Russian Billionaire Buys Haunted Home of Betrayed Mary Blandy,1752




Russian Billionaire Buys Britain’s Priciest Home

 




An 18th century manor – famously said to be haunted by a vengeful female ghost – has been purchased by a Russian oligarch for a stunning £140 million, making the sale the most lucrative in British real estate yet.

The sale of Park Place, near Henley-on-Thames at Oxfordshire, one-ups the previous record-holder for most expensive home in the UK, which was held by a £136 million penthouse at One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge.

 

Fredrick Prince of Wales (1707-1751) eldest son of George II. Portrait by the Italian painter Giacomo Amiconi

Park Place, which was once the home of George II’s eldest son, has been overhauled and updated with plush, modern riggings, and now boasts a helipad, spa complex, home cinema and bleeding-edge security system. The Grade II-listed house, nestled in 200 sprawling acres of parkland and built in the Renaissance style, has ten bedrooms complete with en suite bathrooms, and 30,000 sq ft of living space.



Its outbuildings include a barrel-vaulted Grecian grotto dating from the 18th century, stables and a boathouse. Other famous accoutrements include intricate stained glass windows, original, 18th century stone fireplaces and, of course, the aforementioned ghost – said to be that of a Mary Blandy, who was accused of patricide in 1752.

 

 

Park Place was sold by agents Knight Frank and Savills. The Daily Mail reports that the estate agents were so pleasantly surprised by the generous price, they rang up their country house branch to verify if the decimal point was in the right place.




Greek shipping magnate John Latsis is among the estate’s previous owners. In 2007 it was bought by a property developer, Mike Spink, for £42million.At the time, it was a record purchase price for a property outside London.




Park Place was sold by Knight Frank and Savills. Staff at the estate agents are understood to have been so surprised by the enormous price that they rang up their country house branch to check the decimal point was in the right place.

 

 



 

Mary Blandy (1720 – April 6, 1752) was a female murderer in 18th century England. In 1751, she poisoned her father, Francis Blandy, with arsenic. She claimed that she thought the arsenic was a love potion that would make her father approve of her relationship with William Henry Cranstoun, an army officer and son of a Scottish nobleman.

 




On Easter Monday 1752, she was hanged outside of Oxford Castle prison for the crime of parricide. Her case attracted a great deal of attention from the press. Many pamphlets claiming to be the “genuine account” or the “genuine letters” of Mary Blandy were published in the months following her execution. The reaction among the press was mixed. While some believed her version of the story, most thought that she was lying. The debate over whether or not she was morally culpable for her crime continued for years after her death. In the 19th century, her case was reexamined in several texts with a more sympathetic light. People began to think of her as a “poor lovesick girl.”*Today, her case has been practically forgotten.





Background

Mary’s parents raised her to be an intelligent, articulate Anglican woman. Her reputation in Henley, where she lived her entire life, was that of a well-respected, well-mannered, and well-educated young woman. In 1746, Mary met Captain William Henry Cranstoun. The two intended to marry in 1751. However, it was exposed that he was married to a woman in Scotland and had a child by this marriage.

Cranstoun denied the validity of this marriage and made several trips to Scotland over the course of his relationship with Mary to have the marriage annulled.After months of stalling, Mary’s father, Francis Blandy, became suspicious of Cranstoun and believed that he did not intend to leave his wife. Mr. Blandy made no attempt to hide his disapproval of Cranstoun’s marriage. What happened next is unclear.

Mary claimed that Cranstoun sent her a love potion (which later turned out to be arsenic) and asked her to place it in her father’s food to make him approve of their relationship. Mary did this, and inevitably, her father died.The trial was of some forensic interest as there was expert testimony about the arsenic poisoning that was presented by Dr. Anthony Addington. Addington had done testing that would be primitive by today’s standards, but was quite fascinating in the 18th Century, based on testing residue for traces of arsenic.

It was of such interest to 18th Century England, that Dr. Addington’s career was made. The doctor eventually became the family doctor to William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. His son would be Henry Addington, future Prime Minister and Home Secretary (as Viscount Sidmouth).



BOOK COMING IN 2012.

The Noose Around the Wrong Neck

ISBN: 0-9542301-8-3Bingham Press Ltd will be publishing a book titled “The Noose Around the Wrong Neck“, this will deal with an expose of Captain Willy Cranstoun, Royal Marines and his true role in the murder. Like the charge of the Light Brigade, in those days similar to Lord Lucan’s regiment known as ‘Bingham’s Dandies’ for their expensive and peacock-like dress sense. (Dressed up for a ball, not for a battle, military personnel like Cranstoun hid behind draconian military courts and procedures and Miss Blandy was thrown to the civil mob of rabble rousers).

Bingham Press Ltd. referred to the case of Mary Blandy.

St. Mary the Virgin
Hart Street
Henley-On-Thames
Oxon
RG9 2AU
to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to seek a posthumous pardon for Mary Blandy and to sum it up, it was a cry from the heart, from beyond the grave (cri de Coeur). The local newspaper The Henley Standard and others are backing this appeal; indeed the newspaper has carried an article recently reporting the apparent sighting in a Henley hotel of her troubled spirit.

On 6th April, 1752 Mary Blandy, aged 32, was hanged for the patricide of her father …

After the trial, Mary had seemed distant, cold. It was generally agreed that old Mr Blandy had never mistreated Mary. The murderess herself admitted that she was well loved and cared for. And yet, she had poisoned the old man. Why?

Mary Blandy became infamous. Malicious stories about her were sold on street corners. It was said that she indulged in riotous living even while imprisoned awaiting trial. But few people knew the truth about Mary Blandy. As they walked her to the gallows, Mary’s head was full of remembered ecstasy and tragic disappointment such as her accusers could never imagine…

Mr. Horace Walpole commented: “Miss Blandy died with a coolness of courage that is astounding, and denying the fact which has made a kind of party in her favour. As though a woman who would not stick at parricide would scruple a lie!”

‘Memory Lane’ will also contain chapters relative to the sad case of Mary Blandy.

The Blandy case is per se analogous to the Bentley case when, finally in 1998, after disgraceful delays from the State, Derek William Bentley was pardoned. Although the Criminal Cases Review Commission could not have saved him from the infamous Albert Pierrepoint, justice on this earth at last reached an end.

The presiding judge in charge of the Bentley appeal was Lord Chief Justice Thomas Bingham of Cornhill and he took an unprecedented approach to the case whereby he criticised and condemned Lord Chief Justice Goddard for wearing the executioner’s cap long before the trial commenced. In essence, they demanded a hanging so they got a hanging and this is very similar to the case of Mary Blandy.


Will Mary rest in Peace, if she is ever proven Innocent?


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