Kray twins' Suffolk mansion up for sale with £2.25m price tag
- Credit: Bedfords/PA
A Suffolk mansion that once belonged to the Kray twins has gone on sale with a guide price of £2.25m.
Ronnie and Reggie Kray bought The Brooks in Bildeston in 1967 for £11,000 and now the home is on the market for the first time in 30 years.
The brothers developed a love for the Suffolk countryside after being evacuated from London during the Second World War when they were sent to East House Lodge in Hadleigh, where they were enrolled in local schools.
In tapes recorded at Broadmoor, the hospital in Berkshire for the criminally insane, Ronnie Kray reflected on his time spent in the county, from tobogganing at Hadleigh and scrumping for apples.
He also recalled purchasing The Brooks in Bildeston and explained how he and his brother would go on antique-purchasing trips in East Anglia.
In the tapes, Ronnie said: "When we was little kids we got evacuated to Suffolk, near Ipswich.
"We went to a Mrs Styles's place in Suffolk — she had a mansion there – and we stayed with her. It was the first time we ever went to the county and we got to like the country.”
What appealed was “the quietness, the peacefulness of it, the fresh air, nice scenery, nice countryside - different from London.
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"We used to go to a big 'ill called Constitution Hill and used to go sledging there in the winter-time. We had a good time there, you know.”
They bought their home in Suffolk in 1967, at the height of their infamy, when they were looking both for a rural bolthole for themselves and a country home for their parents Violet and Charlie.
They bought a pink country cottage near the post office for their parents and a large house – The Brooks – for themselves.
The home, now listed by Bedfords, is described as a "seven-bedroom period house" located within a six-acre setting.
It is said to be an "exceptional unlisted period house of elegant proportions and versatile accommodation".
The Brooks is believed to date back to the 16th century but was then extended and gentrified in the early 18th century with later Victorian alterations.
Now, the home also has an "enormous" range of high-quality outbuildings including a studio, gym, office complex and games room.
During the time the Kray twins spent in Suffolk, there was apparently no hint of what they got up to in London.
Stories circulated about how the Krays would give donkey rides to local children on a field near The Brooks, and give the youngsters money to buy ice cream.
Their dad, meanwhile, forged a reputation among some Bildeston folk as a cheery “true Cockney diamond”.
Ronnie confirms on the tape that they didn't get involved in any villainy while in East Anglia.
When asked how well he and his brother got along with the locals, Ronnie said: "Very well. 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".
After their arrest in 1968, police dug up parts of the garden at The Brooks during a series of searches and a number of buildings were also targeted.
It was reported in the past how in early 1970 – when they had been in jail for around a year – the twins wrote to their father and asked him to donate a collection of gym equipment to Hadleigh's youth club.
The equipment was installed in the local community centre which, by coincidence, was now in East House – where the boys had spent part of the war as evacuees.
The Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie were born on October 24, 1933, in Hoxton, East London.
In 1969, at the Old Bailey, they were each jailed for life with a recommendation they serve at least 30 years.
Ronnie was convicted of murdering George Cornell in March, 1966 and Reggie was found guilty of murdering underworld associate Jack "The Hat" McVitie in October, 1967.
Ronnie died in the spring of 1995 after suffering a heart attack. He had been taken to a Berkshire hospital from Broadmoor.
His twin, Reggie, died in Nowich in October, 2000, of cancer.
He had been freed from jail on August 26 by Home Secretary Jack Straw because of his deteriorating health.