Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sandys, William (1792-1874)

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SANDYS, WILLIAM (1792–1874), antiquary, eldest son of Hannibal Sandys (1763–1847) and his wife Anne (d. 1850), daughter of William Hill, was born at 5 Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, on 29 Oct. 1792. He was educated at Westminster School 1800–8, and in January 1814 was admitted solicitor. From 1861 to 1873 Sandys was head of the firm of Sandys & Knott, Gray's Inn Square; and he was also commissioner of affidavits in the stannary court of Cornwall, and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In 1873 he retired; and on 18 Feb. 1874 he died at his residence, 10 Torrington Square, London. He was buried at Kensal Green on 23 Feb. He married, first, on 13 Jan. 1816, Harriette, daughter of Peter Hill of Carwythenack, Cornwall (she died on 3 Aug. 1851); and secondly, on 6 Sept. 1853, Eliza, daughter of Charles Pearson of Ravensbourne House, Greenwich.

An enthusiastic musical amateur from youth, Sandys studied the violoncello under Robert Lindley, and was also a zealous antiquary. He had a singular faculty of mental arithmetic. His first work, ‘A History of Freemasonry,’ appeared in 1829; the next, in 1831, was a disquisition upon ‘Macaronic Poetry,’ with specimens. ‘A Selection of Christmas Carols,’ with the tunes, followed in 1833; this volume is of permanent value to the musical antiquary. In 1846 he issued ‘Specimens of Cornish Dialect;’ he edited a volume of old ‘Festive Songs’ for the Percy Society (1848); and in 1852 he wrote a tract upon ‘Christmastide, its History, Festivities, and Carols.’ He is best remembered by his share in Sandys and Forster's ‘History of the Violin’ (1864). He was mainly responsible for the earlier part.

[Sandys's Works; Boase and Courtney's Bibliotheca Cornubiensis, pp. 627, 1333, where a full bibliography is given; Grove's Dict. of Music and Musicians, iii. 225; Times, 18 Dec. 1874; Law Journal, ix. 134.]

H. D.