Chapter Seven (Continuation)
So it was that the lands and possessions of Durandus’s foundation in the Maltby Valley came into the hands of the ruthless members of the new merchant class bent only on making money. Such men were a far cry from the two Richards who in their piety and sagacity gave the lands originally, and from such as the first Idonea di Vipont who gave her Sandbeck Manor before 1241 to the Abbot and Chapter of the Abbey.
The entrepreneurs were bent on pushing forward their new economic order based on individual gain. They were of varied backgrounds. Among those invited by Henry’s Court of Augmentation to deal with Roche and Sandbeck were London financiers, farmers, a vintner, a fishmonger, a surgeon, and a cloth-maker. Most of them hailed from distant London. The syndicate purchased the whole of the estates.
The 2nd Duke of Cumberland appears to have acquired the Roche Estate for a short time. He had inherited his Fathers Estates which included Maltby Manor with its farms and houses, water mills, pastures and a meadow of two hundred acres. However, the Cumberlands’ interest in Maltby and Roche ended quickly. The 3rd Duke wasted his fortune in horse racing, ship building, tilting and other extravagant pursuits. Hewet, a London clothier, bought up the spendthrift Earl’s possessions at Roche and also the Manor of Sandbeck.
From Hewet Sandbeck passed to other speculators.In 1545 Richard Turke, described as a citizen and Alderman of London, bought the Manors from Hewet for a sum of £833. 6s. 8d. All this took place within six years of the dissolution of Roche. The Duke of Cumberland’s own Maltby Manor was sold off in 1585 to a local family, the Stanhopes.
The most ruthless and power full of the new entrepreneurs – men like Turke and Hewet – consolidated their new-found wealth. Little by little the new pattern of estates and farms took shape in Maltby, Roche and Sandbeck. After the initial dismembering of the estates there was a time of consolidation in which substantial farmers and yeomen took part.
Among these ‘substantial farmers’ was Nicholas Saunderson. Nicholas was a member of an old Lincolnshire family. The Saundersons originated in County Durham in the Fourteenth Century. Later the family moved South and bought land at Tickhill and Maltby. Nicholas died in 1556. Before he died. he contributed to his family’s fortunes. He acquired land in South Yorkshire and in his native Lincolnshire at Rearsby and Saxby. He made a propitious marriage with Agnes Sandon of Partney in Lincolnshire.
Nicholas’s son Robert Saunderson died in 1582. He was described by the South Yorkshire historian Joseph Hunter as the ‘great advancer of his family’. But the father had already begun the process of converting the family from purely farming pursuits to a way of life based on the ownership of land. Robert made a major step in the creation of what came to be a typical Eighteenth Century English country estate. Sandbeck Manor, once the possession of the noble Idonea di Vipont, and through her gift in the ownership of the Roche monks for a long time, once more came to have a permanent owner.
Robert Saundersons purchase of Sandbeck was shrewd and far-seeing. The Manor was aesthetically perfect for the centre of an English Country Estate. Robert also bought neighbouring lands. Sandbeck and the other lands had all been in the ownership of the London entrepreneur, Richard Turke. The change came in 1549 only ten years after the dissolution of the monasteries. There are times in history when profound changes take place very swiftly.
A Manor House had been provided at Sandbeck for the Manor given by Idonea to the Monks. But Robert continued in his simple farming life in Lincolnshire. He lived at the village of Fillingham, North of Lincoln, on the ‘Lincoln Ridge’. When Robert died on 1582, aged 63, his widow Catherine went to live at Sandbeck Manor House. She had married a second husband.
Robert had indeed been the ‘consolidator’ of the growing Sandbeck Estate. He was the shrewd businessman. In Saxby Church, Lincolnshire, there is a graceful monument in his memory. It records the building of two houses at Fillingham. It then describes Robert. He was a Commissioner of the Peace. He purchased the ‘Lordship of Saxby’, and was a man of good hospitality. The memorial highlights his piety, ‘leaving a house of clay for a mansion of glory, he died at Fillingham, November 2nd, 1582. In his lifetime, he prospered in his way’. If social and economic change had come to England, men like Robert Saunderson were the best to control and direct.
Robert and Catherine had six children. The heir was another Nicholas. Born in 1564, he added honours and titles to his family. Fortune was with him. He inherited Lincolnshire estates from a cousin. He married Dame Mildred Hultoft, a Boston heiress. From the time he inherited Sandbeck until his death he added to the Maltby Estates. In 1627 he purchased the Roche Estate, which had been lost by the spendthrift 3rd Duke of Cumberland. Nicholas also bought Maltby Manor with its beautiful Elizabethan Manor House.
The house survived until the 1950s. It had come into the possession of Maltby Urban District Council. The house was allowed to decay beyond recovery. It was the only remaining example of Elizabethan domestic architecture in Maltby.