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Sandhurst (St. Michael)

SANDHURST (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Easthampstead, hundred of Sonning, county of Berks, 5¼ miles (S. by E.) from Wokingham; containing 562 inhabitants. It comprises 4413a. 30p., of which 1812 acres are common or waste land. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £72; patron, the Bishop of Oxford: the tithes have been commuted for £150, and there is an impropriate glebe of 39½ acres.

In this parish is the Royal Military College for the scientific instruction of cadets intended for the army, and of officers already possessing military commissions. The two branches of the institution were first temporarily placed at High Wycombe in 1799, and transferred to Great Marlow in 1802 by their founder, the late Duke of York, on a plan furnished by Major-General J. G. Le March ant, who fell gallantly fighting at the battle of Salamanca. In 1812, the establishment was removed to the present magnificent structure, which had been erected at the national expense, and in which, since the year 1820, both divisions of the institution have been concentrated. The senior department is a school for the staff, where officers of all ranks already in the service are admitted to study; the junior branch is appropriated to the professional education of young gentlemen intended for the cavalry and infantry. Since its foundation the college has afforded instruction to above 3000 young men for the service, besides qualifying above 450 other officers for the staff. It is controlled by a board of commissioners under the presidency of the commander in chief, consisting of the secretary-at-war, the mastergeneral of the ordnance, and the principal general officers on the home staff of the army; but the immediate government is vested in a general, a colonel as lieutenantgovernor, and other officers.

The college stands in the midst of extensive and picturesque grounds, with a fine sheet of water in front, and surrounded by many thriving plantations. The edifice, which has a fine Doric portico of eight columns, is of a simple but majestic character, and calculated for the reception of 400 gentlemen cadets, and 30 students of the senior department. The length of the main building is 434 feet, and of the whole principal façade not less than 900. The house of the governor stands in its own grounds: that of the lieutenant-governor closes the western extremity of the front range; and the quarters of the officers of the establishment form, with the main building, a square in its rear; while the masters' houses, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile in front, are built on a terrace overlooking the high western road. There are a well-situated observatory, and a riding-house 110 feet by 50, both detached; and the principal edifice, besides the halls of study, dininghalls, dormitories, and servants' offices, contains a handsome octagonal room in which the public examinations are held, and a neat and chastely decorated chapel.


Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.