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Sandy Rectories

Sandy Rectory about 1920 [Z1306/99]
Sandy Rectory about 1920 [Z1306/99]

The first mention of a parsonage house at Sandy comes in a terrier in the Archdeaconry archive [ABE1], the date is 1607. The house is described as built of wood (presumably it was half-timbered with plaster infill) with a tiled roof. It had "about thirty rooms in all" but only the hall and parlour are mentioned on the ground floor with a great chamber and little chamber upstairs. Outside lay a large barn of eight bays, which was tiled, a malthouse, a French kiln, a cowhouse, a wheathouse, a hayhouse, two stables and a "fair" garner, or granary, which was tiled and divided into five rooms. A terrier of 1693 [ABE1] simply noted that outhouses comprised a bakehouse, brewhouse, four barns, a granary, two stables and a dovehouse.

A more complete description is given in a terrier of about 1700 [ABE2 Volume 2 page 133]. The construction is, again, noted as timber and tiled. The rooms are now recited in much more detailed. Downstairs comprised a large parlour, which was boarded, three closets, of which two were boarded and the other plastered with Plaster of Paris, a hall with paving tiles, a kitchen which was boarded, two larders with brick floors - "one of them a closet", a little pantry floored in oak, three cellars with brick floors and a large room over the cellars with a boarded floor. Upstairs lay a chamber "with two little rooms within" also called the "best chamber and study", a chamber with a large closet, a closet on top of the stairs between two chambers, two chambers over the kitchen ("one a closet belonging to it"), three little chambers over the two larders and the pantry and one chamber more, with a closet over the cellars. Outside lay a large dovecote of two bays, built of timber and tiled "divided in middle", four barns one the great barn of eight bays of 1607 and three smaller barns comprising two, three and four bays respectively and all constructed of timber and thatched. There were also still two stables, a hay barn, and now a coach house. There were also two pigsties of four bays, which were thatched and a "little building" for calves and one for turkeys, an early reference to this bird, which is native to North America.

The fourth parish register for Sandy [P9/1/4] contains a note that in 1731 the old rectory was pulled down and a new one built in its place. Certainly, in surviving photographs, the old Rectory in Sandy looks a Georgian building.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be valued to determine its rateable value. Most of Bedfordshire was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Rectory [DV1/C12/72] described it as a detached red brick and tiled house. Ground floor accommodation comprised: a tiled and panelled hall measuring 20 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches and another section measuring 14 feet by 10 feet; a back stairs; a pantry; a dining room measuring 15 feet 9 inches by 20 feet 9 inches; a drawing room measuring 20 feet 9 inches by 17 feet, with French windows to the garden; a study measuring 17 feet by 15 feet 3 inches; a lobby with cracked walls and ceilings, "very damp", with a passage and a step down into the garden where there was a pail closet.

On the first floor was a lounge on the landing measuring 20 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches, a bedroom measuring 6 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 3 inches, and a bay measuring 5 feet 6 inches by 4 feet; the best bedroom measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 16 feet; a dressing room measuring 6 feet by 13 feet; a bedroom ("dry rot, floor sunk"), measuring 14 feet by 17 feet 3 inches; a bedroom ("ceiling very damp") measuring 17 feet by 16 feet; a bathroom with a w. c. and a wash basin ("wall very damp"). The valuer underlined the poor nature of the first floor accommodation by commenting "Ceilings and walls on 1st floor in bad condition".

The second floor comprised a box room measuring 15 feet 6 inches by 7 feet; five bedrooms measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, 20 feet by 13 feet, 16 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, 14 feet 6 inches by 12 feet and 12 feet by 8 feet respectively; a kitchen measuring 11 feet by 17 feet 3 inches and a w. c. Of this floor the valuer commented: "Ceilings on top floor very damp, walls cracked and chipped. Bad condition".

The basement had a brick floor with the following rooms: a larder ("plaster breaking away from walls") measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 15 feet; a kitchen ("walls cracked") measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches; a scullery with a stone sink measuring 9 feet by 11 feet 6 inches; a room measuring 11 feet 9 inches by 10 feet; a coal cellar with two small larders and another scullery with a sink. The valuer stated: "Basement in very bad condition".

Of the exterior of the house the valuer commented: "In poor condition. Needs repointing and roof needs repairing. Requires a great amount of annual upkeep". He also noted: Kitchen some distance from Dining Room". The house did, however, have mains gas and water laid on.

The outbuildings comprised: a brick and tiled range comprising a shed, two store sheds with lofts over and three old loose boxes with a loft over; a brick and corrugated iron coal shed; a brick and tiled building comprising a washhouse with boiler and oven and a carriage house with a brick floor and a loft over; a brick and tiled cart shed. There was also an old brick and tiled tool shed in the garden.

The valuer commented: "Might be made a much nicer house" also "No decent rooms in it, most unlettable house. No electric light. Rotten garden. Half empty". Finally he noted: "Rector's living in parish of Sandy approximately £1,040 per annum. From this he has to pay all Rates, repairs to house, hedges, ditches and insurance etc. His expenses total to about 60% of his living or more".

From such a description it is hardly surprising that this imposing house did not survive much longer. In 1961 it was proposed to demolish the house and build a replacement on the site [X758/1/11], which is what happened. One of the rows of outbuildings, standing between the modern rectory and the church was retained and now forms parish offices and rooms.

Parish offices with the Rectory in the background April 2010
Parish offices with the Rectory in the background April 2010