In 1873, the Manor House was leased out to Lord Carrington, Charles Wynn-Carrington, another MP and another frequent roomer at the Harboro. Another outspoken character, with his speeches often being described as "racy", he was a close friend of Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, (later King Edward VII) and one of the notorious 'Marlborough House set', an amusing, sporting, wealthy group of aristocrats known for their raucous house parties, dinners, balls and social gatherings.
It was on April 1st 1873 that Lord Carrington welcomed Edward, the Prince of Wales to stay at the Manor House in Melton Mowbray for a week of hunting, partying and entertainment, something that the town had got a worldwide reputation for during the months of December and March - the hunt season -when the rich and reckless descended on the town. Burton Street had become a particular hub for this hunt and party lifestyle during this part of the year, with apartments and lodgings lining the street, some of the major hunting lodges, the Old Club, many hostelries, hotels and most importantly stabling facilities.
One particular scandal that rocked the 'Marlborough House set' involves yet another of The Manor House's later tenants, the Earl of Aylesford - known as 'Sporting Jo' ( "wearer of the glossiest hat" whose duty it was to organise "polo, pig sticking and other sporting events" as part of the set) whose wife Edith, the Prince had been known to have had a dalliance or two with. Affairs with women within the Marlborough House Set were commonplace, but all of this wife and husband swapping had firm, but necessary rules: unmarried and newlywed women were out, married women were advised to fill the nursery with legitimate children before the offspring of their liaisons entered the wing (and one must never comment upon a likeness), and the Cardinal Rule was “Thou Shall Not Be Found Out.”
However, it was during a trip to India by the Prince, Lord Carrington, Sporting Jo, and a few others of the set that they became entangled in a divorce case when Lord Randolph Churchill’s brother, the Marquess of Blandford, eloped with Edith, Lady Aylesford whilst her husband was in India. Letters reached Lord Aylesford about his wife’s affair, and he returned home in haste; however, his early departure infuriated the Prince of Wales. Springing to his brother’s defence, Lord Randolph Churchill threatened to reveal HRH’s own indiscretions with Lady Edith. This was tantamount to blackmail, and the Prince was so angry, he challenged Lord Randolph to a duel. Matters reached the stage of declaring seconds, though Lord Randolph dispatched his to the Prince’s with the message that he would duel anyone but his future Sovereign, whereupon the Prince said he would appear in no place where Lord Randolph was present - effectively ostracizing Winston Churchill’s parents from London Society.
Upon an agreed formal separation between the Earl (Sporting Jo) and Lady Aylesford in 1877, he took up residence at The Manor House in Melton Mowbray for a year, but did not stop long before emigrating to Texas, whereupon he died of alcoholism soon afterwards.Over the following years, the House was occupied only during the hunt season by those rich enough to lodge there, but in 1880, the Manor House become the residence of yet another pair of infamous brothers, Christopher and Frank Murietta, two very wealthy Spanish financiers, and descendants of the Marques de Murietta, the first producer of Rioja wine. The brothers were involved in the very famous Baring Crisis of 1890 which resulted in the near insolvency of Barings Bank which triggered an acute recession, which may have collapsed the entire private banking system of London had it not been for a bail out by Nathan Rothschild and his consortium.
Just before they house of Murietta became insolvent in 1890, Barings Bank sold large quantities of Argentinian railway stock, in which they had an interest, to the gullible public, including the South American and Mexican Investment Company which was incorporated just as the bubble was about to burst. The Baring crisis plunged the Muriettas into an immediate liquidity crisis. To plug this, it was negotiated with the Governor of the Bank of England to extend the Bank of England’s loan of half a million pounds to the Muriettas on the condition they could amalgamate with the South American and Mexican Investment Company. This plan collapsed when that company’s debenture holders rebelled against their Directors. The brothers, it is said, may have escaped great financial loss, but they chose familial honour and morals over riches.
By 1891, the Manor House had become home to another pair of brothers with a wine background, William and George Bishop, distillers from London it is likely they too were tenanted at The Manor House for the hunt season, as especially notable is the guest and friend residing with them during this time, one notable Crawshay Bailey, or rather Crawshay Wellington Puleston, grandson of 1st Baronet Joseph Bailey on his father's side and 2nd Baronet Sir Richard Puleston on his mother's.
Later in the 1890's the Manor House became the residence of Colonel William Lawson, 3rd Baron of Burnham, whose name is more usually associated with Staveley Lodge, a hunting lodge sited where the Pera building now stands. Another very wealthy landowning family, the Lawson's were regulars at the Old Club on Burton Street, However, during 1895 when the Old Club was undergoing alterations, the Manor House became the entertainment zone once again, and the setting for a variety of jolly events, breakfast parties, dinners and musical diversions. Notable guests included Daisy, Princess of Pless ,and her brother George Cornwallis-West, who later married Jennie Churchill (mother of later Prime Minister Winston, and former wife of previously exiled Lord Randolph Churchill) who had been accepted back into the fold of Prince Edward and his set following her husband's death.
The Manor House continued to be used as a hub for the aristocracy to tenant during the hunting season until 1899, when the premises were bought by Joseph Wakerley, local architect and brother of more famous Arthur. Joseph drew up plans to renovate the property and convert it into the town's General Post Office; however; just before the contract was signed, Burton Street suffered one of the worst floods in it's history, with water a metre over the lower windows and a river gushing through it. The deal was called off. For the following two years, the Manor House was then used alternatively as architect's offices for the Wakerley family business, until it was sold on again in 1901.