A ROYAL RIDDLE: Did Edward VII frolic with his mistress here in Sheffield?

agnesSEC''Heath Court
agnesSEC''Heath Court
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IT’S one of Sheffield’s most enduring mysteries...

Rumour has it that England’s philanderer king, Edward VII, spent a surreptitious night with a mistress in Sheffield.

agnesSEC''Heath Court

agnesSEC''Heath Court

The story goes that their night of romance happened in the master bedroom of a house now owned by Agnes Grunwald-Spier.

Then again, there are no written records of the visit.

But that does not stop Agnes speculating that Heath Cote, her imposing seven-bedroom detached home has a Royal past.

Agnes, aged 66, said: “I am very interested in history, and whenever I’m in the main bedroom I think about Edward VII and the idea of him frolicking with one of his mistresses in there!

agnesSEC''Heath Court

agnesSEC''Heath Court

“Whether he did or not I suppose we will never know. But enough people locally do seem to talk about it for there to be at least something in the rumour.”

Frustratingly there is no mention in newspapers of the time of the king’s supposed visit and his diaries are said to be illegible.

But there are plenty of other historical links which make Heath Court a residence to be reckoned with.

The land on which it stands was owned originally by the Duke of Devonshire and sold off in 1898. The house was built around 1900 and was originally called The Beeches. There are still four beech trees in the garden at the front.

agnesSEC''Agnes Grunwald-Spier, with her sons Daniel, Simon and Ben Spier.'Please credit Gordon Gibb.

agnesSEC''Agnes Grunwald-Spier, with her sons Daniel, Simon and Ben Spier.'Please credit Gordon Gibb.

Agnes, aged 66, says: “I used to put on open garden events and afternoon teas for a few years and one of the old ladies who attended told me the house had definitely been made ready for a visit by the king - but that he then never came.”

One eminent visitor who certainly showed up was the artist Sir Henry Rushbury.

During the 1920s the house was home to the steel magnate Peech, of manufacturing firm Steel, Peech and Tozer.

And during the 1930s the great painter and etcher, internationally renowned in his day, was commissioned to paint a watercolour of the garden, at that time a vast plot spanning three-and-three-quarter acres of grounds.

agnesSEC''Heath Court - and the master bedroom where Edward VII may have once slept

agnesSEC''Heath Court - and the master bedroom where Edward VII may have once slept

Today it’s the place magistrate and author Agnes has called home for 20 years and the house where her three sons Daniel, now 31, Benjamin, 28, and Simon, 25 were brought up.

It boasted one of Sheffield’s first ever early telephones and the hidden cupboard which housed the new-fangled gizmo is still in situ today.

But now Agnes is selling up, and the property is being marketed by estate agents Bagshaws Residential Select for offers around £900,000.

“It’s a beautiful property, a wonderful family home, and I’ve really enjoyed living in it,” says Agnes. “When I move it will be a terrible wrench to leave.”

And who knows, perhaps the remains of a flagpole still to be found in the garden may once have flown a royal standard.