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The Haunting of Borley Rectory

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Author Topic: The Haunting of Borley Rectory  (Read 276 times)
Jennifer Janusiak
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2009, 12:14:17 am »

FIG. III

Reproduction (by permission of the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office) of 1/2,500

Ordnance map of Borley (1933 Edition) with added lettering showing principle buildings,

etc.  The proximity of the extensive farm buildings, omitted from the plans in

the published literature, should be particularly noted.


p.14

'For the purpose of my book, I am trying to get details of what building, or buildings, were on the site of the Rectory before the present house was built.  There is a persistent rumour that a monastery was very near the house, or rather the site and there are also tales of a nunnery being quite close.'  However, common sense and the result of Mr Glanville's investigation must have prevailed.

The second main story connected with Borley, which we may loosely describe as the 'French Roman Catholic Nun Legend', seems to have arisen in embryo from certain selected parts of planchette writings obtained by Miss Helen Glanville alone at Streatham on 28 October 1937, elaborated by further information obtained at a similar séance at Streatham three days later, at which the sitters were Mr S. H. Glanville, Miss Helen Glanville (his daughter), Mr R. H. Glanville (his son), and Mr M. Kerr-Pearse.  From these séances and sundry chosen minutiae from the mass of alleged phenomena at Borley, an elaborate story was built up by Dr Phythian-Adams, Canon of Carlisle, and accepted with enthusiasm by Price.  This is set out at length in Ch. X of EBR.  The story in brief is that a young French Roman Catholic nun, Marie Lairre, was induced to leave her convent at Le Havre to become the wife of one of the Waldegraves of Borley and was strangled by him in a building previously on the site of Borley Rectory on 17 May 1667 and her body buried beneath the cellar floor.  The suggestion was that the spirit of this unhappy young person was responsible inter alia for the rectory wall-writings, the loss of Mr Shaw Jeffrey's French dictionary, and the production of various 'apports', including two medals of somewhat suspicious provenance, an old coat, a piece of rotten wood, and a dead frog, in order to establish her identity and the whereabouts of her remains.

 

These, as we have said, are the two principal stories connected with Borley Rectory.  There are other minor ones, such as the theory that the 'nun' was the ghost of Arabella Waldegrave, born in 1687, the daughter of Henry, first Lord Waldegrave.  This suggestion was again at first accepted with enthusiasm by Price and was the subject of a lengthy exposition in his article 'The Ghost of Borley Rectory' (Everybody's Weekly, 7 August 1943).  This story was, however, demolished in 1946 with Price's tacit approval by Dr Phythian-Adams in Ch. XVI of EBR.  We have also the legend that Borley and, district may be haunted by the spirit of Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, beheaded on Tower Hill on 14 June 1381 (MHH, p. 12).  Then we have the story of the 'screaming girl' who, after supposedly clinging to the

p.15

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