Krays country mansion where police dug for bodies on sale for £2.25m

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The former country mansion of the notorious Kray gangster twins has come on the market for the first time in more than 30 years at a price of £2.25 million.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray bought the secluded seven bedroom property called The Brooks as a rural retreat for just £11,000 in 1967.

The brothers stayed regularly at the house set in 6.4 acres of grounds just off the High Street in Bildeston near Hadleigh, Suffolk.

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At the same time they also bought a pink cottage near the post office in the village as a second home for their parents Charlie and Violet.

The Krays were at The Brooks on the weekend before they and 15 members of their gang were arrested in May 1968.

Villagers recall how police searched the property and even dug up part of the garden in a search for bodies in the following days.

The twins bought the three storey house after falling in love with Suffolk when they were child evacuees during World War Two and sent to live in the market town of Hadleigh.

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The property, described as an “exceptional unlisted period house of elegant proportions and versatile accommodation” by estate agents Bedfords, dates back to the 16th century with 18th century gentrification extensions and Victorian alterations.

It includes a separate cottage and “an enormous range of high-quality outbuildings” providing a studio, gym, office complex and an open plan games/party room.

Ronnie told in an interview with author Robin McGibbon in 1989 how he and Reggie enjoyed carefree childhood days as evacuees in Suffolk.

He revealed how they went tobogganing, scrumped for apples, and played cowboys and Indians while billeted at East House Lodge, Hadleigh, with a woman called Mrs Styles.

Ronnie added in a taped interview: “It was the first time we ever went to the county and we got to like the country.”

He recalled “the quietness, the peacefulness of it, the fresh air, nice scenery, nice countryside – different from London.”

After two years, the twins’ mother Violet, took them back to the family home in Vallance Road, Bethnal Green to be nearer their grandmother, Aunt Rose, Aunt May and other relatives.

But the brothers pledged to return and buy a house in Suffolk when they had made enough money.

They were true to their word by splashing out on The Brooks when their crime empire was at its height.

Describing the purchase, Ronnie said: “Later on we was able to buy the mansion and the cottage for 11,000 grand.”

When asked for the date of the purchase, he replied . “Just before we was arrested . . . It would be worth a million pound today. We had to have it all decorated and redone up.”

The brothers are said to have furnished the house with antiques, sourced from local shops and auctions.

Ronnie insisted they got on “very well” with locals, saying: “We used to go to the local inns there and have a drink; have a sandwich. I can’t remember any names. Quiet country inns, we used to go to.”

They are said to have made themselves popular with children, giving donkey rides to local youngsters on a field, and handing them money to buy ice-cream.

Their father Charlie also forged a reputation among locals as a cheery “true Cockney diamond”.

Ronnie described Bildeston as “very peaceful”, and said his brother “also liked it a lot”. But he insisted they didn’t get involved in any crime while in East Anglia.

Ronnie revealed that he had and his brother sold the house for £14,000 after they were jailed.

It was later reported that the twins wrote to their father from jail in 1970, asking him to donate a collection of gym equipment to Hadleigh’s youth club which was the being run from East House where they had been evacuees.

The 4,200 square feet main house includes a large reception hall with an “attractive staircase” and “ornate stained-glass interior windows”.

Bedfords describe the grounds of the house as “one of the most exceptional settings we have seen for some time”.

The agents say the house is “located centrally within this highly regarded and well-served village, yet somehow providing a mature, rural environment to enjoy the copious levels of wildlife and tranquility”.


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