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Sandye Place Middle School

Sandye Place April 2010
Sandye Place April 2010

The history of Sandye Place goes back a lot further than the creation of Sandye Place County Secondary Modern School. The house was listed by the former Department of Environment in December 1949 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates to the early 18th century and was designed in the style of architect Henry Flitcroft. A parapet over the door contains and engraving giving the history of earlier houses on the site. The house itself was square, of two storeys and built of red brick. A dovecote standing to the south-east and belonging to the house was listed in 1979. It is a circular stricture in ironstone and dates to the early 20th century.

The Historic Environment Record [HER] for Bedfordshire has details of every historic building, landscape feature and find spot in the county. Summaries of each entry are now available on-line as part of the Heritage Gateway website. An earthwork to the south of Sandye Place (HER3033) is listed as follows. "The 1901 Ordnance Survey marks Sandye Place "on site of Danish camp", and the 1926 edition suggests that it is the site of a manor house. There is no evidence for either interpretation. The earthwork is undated. More likely to be water management banks".

The Monoux family came from Worcestershire, the family fortune having been made by George Monoux in London, where he became Lord Mayor. He bought property in Wootton in 1514. Humphrey Monoux bought Sandy Manor and its "capital messuage" or manor house of Sandy Place in 1670. The manor had belonged to the Earl of Sunderland before his death at Battle of Newbury in 1643 and his son Robert sold it to Monoux. Sandye Place garden is referred to in documents of 1696 [F652-653]

A map of Bedfordshire of 1736 has a thumbnail sketch of today's Sandye Place, built, presumably, on the foundations of the house bought in 1670. A marriage settlement of 1762 certainly refers to a "capital messuage in Sandy lately erected by Humphrey Monoux". Humphrey had inherited the estate in 1720 and so house must have built between 1720 and 1736. He died in 1752.

By 1812 the Sandy Place Estate (the final e on Sandye is a modern conceit) had passed by marriage to the Ongley family of Old Warden [CCE824/10] and by 1851 it was owned by Sir Coventry Payne [CCE824/11]. Two years later the estate was conveyed by Payne's executors to Thomas Morland of Croydon [Surrey] and Conrad Wilkinson of Beckenham [Kent] for over £26,000 [CCE824/12].

Morland and Wilkinson seem to have bought the estate as speculation because a few months later it was put up for sale [CCE824/13]. The house was Lot 1, the other lots including 86 acres, 3 roods of meadow in a number of small parcels, many formerly part of Sandy Park, Sandy Mill, five cottages on "the High Road", the post office "with convenient residence and shop in the village" with a farm homestead at the rear, "The Farmery", seven houses  "fronting the private road to the Park", an engine house and blacksmith's shop, The Lodge with entrance gates to the Park and six houses in Water Lane.

Sandye Place itself was described thus:


A Wainscoted Entrance Hall, 34 feet by 12 feet, approached by a flight of Stone Steps; Dining Room, 22 feet 6 inches by 20 feet, with Veined Marble Chimney Piece; a Lofty Drawing Room with Circular End, 30 feet by 22 feet 6 inches, with Windows opening on to the Lawn; Morning Room, 20 feet by 16 feet; Breakfast Parlor, and a small Library, Store Room, and China Closet, opening from the Hall


Is a spacious Corridor, 42 feet long by 14 feet wide, opening into Five Lofty principal Bed Rooms, and Two Dressing Rooms, with Lavatory and Water Closet. In a wing building, approached by a secondary staircase, are Four Bed Chambers, and Three Maid-Servants' Sleeping Rooms.


Is a capital and Lofty Kitchen, with Scullery, Larder, Cellar, Housekeeper's Room, Butler's and Footman's Pantries, Servant's Hall, two Men Servants' Sleeping Rooms, Knife Room, ample Cellarage for Wine, with Stone and Brick Bins, Beer and Coal cellars, &c.; also a Hydraulic Force Pump, with good supply of Water.


Which are built in Brick, and very substantial, comprise, on the North side, Wash-House, with Laundry over, Double Coach-House, and a Four Stall Stable, with Lofts and Corn Room over.


Is a Larder, Cellarage for Beer and Coal, with Four Bed Rooms, and a capital Brew-House, with Hop Loft over.


