The Sale of Oatlands - 1824
With the 1822 auction having only grossed £10,465 at "hammer prices" (considerably less after the expenses of the sale had been met), the Duke of York needed to try again to rid himself of Oatlands.
For whatever reason, the Duke of York fought shy of another public auction and the Oatlands Estate was advertised for sale "by Private Contract" - these advertisements ran regularly from the 1st of July until the 24th of September 1824.
On the 29th of July, The Morning Chronicle reported that Edward Hughes Ball Hughes and "his amiable lady" had "taken Oatlands as a summer residence" and went on to indicate some interest being shown in Oatlands by "a rich linen draper" but only as a side issue to "the estate of Mr Hanbury, in the neighbourhood of Walton"
We haven't yet determined a name for this rich linen draper or where Mr Hanbury's estate was located, as, whilst it is an interesting aside, it plays no real part in the history of Oatlands because Edward Hughes Ball Hughes ("The Golden Ball") was fast becoming enamoured with the idea of becoming the next owner of the Oatlands Estate.
On the 13th of October, The Times announced, in passing, that the deal had been done but gave no details beyond the prices paid for the estate and the timber.
The announcement was somewhat belated as an "agreement of intent to purchase" had been signed on the 4th of October by Ball Hughes' brother in law, John Frederick Alston, acting in the capacity of his agent.
Seeing no obvious signs that there would be any delays beyond the usual 'officialdom', and doubtless being assured of that by the duke's legal advisers, Ball Hughes began making plans to take up permanent residence at Oatlands, but the reality was, sadly, very different.
Over the years of his ownership, the Duke of York had secured loans and mortgages on various parts of the estate to finance the purchaces and to service his own debts; had disposed of some parts and had acquired others, and not all of the 1822 sale conveyances had yet been completed. The situation was further complicated by the past history of it having been a Crown Estate and exactly what had been acquired when the Duke had been granted the freehold by Act of Parliament in 1804.
Ball Hughes became increasingly frustrated at the delays and eventually wrote to his solicitors, telling them to"ignore all objections” and procede with the purchase.; they did so and the estate, ammounting to 3,512 acres was his for £145,000.
As a result of all the questions over the title to so much of the estate, a hand-written, leather-bound tome bearing the gold-blocked title "Oatlands Estate - Affidavit of Samuel Kendall Esq as to the identity" was produced.
This magnificent document begins "Samuel Kendall of Weybridge in the County of Surrey Gentleman maketh Oath and Saith he hath for twenty five years and upwards now last past acted as the Land Steward for and Agent of the Estates and Property of his late Royal Highness Frederick Duke of York and Albany situate in the County of Surrey and has thereby become well acquainted with the said Estates and Property and every part thereof" and goes on to list the various parts of the estate, how they were acquired, who from and any conditions applying to them. It was sworn before the Lord Mayor of London at the Mansion House, is dated "16th day of Novermber 1827" and signed
The affidavit of Samuel Kendall is within the collections at Surrey History Centre, Goldsworth Road, Woking