought from Mr. J. Walter in 1913 by Mrs. Vaughan Davies. St. Helens, the residence of Maj.-Gen. E. Elliott, and the rectory were built by the Rev. Henry Parsons, rector from 1852 to 1878; Harts Leap, the residence of Commander P. G. V. Van der Byl. R.N., was built during the same period. Ambarrow is the residence of Mrs. Harvey, and Longdown Lodge of Mr. Thomas Mills.
SANDHURST only emerges into individual mention very late. Together with Wokingham it was said to be vested in the Bishop of Salisbury in 1316. (fn. 3) Chertsey Abbey held the manor in 1498. (fn. 4) In 1510 William Rogys acquired the manor on a forty years' lease from the abbot, (fn. 5) who in 1537 surrendered White Waltham and Sandhurst to the king. (fn. 6) The property was retained by the Crown till 1562, when Elizabeth (fn. 7) conveyed the lordship and manor to Sir John Ma-on for £248. In 1590 (fn. 8) Anthony Weekes alias Mason, grandson of Sir John's mother by a second marriage, with Elizabeth his wife quitclaimed the manor to John Mason, gentleman, his son and heir, who sold it to Richard Geale. (fn. 9) In 1601 it is found in the possession of Richard Geale, son of the elder Richard, and Elizabeth his wife, (fn. 10) who with John Geale conveyed it to Robert Lee. The latter, with his wife Joyce and Clement Dawbeney, reconveyed it to Richard and John Geale in 1606. (fn. 11) Richard Geale held the manor in 1674. A Richard Geale was appointed regarder of the forest in 1695. (fn. 12)
In 1751 (fn. 13) Elizabeth Caroline Williamson held the manor as daughter and devisee of Adam Williamson, the previous owner. She married Daniel Fox and was living in 1786. In 1787 it was held by Adam Williamson, who sold it in 1789 to Richard Heaviside. (fn. 14) By 1854 Robert Gibson owned the manor, but sold it very soon after to John Walter, M.P. (coproprietor of the Times), from whom it has devolved on Mr. John Walter, the present owner. (fn. 15)
The manor of HALL or SANDHURST appears to have been the holding of a family of Atte Halle. There was a contributor of this name to a subsidy levied on the parish in the reign of Edward I, (fn. 16) and a John Atte Halle was assessed for the same purpose in 1332. (fn. 17)
In 1354 (fn. 18) John Atte Halle gave a bond on his lands in Sandhurst, and this estate, called the manor of Halle, was sold by Thomas Atte Halle, (fn. 19) brother and heir of William Atte Halle, in 1397, to Hugh de Byseley of co. Gloucester, who conveyed it under the name of the manor of Sandhurst to William Molyns (fn. 20) of Lechlade (Gloucs.). William Molyns and others in 1425 conveyed the estate to Matilda Merfeld, Joan the widow of Richard Okele, and John Westmere (apparently three co-heirs); a water-mill, mill-pond (perhaps that beside the mill farm on the Blackwater River), and a meadow adjacent called Hullemede were excepted.
In 1428 (fn. 21) this manor was divided into moieties, Matthew Masschebrook and Joan his wife (probably the widow of Okele) convey ing one moiety to John Feriby, Robert Wodcock, Thomas Grene and Richard Paulyn, clerk, the heirs of Joan quitclaiming to Richard Paulyn. John Westmere's son John in 1432 (fn. 22) conveyed his moiety also to John Feriby. John Feriby in 1442 (fn. 23) conveyed to Richard Combe, Richard Russell and John Kingesdowne the manor of Sandhurst and all lands once belonging to Nicholas Atte Halle, and the water-mill and Hullemede (once Hugh Byseley's). This manor, of which no further trace has been found, may be the manor held by Chertsey Abbey in 1498 (see above).