Include a Six Stall Hunting Stable, harness and Saddle Rooms, and Three Loose Boxes, Dog Kennels, Hen-House, Cart Lodge, and Wood and Coal Stores. In the Stable Yard is a Pump of Spring Water, of the purest quality.


Are tastefully laid out, extending to the Ornamental Water, near to which are the Summer-House, Boat-House, and a House, formerly the Miller's residence. A capital Grapery and Hot-House adjoin the Kitchen-Garden, which is enclosed with Stone Walls nearly 20 feet high. There is a Tool and Fruit Room, and an OuterGarden and Orchard.


Are near the Kitchen-Garden, and include Corn and Hay Barns, large Cow-House, Piggery, Slaughter and Boiling-Houses, cart Lodges, gardener's Shed and Dog Kennels.


Extending round the Mansion and Pleasure Grounds, is well Timbered; is screened from the Village and Road by a belt of Plantation, and on the South side is bounded by a branch of the River Ivel. The Church, to which there is a Private Path from the Mansion, immediately adjoins the Estate.

Evidently the house was not sold. The sale particulars are annotated; "Bought in at £4,490" in other words, bidding reached that figure but the figure was below the reserve price.

To judge by surviving deeds Morland and Wilkinson must have sold the mansion to Abel Mellor, though the conveyance does not survive, since, in August 1857 Mellor, of Sandy Place, contracted to sell the property to Mary Elizabeth Brandreth of Kensington [Middlesex], widow for £6,000 [CCE824/19]. In the event, however, Mellor, now living in Cardington, and his mortgagee Benjamin Cherry of Inverness, joined Mary Elizabeth Brandreth, living at Sandy Place, in conveying the mansion in December that year to Henry, Earl of Effingham, Rowland Nevitt Bennett, Rev. William Howard, Sir Edward Ryan and Henry William Vincent as trustees of the will of Henry John Shepherd, deceased who had been Mary Elizabeth Brandreth's father [CCE824/18].

In July 1867 Mary Elizabeth and her trustees again put Sandy Place on the market [CCE824/21] together with seven cottages and a park of twenty acres. This was conveyed later in the year to the tenant John Nathaniel Foster for £6,040 [CCE824/22]. He died in 1895 and in 1897 his widow Mary Poole Foster conveyed Sandy Place to Dame Frances Pearce Edgcumbe, wife of Sir Edward Robert Pearce Edgcumbe of Reperry Manor [Cornwall] for £7,010 [CCE824/24]. In 1905 the Edgcumbes conveyed Sandy Place to Walter Graves of Winchester House, Old Broad Street in the City of London for £8,300 [CCE824/31]. He was an architect.

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

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Most of Bedfordshire was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting Sandye Place [DV1/C29/106] found it owned and occupied by Fanny Graves, her husband Walter being dead. The house stood in 22.720 acres and the valuer noted: "600 years old as to part". It is doubtful if any part of the current building is medieval but the house may, as noted above, stand on the foundations of the earlier manor house which may extend back that far.

The valuer measured the ground floor ceiling height as being 11 feet 9 inches. There was a wood and glass porch and the hall had an oak fireplace ("now shut off"). The hall was divided into two areas measuring 20 feet square and 14 feet 6 inches by 34 feet respectively. A morning room ("closed") measured 20 feet by 15 feet 9 inches and the drawing room 30 feet by 23 feet, having a marble mantelpiece. It was now, the valuer noted, "Drawing room cum Dining Room". A study, also with a marble mantelpiece, also measured20 feet by 15 feet 9 inches. There was a lavatory (in the sense of somewhere to wash) and a w. c. before reaching the Justice Room, a memory that the house was a manor house where manorial courts would have been held. It measured 18 feet by 20 feet but was now a kitchen with a range.

