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Park and Shepherd Meadows
Sandhurst is situated on the river Blackwater in the south east of the Royal County of Berkshire close to the boundaries of Hampshire and Surrey. It is a town of about 7500 houses and 22,000 inhabitants. It has its own Town Council and is divided into four wards, Central Sandhurst, Little Sandhurst, College Town and Owlsmoor. It is part of Bracknell Forest Borough, the town of Bracknell being approximately seven miles to the north.
One of the earliest records of Sandhurst is in the Sonning Hundreds of 1316 when it belonged to the Bishop of Salisbury. In 1354 there is a record of a manor but no great house existed-only the small sub manor houses, one in the grounds of what is now the Royal Military Academy and the other on the site of Sandhurst Lodge. Nothing remains of either building. Part of the area between College Town and Central Sandhurst was owned by Sir William Sandy, Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII from 1526 to 1540. Sandhurst was a small farming community. As part of Windsor Forest and subject to forest laws, local people therefore had right to cut turf, heather, bracken and wood that has been cultivated to feed the forest deer. There are records of disputes that were caused by locals taking wood other than that which was allowed.
Farming continued to be a major part of village life. Some of the farms are still remembered in the names of housing estates, roads and a restaurant - Sandhurst Farm, Snaprails, Caves Farm, Ambarrow Farm, College Farm, Rectory Farm, Beech farm and Rackstraws Farm.
Very little changed until the 1800's when large sections of land were sold for the building of the Royal Military College in 1812. The railway arrived in 1849, in 1856 Wellington College was built and Broadmoor Asylum in 1863. Large houses were built- Sandhurst Lodge in about 1858 by Robert Gibson, and leased to John Walter, founder of the Times Newspaper and also Sir William Farrer, solicitor to Queen Victoria and the Duke of Wellington. Other large houses included Harts Leap; Forest End; St Helens Upland; The Warren; Longdown Lodge; Ryefield; Snaprails and Ambarrow Court. Perry Hill and The Ceders came later. Only a few remain today. The others have been demolished and land developed.
The local population expanded with the arrival of the railways, College, Institutions and large houses. More houses were necessary for the workers, more schools for the children and more churches built. A Parish church existed on the site of St Michael's Parish Church from the 13th century and the present church was rebuilt in 1853. The Baptist Church was built in 1884 and the Weslyan Methodist followed in 1906. The Catholic Church was completed in 1960 and St George's Owlsmoor in 1993.
Sandhurst now has nine public houses the oldest being the Rose and Crown in the High Street, at one time a Simmonds house. The Simmonds family had land in the village and owned a brewery which supplied beer and ale to the RMA and , indeed to much of the British Army in all parts of the world.
In 1862 St Michael's Church of England school was opened. Other schools followed, Old Scotland Hill in 1871, The Methodist in 1906 and College Town in 1907. Uplands and Owlsmoor primaries were added in 1962 and 1974. Secondary pupils were sent to Camberley and Bracknell until 1969 when Sandhurst Comprehensive was built. Situated in Owlsmoor Road it is now Sandhurst School.
Through the late fifties into the eighties large housing estates were built resulting in the Sandhurst we know today. The town has numerous clubs, groups and societies, a recently refurbished library, a very popular day centre and a fine area of playing fields on the Memorial Park. Our Council offices and community centre are also situated on the Memorial Park.
Researched by the Sandhurst Historical Society Research Group.
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