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Thursday 19th December 2019The Blanchland Murder

Belmount Farm is a building I have painted three times now. Two paintings feature a window and one the entire farm, see below. This gently crumbling building was the site of a mysterious and extremely bloody murder, exactly 120 years ago to New Year's day 2020. 
 

 
On New Year's Day 1880, the 'Blanchland Murder’ took place.  Robert Snowball, the master of the house, was hit in the head from behind, so brutally that his teeth were knocked out and the hammer was half embedded in his skull. This is his gravestone.

 

 

No one was ever convicted of the murder, though his elderly father, housekeeper Jane Barron and her beau were all questioned. Jane was accused and acquitted, there was very little evidence, and she left Belmount Farm to take a job in the Northumbrian borders.
 
This shocking murder has left, for me, no residue of trauma in the building – and I was blissfully ignorant of all this at the time that I visited the farmhouse. All three paintings are available as prints and two as originals.

Posted on December 19th 2019 on 10:03am
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