Sandford Orleigh House

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George Templer was a local landowner and entrepreneur whoes family had owned the Stover estate, Haytor granite quarries and tramway, and Stover Canal. He was the grandson of James Templer who constructed Stover House (now a school). George built Sandford Orleigh on the road from Newton Abbot to Bovey Tracey, in the 1830s after his marriage to Charlotte Elizabeth Kennaway, daughter to Sir John Kennaway. The site commanded a view of the River Teign estuary on one side, and to Haytor on the other - and encompassed the triumphs of George's past. In fitting out his home, George Templer had his collection of carvings made into an enormous overmantel – a chimney/mantelpiece surrounding a fireplace.

Following the death of George Templer in 1844, there was a second auction and the overmantle remained in the house, either failing to sell, or bought by John Ingle, the new owner, a merchant and ship owner.

Sir Samuel Baker and his wife Florence, Victorian African explorers, came to live at sandford Orleigh in retirement  in 1874 and became the owners of Sandford Orleigh.   They had many famous visitors.

Later in its life the house became a School and a Hotel until it was sold and bought by a developer who converted the house into apartments.

In the process of conversion, the overmantel was damaged and removed to storage - for 10 years. New owners of the apartment,  Messers Scott-Morgan, donated the carvings back to the town. Museum. The Newton Abbot Town and Great Western Railway Museum, with the support of The Town Council, took on the challenge to restore the carved screens and surrounds, and the Heart of Oak Project was born.