Historic hall's latest chapter is revealed by proud owners
IT HAS been the setting for royal romances and home to everyone from millionaires to the teenage tearaway Frank Bruno.
Now the owners of Oak Hall have opened the doors of their £3.5 million mansion to the Courier.
Judith Jawad, 59, said: "We have found gin and wine bottles, and all sorts of things down at the garden, which I think were around when the naughty boys were here."
Faisal Jawad and his wife Judith are based in Bahrain for most of the year but the couple love to visit their Sussex home in Broad Oak, near Heathfield.
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Their stately ten-bedroom property was most famously a private boarding school, which helped lead former world heavyweight boxing champion Bruno into a sporting career.
But there is also word it houses a murdered millionaire's secret treasure.
The school closed in 1993 but the couple have kept the fire alarms and school bells in situ, to keep the history of the resplendent building intact.
This includes Bruno's old boxing ball and an old blackboard.
They have even kept the marked shelving inscribed with 'staff linen' in their airing cupboard.
Now the grandparents are keen for past pupils or teachers to come forward with their memories of the place.
Mr Jawad said: "If we can get hold of one pupil or a teacher he would be able to give fantastic information.
"Some of the local guys we talk to in the village, they remember it as a school but they don't really know what went on inside."
"We would also like to know about the secret garden," said Mrs Jawad. "It's rumoured that the future Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson were entertained there during the time of Harry Oakes because he knew them. We don't know if it's true or not."
Millionaire Sir Harry previously owned Oak Hall, then called Tottingworth. He made front page news when he was murdered in his bed in the Bahamas in July 1943.
"He was murdered because they were trying to set up gambling there and he was completely opposed to it," Mrs Jawad said.
"This house has a colourful past."
Interestingly Sir Harry, who was Canada's richest citizen at the time, was rumoured to have hidden gold somewhere within one of his properties, possibly Oak Hall.
"We keep hoping to find it," she smiled.
The manor is set within 98 acres of land and is more akin to a museum than a holiday home – the couple still have dust sheets covering many of the paintings and furniture.
But Mr Jawad said: "The last time it snowed here it reminded me of Switzerland."
Frank Bruno was not available to comment when contacted by the Courier but his agent Dave Davies, said Oak Hall was an important part of the boxer's upbringing.
He said: "He has had ex-inmates and staff from Oak Hall trying to get in contact with him and half the time he has not heard of them.
"He is the sort of person if he is driving past he would pop in. He does that with schools and visiting the elderly. People cannot believe it. He prefers it like that with no fuss or publicity."