The history of this hamlet slowly unfolds. This is the first revision of the original article and adds more details about the historic ownership of the land, comments on the Red Lion, Cherry Orchard and a few other things.
Despite the apparent antiquity of the place, it must to be understood that East Sands is not one of the historic hamlets that made up the greater village of Burbage. Unlike Westcourt, Eastcourt, Stibb etc., East Sands is not ancient as it was the creation, mainly during 1850s, of Victorian speculators and was to be the last major private housing development in the parish for 100 years. It was not the first such development (parts of Eastcourt holds that title) and was probably as controversial in its time as the 20th century Blakes, Edgeborough and Parish Homes estates. By 7th April 1864 (the beginning of a tax year) the development would seem to be complete.
Maps show and census returns tell us that up until the 1850s the area of the parish east of the High Street and Seymour area, and south of Eastcourt (that is south from and including Barn Meadow) contained only Kinwardstone Farm and its associated cottages, the farm cottage near Suddene Farm and the two buildings at Cherry Orchard. The latter lie at the junction of two important tracks: from the north comes Fir Green Lane to join the east/west running Sudden Drove (also sometimes even then known as East Sands Lane) which was at that time the main route from the village to Bedwyn. The existence of these ancient roads probably help explain why someone chose to develop the field lying next to the drove - it was not then the sleepy cul-de-sac we see today.
Historically the two cottages at Cherry Orchard and the cottage towards Sudden Farm have at various times been considered part of East Sands and were collectively known as such in 1841. Despite their scattered locations and remoteness from the area developed during Victorian times, I will consider them as part of a greater East Sands during this article.
The name comes from the old open fields and simply described the land - it has a sandy soil and lies in the east of the Parish. It had been enclosed before 1720, possibly in about 1600 when the main belt of land in the centre of the parish seems to have been 'improved'.
With regard to the main part of East Sands, the earliest reference I have so far been able to find is on the 1822 Inclosure Award when the field (plot 418 on the map below) is shown as belonging to William Tanner. On October 30th 1841 Tanner sold it to Reverend John Hearne Pinckeney who, in 1843 rented this arable field to John Highett. In November 1844 the Reverend sold it to Philip Jackman who appears to have defaulted on the mortgage the Reverend had provided and so on December 19th 1845 the Reverend sold it to John Choules of East Grafton for £350.
John Choules also seems to had trouble keeping up his mortgage payments and on 9th July 1853 sold plot 1 below to William Edwards of Bottlesford for £45, the money being paid directly to pay off some of his debts. On the transaction it is noted that the "said William Edwards has lately erected and built two messuages or tenements". From this we learn that what was to become the Red Lion was built between 1851 and 1853.
July 28th saw the final split in the history of this field when William Edwards completed the purchase of the rest of the land from Choules but sold the above plot, including the two houses, to James Spicer, Wharfinger, of Burbage for £210. However it was not the entire plot as one third (a strip to the west) was retained and explains why the current western boundary follows the wall of the building. The history of this single plot then follows that of the Red Lion which is told below. Of the rest it appears that by 1863 it was either owned by Nathaniel Waight who split the plot into long strips of irregular sizes and sold some them to developers or, the splitting was done when William Edwards sold the land with Waight simply being the purchaser of the largest plot.
From east to west the new owners in April 1864 were:
The names in bold also occupied the house or one of the houses on his plot.
East Sands - OS Sheet XXXVI 15 1900; scale 1:2500
Notes: - The map does not show all the original plot boundaries; all plots had parallel fences to those shown on this map. For plot 6 it was immediately east of its building with the land then being divided roughly equally between plots 2 - 5. Plot 8's eastern fence went behind Long Rows outhouse blocks to the northern fence.
The later tithe records show that a house was built on each of the plots 2 through 5 and this is reflected in the figures shown in the table below. However by 1891 these had gone, not to be replaced until well into the 20th century. What happened to them? I do not know at present and further research is needed. Whatever their fate, it seems that they had passed to Marquis's ownership by this time as this would explain why estate numbers 106 to 110 do not appear on the 1891 census.
