Sanderstead Court, Surrey

Sanderstead Court, 1818

Sanderstead Court is located  in Surrey, England, just south of London. The manse pictured here, was home to the Wood (Atwood, Atte Wode) family for about 300 years, dating to 1586, and the property came to the family in 1346. Local evidence has been found pre-dating Anglo-Saxon times, to the Roman occupation and the Bronze Age. Here is info from Sanderstead Parish found at–

The first recording of Sanderstead can be found in the will of Duke Alfred in 871. On his death he left 32 hides within Sanderstead and Selsdon. About 964 AD, Ethelfleda, daughter of Earl Ordmar, first wife of King Edgar and mother of Edward, King and Martyr, gave the manor of Sanderstead, with eighteen hides, to the Abbott and Convent of St Peter’s, Hyde, Winchester. There is a tradition that there was a Saxon church on the site of the present Parish Church (built in the 1200’s) and there is a little evidence that some older masonry was used in building the church.

Sanderstead is mentioned in the Domesday book, being in the Wallington Hundred, with land for 10 ploughs, 21 “villagers” i.e. heads of families and 1 cottager, and enough woodland to graze 300 pigs.

Sanderstead Court, 1880

In 1346 Justice Peter Atte Wood (Atte Wode) purchased land in Sanderstead, and began improvements to the property. The family sponsored the Sanderstead Parish Church, next door to Sanderstead Court. Nicholas Atwood (1538-1586) served Queen Elizabeth since the second year of her reign. Five generations after Peter, John Atwood  (1576–1644), who would become Assistant Governor of the Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, spent his childhood at Sanderstead Court. Here is more info from British History Online:

In the Domesday Survey SANDERSTEAD was found to belong to the abbey of St. Peter of Hyde at Winchester. (fn. 4) The manors of Sanderstead and Warlingham were contiguous and the ill-defined boundary led to much quarrelling between the Abbot of Hyde and the Abbot of Bermondsey, who were lords of the adjoining manors. In 1272 there was a lawsuit between them to establish the proper boundaries, the Abbot of Bermondsey complaining that his neighbour had taken 16 acres of land in one place and a rood and a half in another. (fn. 5) In 1276 the Abbot of Hyde impleaded the Prior of Bermondsey for setting up a gallows within his manor of Sanderstead, the prior maintaining that it was within his own manor of Warlingham. (fn. 6) At the taxation of Pope Nicholas the manor was valued at £16 2s. 3¾d., (fn. 7) and in the same year its lands were augmented by the grant of a carucate of land from John de la Sale. (fn. 8) In 1310 the abbot granted an annuity from the manor to Master Jordan Morant, (fn. 9) and in 1339 Richard Woodstock paid 5 marks for the king’s licence to retain the manor. (fn. 10) The abbot and convent appear to have always let the manor on short leases; in 1323–4 they received licence to lease it with appurtenances, except the advowson, to Walter Bishop of Exeter for ten years at a yearly rent of £20. (fn. 11) In 1348 they had let it at farm to Nicholas and Thomas de Chynham, who refused to pay the fifteenth of wool, which in addition to the tenth had been granted by the people of England to the king, asserting that church lands paid only the tenth. (fn. 12) Sanderstead continued the property of Hyde Abbey until 1538, when the abbot surrendered to Henry VIII. (fn. 13) The following year the king granted the manor to John Gresham (fn. 14) (Lord Mayor of London in 1537) and renewed the grant in fee in 1545. (fn. 15) He was knighted in 1546 and before his death, ten years later, (fn. 16) he devised the estate by will to his wife Katherine for her life with remainder to his third son Edmund and his heirs male. (fn. 17) Edmund died in 1586 and left the manor by will to his son Richard and his heirs. (fn. 18) In 1590–1 Richard sold it to John Ownsted (fn. 19) (sergeant of the carriages of Queen Elizabeth) (fn. 20) and Joan his wife. John Ownsted died seised in 1600. Having no issue he devised Sanderstead to his wife Margaret for life. After her death his sisters Anne Knepp and Joyce Holloway were to have one third and his cousin Harman Atwood the remaining two thirds. (fn. 21) By 1618 Harman Atwood had bought the moieties of the one third from John Ownsted’s sisters or their heirs, (fn. 22) and in 1653 he died seised of the whole. (fn. 23) He was succeeded by his fourth son Harman, who died in February 1676–7. The estate remained in the Atwood family until 1759, (fn. 24) when John Atwood died without issue, having devised it to his wife for her life with remainder to his nephew Thomas Wigsell, an attorney of New Inn, London, who died in 1778. The estate then became the property in turn of his nephews Atwood Wigsell and the Rev. Thomas Wigsell and of his niece Susannah, who all died without issue, and in 1807 it devolved on Atwood Wigsell Taylor, who assumed the name of Wigsell. He died in 1821 and was succeeded by his son Colonel Wigsell, who died after 1880. His successor was Captain F. Wigsell Arkwright, who died about 1902, and the present lord of the manor is Mr. E. F. Wigsell Arkwright. (fn. 25)

It appears that the Abbots of Hyde had a grange attached to the manor, which was pulled down at the dissolution of the monastery. The well remains, 350 ft. deep. A manor-house called Sanderstead Place was built out of the materials, and perhaps on the site of the grange, which was south-west of Sanderstead Court. It was pulled down about 1800. The present manor-house, called Sanderstead Court, was rebuilt by Harman Atwood, and has his initials and arms and the date 1676 carved above the entrance doorway. (fn. 26) He died 16 February 1676–7, and must have rebuilt it within a year of his death. There was evidently an earlier house, as the Atwoods are described as of Sanderstead Court in 1586. (fn. 27) The house contains a great hall dating from the 16th century, but decorated in the 18th century. This is two-storied and has fluted columns with Corinthian capitals. The moulded brick chimneys are worth notice. Some years ago a secret chamber is said to have been discovered behind the chimney of the hall. It was, however, partially closed up and may have been nothing more than the recess of a great open fireplace. There is a room called ‘the Queen’s room,’ in which Queen Elizabeth is said to have slept, but it is doubtful if the room is of so early a date.


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4 Responses to Sanderstead Court, Surrey

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am a descendant of Peter Atte Wode. A wonderful post, thank you!
    -Elizabeth (Atwood)

  2. BA says:

    Thanks for this!
    As an Atwood, this is so helpful.
    Barry Atwood

  3. Wayne Cooke says:

    Very interesting. I am a descendant (along with, I am sure thousands and thousands of others) of Peter Atte Wode, through John Atwood and Joan Coleson. I just met a cousin, an Atwood and on Sunday we are going to get together and figure out exactly how we are related. Exciting.

    • Jim says:

      I am descended through John/Joan through their son Henry Wood who purchased land in what is now Middleborough, MA where he is buried. Middleborough and Surrey have now made there way onto my ‘bucket list’.

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