Place:Sandhurst, Berkshire, England

TypeTown, Civil parish
Coordinates51.35°N 0.8°W
Located inBerkshire, England
See alsoEasthampstead Rural, Berkshire, Englandrural district of which the parish was a part 1894-1974
Bracknell District, Berkshire, Englandadministrative district which the parish joined in 1974
Bracknell Forest, Berkshire, Englandunitary authority which the district became in 1998
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Sandhurst is a small town and civil parish in England of almost 8,000 homes and more than 20,000 inhabitants (2001 Census data). The town is primarily domiciliary in nature with a few light industries. It is in the south eastern corner of the ceremonial Royal County of Berkshire, within the Borough of Bracknell Forest, and is situated 33 miles (53 km) south west of central London, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north west of Camberley and 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Bracknell.

Sandhurst is known worldwide as the location of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (often referred to simply as "Sandhurst" or "The RMA"). The Royal Military Academy was established in 1947 on the same site as the Royal Military College built in 1813. (The Royal Military Collage has a longer history in other locations.)

Sandhurst was part of the Sonning Hundred and the Easthampstead Poor Law Union. The parish was located in the Easthampstead Rural District 1894-1974, and since that date in Bracknell administrative district and Bracknell Forest unitary authority.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Saxon and Medieval periods

The name of the village is Anglo-Saxon and originates from the sandy soils and the hurst (a wooded eminence) of the area. In early 14th century records, Sandhurst appears as part of township of Sonning, a large minster parish spreading over much of eastern Berkshire, which later became a hundred when its villages obtained their own churches. These lands belonged to the Bishops of Salisbury. There were two manors in Sandhurst: ‘Hall’ in the grounds of what is now the Royal Military Academy and ‘Sandhurst’ on the site of Sandhurst Lodge. Nothing remains of the original buildings.

Tudor to Georgian periods

In the early modern era, Sandhurst parish was a small farming community on the very edge of Windsor Forest, Sandhurst Walke being an important forest division subject to forest laws.[1] Locals had the right to cut turf, bracken, heather and wood that was primarily cultivated to feed the forest deer. These were hunted by Royal parties from a hunting lodge in the vicinity of Hart's Leap Road.[1] A number of disputes are on record, showing how Sandhurst people sometimes took more resources than was allowed.

Farming has always remained a major part of village life here and some defunct farms are still remembered in the names of housing estates, roads and even a restaurant: Sandhurst Farm, Snaprails, Caves Farm, Ambarrow Farm, College Farm, Rectory Farm, Beech Farm and Rackstraws Farm. In the mid-16th century, William, Lord Sandys, the Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, owned a supposed manor called 'Buckhurst' in the area between College Town and Central Sandhurst.

Victorian and Modern periods

Life changed very little in Sandhurst until the 19th century when large sections of land were sold for the building of the Royal Military College, which moved from Marlow in 1812.[1]

The railway arrived in 1849 and a number of large country residences were subsequently erected in the area: amongst them, Harts Leap, Forest End, St Helens Upland, The Warren, Longdown Lodge, Ryefield, Snaprails, and Ambarrow Court. Sandhurst Lodge was erected in about 1858 by Robert Gibson and leased to John Walter, of the Times Newspaper, and then Sir William Farrer, solicitor to Queen Victoria and The Duke of Wellington. Perry Hill and The Ceders came later. Only a few remain today. The others have been demolished and land developed.

Such large houses and institutions, including the Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane and Wellington College in nearby Crowthorne, led to a great expansion of the local population as people moved into the area looking for work. Further residential housing was erected for these workers, as well as more schools for their children, more places of worship and other community resources.

  • St. Michael's Parish Church, Little Sandhurst, dates from the 13th century, but was largely rebuilt in 1853.
  • The Baptist Church, Central Sandhurst, was built in 1884.
  • The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Central Sandhurst, followed in 1906.
  • The Parish Church of St George's [1], Owlsmoor, was built as a wooden structure in 1960 and was rebuilt in 1993.
  • The Roman Catholic Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Yorktown Road, was built in 1959.

St. Michael's Church of England School, Little Sandhurst, was opened in 1862 and other schools followed in quick succession:

  • Old Scotland Hill, Little Sandhurst, in 1871,
  • The Methodist, Central Sandhurst, in 1906,
  • College Town in 1907,
  • Uplands, Central Sandhurst, in 1962 and
  • Owlsmoor Primary was added in 1974.

Until Sandhurst Comprehensive – now Sandhurst School – was built in 1969 in Owlsmoor, Secondary-age pupils were sent to Edgbarrow School in Crowthorne, Forest Grammar School for boys in Winnersh or Holt School for girls in Wokingham.

From the late 1950s to the 80s, large housing estates have been built creating the conglomerate town of today from the original four villages of College Town, (Central)Sandhurst, Little Sandhurst and Owlsmoor.

Research Tips


  • GENUKI's collection of maps for Berkshire. For basic reference are the two online maps Berkshire Parishes (highly recommended) and Berkshire Poor Law Union areas. These locate the individual parishes and indicate the urban and rural districts to which each belonged. There are many other maps listed, some covering specific parts of the county.
  • Wikipedia's outline map of the unitary authorities, shown on many of their Berkshire pages, shows how the new divisions of government relate to the former districts. It has to be remembered that the county was reshaped in 1974 with the urban and rural districts of Abingdon and Faringdon and part of Wantage going to Oxfordshire, and the Borough of Slough (with Eton) coming in from Buckinghamshire. Every attempt is being made to indicate here in WeRelate the civil parishes, towns and villages for which these transfers occurred. Currently there are maps to be found on place pages that deal with civil parishes that transferred from Buckinghamshire into Berkshire. It is planned to provide maps within WeRelate for places that transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire--a much wider geographical area.
  • The extensive collection provided by Genmaps is provided free of charge online (currently offline, March 2016).
  • The Ordnance Survey has produced an up-to-date map of the boundaries of all the post-1974 districts throughout the country. This also shows the electoral constituency boundaries which are destined to change before 2020.

Online Historical References

  • Berkshire Record Office. The Berkshire Record Office [BRO] was established in 1948 to locate and preserve records relating to the county of Berkshire and its people, and anyone who is interested in the county's past. As well as original documents, catalogues and indexes, there is a library at the Record Office.
  • Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre. "The Berks FHS Centre can help you - wherever your ancestors came from. There is a Research Centre Library open to all."
  • West Berkshire Museum, Newbury, is housed in a building with an interesting past, but is currently closed for redevelopment. No information on their collections.
  • The GENUKI provision for Berkshire has been updated more recently than that for some of the other counties. A member of the Berkshire Family History Society is credited with this revision.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Berkshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. Alterations required to cover the post-1974 period have not been carried out for every parish concerned.
  • Brett Langston's list of Registration Districts in Berkshire will lead to specific parishes with dates.
  • Local History Online is a compilation of websites from Berkshire local history clubs, societies and associations.
  • The Berkshire section of The Victoria History of the Counties of England, in four volumes, is provided by British History Online. Volumes 3 and 4 provide an extensive history of the county, parish by parish, up to the end of the 19th century. There are local maps illustrating the text. Manors and their owners are discussed. Parishes are arranged in their original "hundreds"; the hundred for each placename in the Berkshire section of WeRelate will eventually be available.

Nineteenth Century Local Administration

English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.

During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.

Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Sandhurst, Berkshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.