At some time before 1891 Nathaniel Waight sold his properties to the Marquis of Ailesbury. In the great sale of July 1932 the Marquis put up for sale the first 4 cottages of Long Row (111-114) and the shop at the bottom of Long Row (123 - the one with the post box) . The sale details states the following regarding access: "A right of way over this lot [i.e. No 123] for all purposes is reserved in favour of cottages 111-122 [i.e. Long Row] inclusive, and also for cottages 124-126 [i.e. rear access to the others in the terrace fronting East Sands Road] inclusive, the majority of which are not included in this sale.". [It should be noted that any numbered houses in the village at this time belonged to the Savernake Estate, others were simply referred to as cottages or "Mary Ruddle's house" etc.]. It seems that Frederick Gent, tenant of Wolfhall farm and owner of Sudden farm bought the 4 houses in Long Row but after his death they were again offered for sale in the combined auction of Sudden Farm and his other properties in September 1938 (also see Short Row below)
Population of greater East Sands 1841 - 1901
Number of Dwellings in greater East Sands 1841 - 1910
Key to the charts' columns
A number of business have been run from these houses - tailors, bakers, dressmakers, shopkeepers - and many can be seen from the analysis of Trade Directories which must suffice for the moment. Two have left physical reminders of their presence: The extension of 123 which was its shop and the Red Lion itself. On the latter the extension near the road was also a shop before being converted into an addition to the "smoke room" in 1933 and then to the pub's toilets some time later. However some mystery surrounds the following:
It would seem he was a shopkeeper of acceptable social status as between 1863 and 1866 he redeemed tickets issued by the Burbage Adults and Children Clothing and Coal Club. But where was Bristol House? The date is just over 3 years after the building up of this area had been completed and I can only suggest 2 possibilities:
By necessity, this is only a basic outline of this pub's history - more will be added later.
The first reference to the Red Lion I have been able to find is the 1867 Kelly's Trade Directory, four years after Jonathan Glass Stone bought the plot, and two other unidentified cottages, from James Spicer in March 1863. As has been said above, the plot already contained two houses and I believe that Mr. Stone lived in one and Mr. Cane lived and ran his shop from the other. One can only assume that the new developments in the adjacent plots made the concept of a local shop feasible. I believe that in 1867, after Cane had sold up and vacated his house, Stone opened the beerhouse and retained a shop within it. Whether the street-side extension was built at this time to house the shop or if it was build previously by Cane we shall probably never know.
In 1884 Stone retired and on March 27th of that year leased the beerhouse to Edmund Parfitt (a brewer and owner of the Atlas Brewery in Newbury) for 14 years at £35 a year.
Parfitt obviously liked what he was leasing as on May 1st 1891 he bought the business for £500. In the meantime from Kelly's in 1895 we see that John Lee was the landlord and shopkeeper at the premises. At some time the Atlas Brewery became Hawkins & Parfitt and then, by 1910, The South Berkshire Brewery Company of Reading who retained ownership until at least 1933. Sometime after it was bought by Wadworth of Devizes who owned it at its closure in 1993[?]. However, in 1932, for some reason the brewery bought the fields to the east (plot 412 above and others adjacent) from a land speculator from Yorkshire who had bought up plots throughout the area during the Savernake Estate Sales earlier that year. This land passed to Wadworth who sold it on to the Village Hall Committee. They in turn sold off some small portions but still own most of it and today rent it out to the Burbage & Easton Royal Sports Club for use as tennis courts, cricket and sports fields
After the closure as a public house (I believe it obtained a full license in the 1960s thus elevating it from the status of beerhouse) it was converted into the Loaves and Fishes restaurant - a business of very high repute. Sadly the business did not flourish and was closed a couple of years later when the premises were sold and converted into the domestic dwelling we see today.
