Sandymount is a stately Bermuda house with origins dating back to the 1600s. This luxury four bedroom-four bathroom house is nestled into 2.5 acres of property with unparalleled views over the island's north shore and Baileys Bay.
THE HISTORY OF SANDYMOUNT
From soon after the establishment of the settlement Bermuda in 1612, privateering played a major role in its early economy. Privateering was essentially pirates with a licence from the Crown to attack, pillage and capture vessels of countries which England was at war with or who were trading with such countries.
With its natural harbour protected by Bay Island and the cliffs of Sandymount, it was a perfect home for the most infamous and feared privateers of the day. They roamed the seas as far as the Indian Ocean in their fast Bermuda sloops and would return directly to Bailey’s Bay with their bounty. The first house built on the land where Sandymount now lies was a one room cottage with a chimney which now makes up the dining room in the current house. It was built by a privateer as his humble abode when home from the sea.
Sandymount was originally known as “East Cliff” and “Eastmount” and given its height above the Bay and its commanding position over the only navigable entrance to the Bay, it has always played a very important role in the security of Bailey’s Bay.
From early on, Sandymount was fortified to protect the Bay from marauding enemies following the privateers home or pillaging their homes when they were at sea. It has never been recognized as a fort as it was a private fort, deliberately not part of the Government arsenal as it was also there to warn the privateers of any tax collector who may attempt to pay them a visit.
With its unequalled view along the entire North Shore of Bermuda an approaching vessel could be seen miles before it could get to the Bay.
With growing prosperity and growing families, the house at Sandymount was expanded by first adding what is now the entry foyer and living room and then what is now the library and then the kitchen and a further bedroom to the west.
The privee was built on the western cliff with an outflow directly into the sea one hundred feet below.
A separate cottage with a very large chimney was built in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. It is thought that it may have been built as a separate kitchen to help feed the officers billeted on the property during the War of 1812.
In the War of 1812 a massive fleet of the Royal Navy was assembled in the waters of the North Shore directly in front of Sandymount known as “Murrays Anchorage”.
The fleet was under the command of Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane who based himself while in Bermuda preparing for the invasion of the United States at Mount Wyndham, the then chief residence of the Royal Navy command in Bermuda and built by Richard Algate who had also made the additions to Sandymount in the late 1700’s.
From Mount Wyndham and Sandymount, the invasion of the United States and the capture of Washington was planned.
The ships of the newly formed United States Navy where positioned offshore to the east of St. George’s at what they thought was the only way out for the British fleet. However, a crafty Bermuda pilot named Jimmy Darrell, still a slave, carefully guided the 18 ships of the British fleet with 5,000 soldiers aboard out through the reefs on the north side of Bermuda and with a head start, they got safely to the U.S. shore and the troops disembarked and marched on and captured Washington and set it alight. The White House had to be painted white to hide the scars of the fire.
After the officers had left, Sandymount was re-occupied by Captain Daniel Outerbridge Algate, the son of Richard Algate. A whole story can be told of the dramatic manner by which Richard Algate arrived in Bermuda. What is of note is that the current owner of Sandymount, Wendell Hollis, is a direct descendant of Richard Algate. His great grandfather who was born in 1847 and whose photograph is on display in the entry foyer was William Algate Hollis.
Sandymount continued to be owned by members of the same family and was handed down by descent for over two hundred years.
By the mid-1900’s it fell into the ownership of several estates and was rented out to various tenants and allowed to fall into decay and disrepair.
By 1980 it was derelict and abandoned and just barely salvageable. Pictures of its then state can be seen at the bottom of the landing leading to the master bedroom suite.
It was purchased in this condition by Wendell who at the time of purchase was unaware that he too was a descendant of the original owners. He set about restoring the buildings that existed to the state they would have been in if they had not been allowed to fall into disrepair. He carefully restored the house using only original Bermuda stone and Bermuda cedar.
In May of 1984 his work was recognized by the award of a Certificate of Merit from the Bermuda National Trust as a “fine example of historic restoration”.
On the 1stof July 2018 Wendell took Sandymount back with the intention of restoring it to its former glory as it had lost its shine during the long rental period. Since that time with the assistance of a devoted team of experienced Bermudian craftsman skilled in the techniques of restoration, they have not only restored Sandymount to pristine condition they have added significant “special” features both within the house and on the grounds so that it is now a magnificent example of the best of old traditional Bermudian architecture and building practices, antique Bermuda Cedar furniture combined with all the technical conveniences of the 21st century.