Market Square, Sandy
|North East Bedfordshire|
The River Ivel runs through Sandy. The dedication of the parish church is to St Swithun.
Sandy is probably best known today as the headquarters of the RSPB. The Society moved to The Lodge, on the outskirts of the town in 1961.
The Shuttleworth Collection of vintage aircraft is also nearby, about 2 miles south-west of Sandy.
The parish church is St Swithun. It has rich stained glass windows. The church has connections with the Pym and Peel families, and within is a statue of Sir William Peel.
An archaeological dig in May 2006 revealed that the town's ancestors may date back further than 250 BC.
Sandy was originally a Roman settlement and was probably an important trading centre and staging post in the Roman era. An ancient hill fort, now heavily wooded and known as "Caesar's Camp" although more commonly called "The Sand Hills" or "The Lookout", still overlooks the town.
Domesday Book entry
In the Domesday Book (1086) Sandy is named as Sandeia, a derivation from the Old English Sandieg, meaning a sand-island. The Domesday Book states that Sandy was held by Eudo Fitzhubert, possibly an English tenant. He may also have been Eudo the Dapifer, who was a High Steward for William the Conqueror based in Colchester Castle.
In addition the Domesday Book stated there were two mills (both of which would have been water-powered). There are still references to one of them in the road name "Mill Lane" which runs along the river Ivel however the mill has since been replaced by housing. Further down the river from the site where the mill once stood is Sandye Place Middle School where it is believed there was a Danish camp which was built to protect Danelaw in 886.