A Hanbury Hall story
George was the last Vernon. With this in mind, he married heiress named Dorris Hill, but their marriage turned out so badly that they lived in two separate areas at Hanbury Hall, and later in different houses on the estate. The only child they had died as an infant.
Goerge an unsavoury character. He was a “ladies man” and had an interest in all sorts of women. Being a rich Victorian country “gentleman” meant that he could easily find what he wanted as the estates around him were full of girls.
He was also a fascist and was one of the members of Oswald Mosley’s party. He could even find himself arrested during World war II, but he managed to take his own life before it happened.
In 1923, George was already 58 years old and lonely. He and his wife had continued to avoid each other which was easy in such a big estate. Goerge was looking for a company and found a girl whose name was Ruth Powick. She was 13 years old.
George approached her father, who managed one of the farms on the estate and told him, “Ted, I want to borrow your daughter for six months. things are a mess at the Hall.” George did not plan to “return” Ruth to her family. , although she came to Hanbury Hall to ostensibly to work as a maid, he paid for her education and by the age of 16, she had become his “secretary”. Sometimes when they travelled together he was presenting her as his daughter, which probably gave him a new idea. When she was 26, George approached her father again, this time with “another” kind of offer: “Ted, your daughter has been a treasure. I have decided to leave everything to her. My one great wish is for Ruth to take the Vernon name. What do you say?”
George wish was to adopt Ruth (who of course already had her own family). He discovered that according to the law you could not adopt a 26-years-old-person. Ruth did change her name to Vernon and stayed with George until 1940 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer and was in terrible pain.
One morning he gave his servants the day off and sent Ruth on an errand. He then locked himself in his bedroom and twice shot himself.
In his suicide letter, he wrote that death was only days away and that e had decided to take a shortcut. George could not leave Hanbury Hall to Ruth since his wife was still alive, but he did leave her another of his houses. He also left her his entire fortune which would worth today over £3M.
So what was their relationship? Some people believe he was her lover. Some of the guides at Hanbury Hall even show visitors the room the couples were supposed to have shared, others say she was just the daughter he never had. One way or the other, Ruth Poweich came to Hanbury Hall as a poor maid and left it with £3M…
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