In 1510 (fn. 24) a manor of Buckhurst in Sandhurst was among the lands assigned to Sir William Sandys and Margaret his wife, niece and heir of Sir Reynold Bray. William Lord Sandys, the grandson, sold part of this property, described as two messuages in Buckhurst and Sandhurst, to Walter Sandys in 1577 (fn. 25) and another part to Roger Croppe in 1588. (fn. 26) In 1613 Buckhurst and the adjoining house called Cressells (once belonging to Chertsey Abbey, but later to Lord Sandys) (fn. 27) were held by Richard Powell. (fn. 28) Cressells with Sandhurst Farm was acquired in the 18th century by the family of Simonds, with whom Sandhurst Farm has since remained, the present owner being Mr. Barrow Simonds of Winchester. William Blackall Simonds claimed manorial rights in 1809, but produced no evidence. (fn. 29)
A 'Manor of Sandhurst,' with the manor farm and mill, was bought by the Crown in 1801–2 from the Hon. William Pitt, and on this site was built the present Government House. The mill pool was converted into the lower lake. (fn. 30)
The church of ST. MICHAEL was rebuilt in 1853 on an old site under the direction of G. E. Street. In 1868 the building was further enlarged and restored. It consists of a chancel with a north organ chamber, a vestry and a small transept on the south side, a nave of four bays with north and south aisles, a north porch and a south-west tower.
The design is in the style of the 13th century, and the materials are squared rubble with dressed stone for the quoins and details. The north porch is of wood and the tower has a timber upper stage with a shingled octagonal spire. The south aisle has a lead roof, but all the others are tiled. Built into the west wall are two old stones which apparently once formed parts of a diaper pattern of four-leaved ornament. The nave roof contains a few old timbers, and on the north wall-plate at the west end is cut the date 1647 with the regnal year in abbreviation.
The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST, Crowthorne, was built in 1873 and is of brick with stone dressings. It consists of a chancel with a north vestry and organ chamber, a south chapel, a nave of four bays with north and south aisles and a west apsidal baptistery. The east windows of the chancel and chapel are filled with stained glass by Kempe. The Bishop of Oxford is patron.
There was a chapel at Sandhurst as early as 1220, attached to the mother church of Sonning, (fn. 31) which was held by the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury. The rectory was farmed out by the dean and chapter in the 16th century and later. (fn. 32) In 1851 and exchange was effected by which the tithe-rent charge became the property of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who annexed it to the living.
The advowson remained vested in the dean until 1846, when it was transferred to the Bishop of Oxford. The living was declared a rectory in 1866. (fn. 33)
The charity of Richard Bannister, founded in 1417 for the relief and benefit of the poor of this parish and of Yateley, Hants, is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 5 February 1886. The endowment consists of 29 a. 2 r. in Sandhurst, let to the governors of Wellington College at £12 10s. a year, and £1,370 8s. 2d. consols held by the official trustees arising from sale in 1865 of 16 acres belonging to the charity, producing £34 5s. 2d. a year. The moiety of the income, amounting to £23 7s. 6d., is under the scheme applicable in subscriptions to hospitals, for providing nurses, donations to provident clubs, &c., or temporary relief in money.
In 1823 Captain Charles Stone, by his will, bequeathed £100 Navy 4 per cents. to the Royal Military College, the interest to be applied in pecuniary assistance to servants or former servants of the college or their windows, subject to the repair of his tomb. This legacy was the subject of proceedings in the Court of Chancery, and after payment of costs came to be represented by £165 16s. 5d. consols transferred in 1865 to the official trustees, producing £4 2s. 8d. a year.
The Morgan Recreation Ground, consisting of about 3 acres of land at Crowthorne, conveyed by an indenture 4 July 1885 by the Rev. Henry Thornhill Morgan in consideration of £150 provided by voluntary contributions, is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 29 August 1902.
The Walter Recreation Ground, conveyed by an indenture 10 June 1887 by John Walter, consists of two pieces of land in the parishes of Wokingham and Sandhurst, containing together 5 a. 0 r. 38 p., under the control of the parish council. The land is used as a playground for children.
In 1891 Mary Tompson, by her will proved at London 23 September, bequeathed a sum of £500, now represented by £513 9s. 7d. consols with the official trustees, the income to be applied in the purchase of coals and blankets for the poor. The charity is distributed in the parish of Sandhurst exclusive of the district of Crowthorne.
The public reading-room, Crowthorne, conveyed by an indenture dated 14 April 1894 by the aforesaid Rev. Henry Thornhill Morgan, is for the benefit of the residents of Crowthorne. The premises are closed in summer and during the winter are used as a reading room and young men's club. The expenses of the maintenance are defrayed by subscriptions of members at 6d. per month and by voluntary contributions.