by Jane Kirk - Village Recorder
Samford Court and Chedworth Place were created from the buildings which were formerly the Samford House of Industry which opened in 1766 to provide housing and employment for the poor of the 26 parishes surrounding Tattingstone, known as the Samford Hundred.
52 acres of land were leased to the Poor Law Commissioners with local builder Andrew Chandler completing the building at a cost of £4,029.9s.A pesthouse was included where inmates with infectious diseases were kept. The inhabitants spun yarn for Norwich weavers and farmed the land. The building was remodelled in 1837 and a chapel was added in the 1880’s. Over time the House of |Industry became known as the Samford Poor Law Institution.
After 1930 it became St Mary’s Hospital for the Chronic Sick and offered innovative rehabilitation for the elderly which continued under the NHS until 1991 when the hospital closed.
The building was redeveloped in the latter part of the decade into 33 private homes surrounding the courtyard and incorporating the former stables, water tower and seven acres of land adjoining Alton Water reservoir. Also there remains a separate piece of land originally used for the pauper’s graves which is now in a private trust and has grown into a small wood famous in the Spring for its daffodils.