The valuer next visited four maids' bedrooms ("blocked up") measuring 10 feet 3 inches by 9 feet 3 inches, 10 feet 3 inches by 12 feet 9 inches, 17 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 9 inches and 17 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 6 inches respectively. The butler's pantry ("was a Library") measured 10 feet 3 inches by 13 feet and contained a service lift to the kitchen below. He noted: "Larder was passage"

The basement ceilings were 8 feet 6 inches high and the area contained an entry hall measuring 9 feet 9 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, a servants' hall measuring 17 feet 6 inches by 18 feet and another kitchen. This room measured 18 feet 9 inches by 20 feet, had a stone floor and an "old type range" and here the ceiling was 12 feet 6 inches high. There was also a coal place, a scullery with a stone floor measuring 10 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 3 inches and a larder measuring 10 feet 9 inches by 10 feet. A brush room measured 19 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 9 inches and another coal place, a store room, a coal house, a box room and three more store rooms completed the basement.

The first floor included a panelled staircase and the ceilings were 11 feet 3 inches high. The landing measured 42 feet 6 inches by 14 feet. A bedroom with hot and cold running water laid on measured 20 feet by 14 feet and another bedroom with a dressing room attached measured 20 feet 9 inches by 21 feet 9 inches. Other bedrooms measured 20 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches, 20 feet  6 inches by 18 feet, 12 feet 6 inches by 18 feet ("maids"), 11 feet by 17 feet  9 inches ("closed") and 21 feet by 20 feet 6 inches ("satin wood mantel"). The floor also contained a bathroom with lavatory basin measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches, a w. c., a housemaid's closet measuring 10 feet 3 inches by 5 feet  3 inches and a brush cupboard.

Brick and tile and brick and slate stabling lay outside including a shed, two loose boxes and a stall, all used for "lumber". A carriage house was used as a garage, had a brick floor and water laid on and measured 12 feet by 16 feet and 20 feet by 21 feet. A harness room had an "electric light making petrol motor and accumulator shed, "Lister" motor, 26 accumulators, a pit under the floor and a loft over.

Also outside lay a circular stone and tile ice house, a timber bride to an island in the River Ivel, lawns, box hedges, park land, a boathouse of brick, reinforced concrete and tile measuring 15 feet by 25 feet and a summer house. There was also a stone and tile summer house and a glasshouse measuring 61 feet by 14 feet with two rows of pipes, a pot house and "bothy". A wood framed glasshouse measured 9 feet by 41 feet and had two rows of pipes. A walled kitchen garden contained fruit trees and there was a timber and tiled range of buildings including a pig sty, wood house, fowl house and two storage sheds. The last range of buildings noted comprised a timber and tile store with a copper, two pigsties and a cow shed.

The valuer commented: "Many disadvantages. No central heating. Basement Kitchen etc. Very large amount of passages and waste space in house. A very expensive house to run". However, the place had its own electric light.

By 1947 Fanny Graves was dead. A letter of 1947 by the CountyArchitect [CCE824/9] describes the property, which was being considered by Bedfordshire County Council as an Old People's Home, thus: "a well built Georgian house, outbuildings, walled garden, four staff cottages, and 35 acres of grounds. The property is bounded by the River Ivel in the South, and also has a millstream running through it. The house itself has a spacious entrance hall and staircase and six rooms on the ground floor; on the first floor there are five large bedrooms and a bathroom; there is a semi-basement containing the same area as the ground floor of the house. A wing has been added containing three rooms on each floor. The outbuildings consist of loose boxes, coach house and loft over, but the roof of these premises is in a dilapidated condition. There are also several cart sheds, two summer houses and a boat house". The architect stated: "I am of opinion that it would be difficult to adapt the house for the exact purpose the Committee have in mind; that is to say, separate homes or individual flats".

Three months later the Education Committee decided to acquire the property for use as a Secondary Modern School for older children leaving the County Primary Schools in the town. The conveyance took place in July 1948 [CCE824/9] and the school opened in 1951 as Sandye Place County Secondary Modern School after sensitive conversion, not infringing the property's newly acquired ListedBuilding status.

In the 1970s Bedfordshire County Council introduced comprehensive education, doing away with the 11+ examination and grammar schools and introducing a tier of school between the old County Primary and County Secondary Schools. Thus Lower Schools now taught children aged 4 to 9, Middle Schools from 9 to 13 and Upper Schools from 13 onwards. Sandy Place County Secondary Modern School became Sandye Place Middle School in1979.

Sandye Place Middle School April 2010
Sandye Place Middle School April 2010