At present I know of the following:
The Drum and Monkey
Many pubs have nicknames and I have come across three versions, one from 1956 and two from 1962, of why the Red Lion was known as the Drum and Monkey:
The first is from the WI Scrap Book:
The Red Lion is known locally as the Drum and Monkey because a son of the licensee named Lee about the turn of the century possessed both a drum and a monkey, brough back from military service abroad, which caused a great deal of entertainment at the time."
The second, from an anonymous reader of the Marlborough Times who says:
"... the origin of the Red Lion's odd name, the Drum and Monk[key] ... is that years ago every Christmas the young men of the village used to dress up and have black faces and go around to all the pubs with drums and tambourines etc. These men were called Mummers. The landlord at the time had a pet monkey and the drums frightened it so that the monkey bolted up the chimney - hence the name Drum and Monk."
The then landlord, J.R. Brooker has a different story:
"The Red Lion gained its name the Drum and Monkey four landlords ago. To enable the gentleman to run the pub and his small holding together, a tame monkey in the taproom informed him of the presence of customers by beating a toy drum."
But what of terrace of 6 cottages in Short Row (plot 9)? Taxation records show that by 1910 they had passed down to William Charles Davis of Beckhampton who sold them to Fred Gent of Wolfhall Farm on 30th July 1912. In 1910 the tenants were James Vallis, Mrs. White, George Wheeler, John Burrough, E Phillips and Jesse Coombs. As mentioned above, after Mr. Gent's death they were sold by auction in September 1938 (by which time they were advertised as being 7 cottages; the table above shows that at times during the 19th century it had also contained 7 dwellings) together with Sudden Farm, a field near Wolfhall and the first 4 cottages in Long Row. Their onward future has yet to be determined but they were demolished in the early 1960s and the plot redeveloped to house the bungalow, No. 7, which lies between the village stores and Violet's Cottage.
East Sands and Short Row, 1907 ....
.... and a similar few in 1995
Emily Long (nee Laws) of Short Row with her sister Ethel Hodges outside her house at 115 Long Row, East Sands in about 1947
The 1960s onwards saw many other changes in East Sands; The allotments shown on the above map as plot 420 were sold by the Crown and a row of bungalows built on them in about 1966 (their long gardens are consistent with the view at that time that each household needed land to grow their own vegetables; how many houses would they build on such a plot today?); the old Swindon Town Supports Club hut was acquired and erected as the Scout Hut; in about 1965 Mr. Mundy built a bungalow and moved his coal business from Wexcombe to East Sands; at the western end of the street a bungalow was erected which for a time was the doctor's surgery and a shop was soon built next door; the Village Hall Committee bought the field next to the Red Lion and it became home to the Burbage & Easton Royal Sport Club; the Play Group had previously moved to the Scout Hut from the school rooms of the Methodist Chapel but currently plan to move to new accommodation at Burbage School in 2003 leaving the long term future of the Scout Hut unsure; and finally Hirata arrived at the new Industrial Park situated in the field between East Sands and the Grafton Road (plots 421 & 422 on the map above) Click here to visit their web site and find out what they do.
I shall leave you with a final observation and a plea:In the 1960s "Wayfarer" wrote articles in the Marlborough Times about the villages in the area. His piece about Burbage was published in April 1962 and included references to the Red Lion at East Sands which led the landlord, J.R. Brooker, to first add his version of why the pub was known as the Drum and Monkey and then reproach the author for his description of the area - "East Sands is not a dreary hamlet with Council Houses; it has no Council Houses and of its 25 residences, 22 are owner occupied.". To an outsider it would seem logical that the nearby council development that was then Lavington Close would be classed as part of East Sands, especially as they were far closer to East Sands than anywhere else at that time. But obviously the residents would have none of it!
If you have any additional information, pictures or stories about East Sands PLEASE let me know. There is still much to flesh out about this hamlet - especially the later years. I am turning my attention to prepare similar articles on other parts of the village and will only be revising this article in the short term if pictures or information from other people comes to my attention.
©Colin Younger 2007