History of the Chedworth/Samford Estate
Samford House of Industry (1766 - 1931)
The main structure of the estate was built as a new 'house of industry' in the 18th century following reform of the way the poor people of the area were treated. Under an Act of Parliament of 1764, the more wealthy members of the Samford Hundred were made Guardians of the poor, and they were required to set up a corporation to take over the handling of all aspects of this social necessity.
The directors decided to build a new Union House in the village of Tattingstone, centrally located in the Samford Hundred. They contracted Andrew Chandler of Nacton to build the house, for the grand sum of £4029.
The doors opened on Wednesday October 1, 1766 and the primary employment of the occupiers was the spinning of yarn. Unlike the picture of workhouses painted by Dickens, the Samford House of Industry was, at times, a place which many of the poor wished to live. In fact, one favourite story is of three men who walked all the way from Edmonton, North London (the former home of a current dweller), to live at the house!
The 1881 Census stated that the house had 55 residents, including 5 staff
In 1924 it became known as the Samford Poor Law Institute.
Samford Union Workhouse (1931 - 1948)
160 years after it was founded, in 1931 the County Council took over the responsibility of running the property., renaming it the Samford Union Workhouse.
Map of Tattingstone in 1906
St Mary's Hospital (1948 - 1990)
This changed again in 1948, when the newly-formed NHS took over to look after the mainly old residents of the house, renaming it St. Mary's Hospital.
St Mary's Hospital in 1980 (approx)
The doors of the hospital finally closed in 1990, and villagers feared for the future as the centre of their village turned to rack and ruin. But, after several false starts, a builder began the process of converting the derelict site into the delightful haven we occupy today.
Line drawing by M C Dowe 20/03/2000
Chedworth Place & Samford Court today (2000 - )
The old, derelict hospital was beautifully transformed into 33 individual and privately-owned residential properties, with parking and communal gardens, all of which are Grade II listed.
Copyright- Wayne Stallwood
This summarised history of Chedworth Place and Samford Court has been gleened from Sheila Hardy's excellent book 'The House on the Hill'. More information can be found on the The Workhouse web site at www.workhouses.org.uk/Samford/