John Simonds [1] (1766-1845) took on the Simonds banking business in Reading with his brother Charles [below] to found J. & C. Simonds Bank and lived at Newland Lodge.  He was by no means the 1st in the local family to be named John, since there are very many more stretching back to the 14th century. Many of their Simonds family graves are to be found at St. Nicholas Church in Hurst as well as in both old and new parish church graveyards in Arborfield.

John and his brother Charles were also in business together as millers and mealmen at Sindlesham Mill as early as 1796. After John’s death in 1845, Charles continued the milling business in partnership with his nephews (confusingly also called John [2] & Charles). The elder John and Charles were amongst the founders of the Simonds & Nicholson Bank in 1814 along with William Blackall Simonds, William’s younger son Henry and Ralph Nicolson. W.B.S. retired & Ralph Nicholson withdrew two years later in 1816. Henry Simonds (also a founder of H&G Simonds Brewery) [IMAGE] continued at the bank until 1839. John & Charles then continued alone as J & C Simonds Bank. [IMAGE]

The Simonds family seem to have extended their patchwork of holdings at Arborfield Cross 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 of Newland (sometimes called Hughes’ Green) were removed so that it effectively disappeared. The census of 1841 shows Charles Simonds (1768-1859) living in Newland Lodge on the Newlands Estate with his wife Sarah née Cave (1774-1858) (In 1709 she had been briefly married to John Deane (1767-1801)) Charles was described simply as a ‘Banker’.  By the 1851 census still at Newland Lodge, he is described as “Banker, Miller, Owner & Occupier of 1200 acres of land employing 4 millers, 2 carpenters, 1 thatcher & 55 male labourers in Agriculture”.

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’.

Among his staff were Caleb Jeacocke (sometime Caleb Edward) (1804-1899). The 1861 census shows him as the Farm Bailiff and 1871 as Steward.

Also Caleb’s mother Avice (née Christmas) (1778-1843).  [IMAGE]


John Simonds [2] (1807-1876) was also in the family bank. He inherited the Newlands Estate from both his father and his childless Uncle Charles Simonds (1768-1859) making a substantial estate of some 1200 acres. He married Emma Terry (1820-1908) on October 5th 1842 in Swallowfield. [IMAGE] John’s younger brother, another Charles Simonds (1809-1857) having married Emma’s younger sister Elizabeth Terry (1822-1914) in the same church 2 years to the day before him, on October 5th 1840!

John was an energetic farmer, miller and keen hunting man. In about 1860 he took down Newland Lodge that was located down the hill near the bridge and moved their 5 children into a new larger house at the top of the hill, called simply ‘Newlands’ that was designed in classic Victorian style by well-known Reading Architect Charles Smith (1832-1912) who did some work on the Simonds Bank in Market Place and may have done some work for the Simonds Brewery.  The main entrance was on the Sindlesham Road, just North of Arborfield Cross. [IMAGES]

The 1861 census describes John [2] as ‘Banker & Farmer employing 15 Men and 3 Boys’.  John seems to have provided some land to Wellington College at its foundation and also opened a local branch of his bank for them at Crowthorne Station, then known as ‘Wellington Halt’. On his death in 1876 the estate was divided between the 2 sons, John Simonds [3] (1846-1929) and William Simonds (1848-1929). John moved into Newlands and William inherited much of the land, which he soon sold to build his own home called Woodbury in Farley Hill where for many years he ran a pack of beagles.


John Simonds [3] (1846-1929) married Ellen Anne née Hayes (1846-1896) at Arborfield in April 1868. [IMAGE] Ellen was the daughter of the Rector of Arborfield, Sir John Warren Hayes Bt. (1799-1896) and her mother was Ellen Beauchamp from Beech Hill Priory. She was also descended from the same early 14th century John Simonds of Woodcray Manor, some 12 generations earlier!il PrioryH. They started married life in Marylebone, London, where their 1st 3 children were born. They moved back to The Old Rectory in Arborfield in 1874/5 where their 4th child was born.  The census of 1881 shows their next 2 children had been born in Arborfield and only John was born in Newlands, in 1879. By the end of the 19th century John [3] 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 his estate, he was a partner in J.&C. Simonds Bank, based in Market Place, Reading. [IMAGE] On the sale of the bank to Barclays in 1913, he became a local Director of Barclays Bank. [LINKS TO RBH PAGE http://www.berkshirehistory.com/villages/reading_king_street_georgian.html  & MY BANKING PAGE]

He owned & ran Sindelsham Mill. A keen sportsman, he was Secretary of the Garth Hunt for many years [DATES?]. Here being presented with his portrait by Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (1831-1917) in 1895. [IMAGE] He commanded the Berkshire Volunteer Regiment, raised in 1859 to counter the perceived threat from Napoleon lll, retiring after 25 years service in 1891. He served as ‘Treasurer of Reading’ from 1901-1929 and in 1924 he was awarded the ‘Freedom of Reading’. From 1861 – 1885 John kept an almost daily diary and family record, some 22 annual volumes forming a uniquely detailed record of his life and times. In an indication of his passion for hunting, each day that he was out with the hounds is recorded in special red ink! [DIARY LINK HERE – EVENTUALLY]

John Hayes Simonds (1879-1946) was the last of the Simonds family to live at Newlands, from sometime before the 1891 census. [IMAGE] In June 1911 he married Aline Rhoda Sturgess (1891-1972) known as Betty who lived there with their 3 children, Elizabeth (Jumbo), Mary (Maria) and John (Micky). After training in Sandhurst, John served in the army in India. On his death, the estate was broken up and sold by auction. there are more details on the estate & houses ‘HERE’.