Built just North of Arborfield Cross, Reading, in 1860 and in the same grounds as its predecessor Newlands Lodge. Four generations of the banking side of the Simonds family lived on the Newlands estate from before 1840 until it was sold by auction in 7 lots from 1947-49.
Newlands Lodge & Newlands, Arborfield Cross, Berkshire.
The Newland name was first used in the 13th century and means ‘new land created within the forest’.
Reference is made to ‘Newlondfeld’ in 1501. So it probably arises from its history as land cleared for cultivation, since it was part of the Royal Forest of Windsor since the time of William the Conqueror.
The family connection to the area may stretches back to Saxon times. John Siemonds was a Saxon squire who lived on the south side of Arborfield and many of them were called John! We know about him only because he was arraigned for ecclesiastical misdemeanours by the Prior of Sonning on behalf of the Bishop of Ramsbury. John Simonds  (1766-1845) who took on the Simonds banking business in Reading with his brother Charles [below] to found J. & C. Simonds Bank, was from Arborfield but did not live in Newlands. There are many Simonds family graves at St. Nicholas Church in Hurst as well as in both old and new parish churches in Arborfield.
The Simonds family seem to have extended their patchwork of holdings steadily up to about 1800, by which time they already owned most of the buildings and open spaces in the hamlet of Newlands.
In 1801 the local population of Arborfield was 171 and they were either farmers or ‘in service’ on one of the 4 big local estates. In 1816 the family were able to amalgamate their holdings and fence them into a private estate and about this time they built ‘Newland Lodge’ and most of the houses in the old hamlet were removed. The census of 1841 shows Charles Simonds (1768-1859) at Newlands along with his wife Sarah née Deane (1774-1858). They remained there till they died.
In 1853 a family deed lists; ‘Newland Lodge, Gilks Farm, 10 cottages, 2 messuages, 14 houses, land called potato piece and pasture piece, 1 garden, and the site of a house and garden’.
John Simonds  (1807-1876) was also in the family bank. He inherited the estate from both his father and his childless Uncle Charles Simonds (1768-1859) making a substantial estate of about 1200 acres. He was an energetic farmer, miller and keen hunting man. In 1860 he took down Newlands Lodge that was located down the hill near the bridge and with his wife Emma née Terry (1820-1908) moved into a new larger house at the top of the hill, called simply ‘Newlands’ that was designed by well-known Reading Architect Charles Smith (1832-1912) who had also done work for the Simonds Brewery. The main entrance was on the Sindlesham Road, just North of Arborfield Cross. The 1861 census describes John  as ‘Banker & Farmer employing 15 Men and 3 Boys’. On his death the estate was divided between the 2 sons, John Simonds  and William. John moved into Newlands and William Simonds (1848-1929) inherited much of the land which he sold to build his own home at Farley Hill where for many years he ran a pack of beagles.
The next John Simonds  (1846-1929) with his wife Ellen Anne née Hayes (1846-1896) who was the daughter of the Rector of Arborfield, moved back to Arborfield from London in 1874/5 just before his father died. By the end of the 19th century he had added a 2nd floor for servants’ quarters and a turret which shows in the images on the sale documents of 1947. He was an active man. Besides farming he was into many sports, was Secretary of the Garth Hunt for many years and commanded the Berkshire Volunteers. He was awarded the Freedom of the Borough – an honour not given to many.
The last family owner and born on the estate, was John Hayes Simonds (1879-1946) who had moved there by the 1891 census. He married Aline Rhoda Sturgess (1891-1972) and known as Betty, in June 1911, with three in the family, Elisabeth, Mary and Micky. On his death there, the estate was broken up and sold by auction. The initial auction in 1947 failed to sell the main house, which came back on the market again and sold in 1948. The building was destroyed by fire in the 1970’s but its entrance lodge still exists.
The 1947 sale particulars are HERE
I have a file of the detailed history and structure of the estate, if of interest, please contact me.
Here are some family images of the property: