Ordering their estate: The Sanfords of Nynehead Court

24 October, 2018 - 19:30
Somerset Heritage Centre, TAUNTON, TA2 6SF
Armorial window in Nynehead court

Autumn: season of interesting events


The Sanfords had a large estate in West Somerset and a fine house at Nynehead Court where the remains of their extensive gardens and landscaped grounds can still be seen. One survivor is the great bridge over the river, which was at one time dammed to form a great lake. The large Sanford archive is of national importance including political and cultural correspondence and some remarkable early recipes. The Sanfords were also prominent in forming and maintaining the Somerset Archaeological Society.

Few know more about the Sanfords than David Rabson .


If you missed the talk David Rabson took us through the history of the family and the estate looking especially William Ayshford Sanford, his son Edward and grandson William. He detailed the changes they brought about in the heart of their estate based on Nynehead Court especially the manipulating of the river Tone to create a great river with triple arched bridge in the early 19th century.

They were assisted by two able land agents Charles Bailey father and son especially the multi-talented son who acquired impressive mansions in London and North Devon. Nynehead school, the Hollow and many fine houses on the estate are a tribute to the Sanfords interest in their neighbourhood.

Less well known is the work of the family away from Nynehead from the North Walk to the Valley of the Rocks at Lynton to a school in Western Australia where both the younger William and his brother Henry spent some time. Especially interesting was to see the development of the family’s land in Deptford just north of New Cross and cut up by many railway lines. Here Upcott, Lovelinch, Chubworthy, Chipley, Sanford and Nynehead Streets among many others were developed with terraces of working class housing, some with bay windows and decorative attic gables. Sadly the area has been demolished but some of the streets survive lined with dreary council houses and flats. It was a very interesting evening.