Roper's Roster and Research

Alan Roper has tirelessly researched the people of Borley for decades. He has gathered up boxes and boxes of birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and wills. He has learned many interesting sidelights in the process. Some times, a lead will dry up, which means Alan will try something else. This roster and research is always growing.

ALDERSON John Alderson was vicar of Dent from 1891 until his death in 1909, age 49. In 1922 his widow bought 20 Heslop Road, London, SW12. She lived there until shortly before her death in 1937. Many people [in Great Britain] give their houses names - she named her house "Borley." In 1925 her sister Adelaide Mabel Bull moved into the house. She lived there until her death in a London hospital in 1936. In 1928, Alfred Richard Graham Bull moved in. He lived there until 1930.

BOREHAM Kate Boreham. Maid. Died 27 March 1888
BORLEY is 20 miles west of Ipswich and 60 miles northeast of London.
BROUGHALL Tony Broughall used to ring and say he had permission to spend the night in some haunted building and ask me to go with him. Usually there were just the two of us. He was a Borley fanatic and in July for three years running he organized an all night vigil with four of us - Tony, his wife, an American friend, and myself.
BULL Adelaide Mabel Bull. Will of 1934. The wills were all drawn up by the same firm of solicitors, Scaddin & Bodkin. The senior parnter in the firm was a Foyster. Most of the Henry Bull children were not married, and when they died, they left their money to the surviving brothers and sisters.
BULL Caroline Sarah Elizabeth Bull married John Alderson Hayden. Will of 1936.
BULL When Ethel died, she left her money to Gerveys Roderick Dew, the solicitor who drew up the will. I have been told he was a cousin of the Bulls. Other members of the Bull family contested the will.
BULL Henry Dawson Ellis Bull. Built rectory. Born 23 November 1833. Died 2 May 1892
BULL Henry Foyster Bull. Born 24 January 1863. Married Ivy (Johnson) Brackenbury, 12 September 1911. Died 9 June 1927.
BURTON Della Burton (see Adelaide Foyster). Told me about 20 years ago she was writing a book about Borley, but never told me she had burned it. [Notes sent to Vincent O'Neil.]
CAMPSE ASHE Six miles north of Woodbridge. Dairy Cottage, where Lionel died, is between the two.
CROOM-HOLLINGSWORTH Geoffrey Croom-Hollingsworth was born 30 October 1917 in Manchester. He died in Harlow, Essex, 2 May 1987.
D'ARLES Francois. See Frank Pearless.
D'ARLES Francois d'Arles Jr. See Douglas Stuart Pearless.
DOWNING Sgt. Albert Jack Downing, Royal Artillery, lived in Bromley, Kent. His wife commenced divorce proceedings. He had three sons [some or all who were evacuees cared for by Marianne]. Alexander Stewart Downing was born 1928, and attended St. Joseph's College, Ipswich 1941-45. He was killed in a car accident 26 July 1968. I visted his widow in Chingford, Essex. Her mother-in-law lived close by and she came to talk to me. Anthony David was born in 1931 and also attnded St. Joseph's. The third son was Derek Evelyn Downing. When Lionel left one of his parishes, he was given a watch inscribed on the case. After his death, Marianne gave this to Sgt. Downing. After the war, he owned a small hotel in Worthing, and retired to Goring-by-Sea. I visited this house and met his second wife. He was ill in bed and died a few weeks later - 6 June 1975 - before I made a second visit.
EMERY John Emery. Born 25 April 1932. Died 10 September 1932 and buried at Borley.
FISHER Henry Francis Fisher. Born 22 December 1900.
FRAMLINGHAM is 6 miles north of Campse Ashe.
FOYSTER Most of the Foyster family who didn't go into the church went into law. I think all of the partners in Scaddin & Bodkin were Foysters except for Gerveys Roderick Dew, and he was a cousin.
FOYSTER Adelaide Foyster. Born Barbara Alice Tower in West Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, 20 March 1928 to Alice G. and Seward W. Tower. Baptised 3 March 1929. She was the youngest of seven children. Adopted by Foysters upon the death of both parents. When I first decided to trace as many people as possible who were connected with Borley, I particularly wanted to talk to Adelaide. I visited the convent in Braintree and they told me the date she started and the date she left, but after that she disappeared. Although I followed many leads, I was unable to trace Adelaide. One problem was that I didn't know the name of her parents. Eventually, I wrote to the vicar of Sackville for information. He put me in touch with a lady who gave me the whole story. The Towers must still have friends or relations in Sackville, because a few weeks later I received a letter from Wally Tower in Rhode Island. He told me the family lost touch with Adelaide during the war and were anxious to find her. A few weeks later, a Mr. and Mrs. Burton called to see me. They had a photograph of a group of nurses in front of a hospital in Xxxxxxxxxx taken in 1949, also an address in Exxxxx. These two items had been given to them by Marianne (proving they had contact with each other). With this information, I was able to trace Adelaide. I visited the Burtons some weeks later in Rhode Island, and they took me to Wisconsin where their daughter and two sons lived. One of the sons lived near LaCrosse, so we went to LaCrosse to thank Marianne for her help in tracing Adelaide. We spent about half an hour talking to Marianne in the building where she worked.
FOYSTER Lionel Algernon Foyster. Died 18 April 1945.
GREENWOOD Harold Greenwood was born 2 June 1893 in Teddington, Middlesex. The photograph shows him with his three brothers, his sister and his mother. He is the young man on the right. His brothers were: John George Greenwood - born 4 December 1873, Arthur Thomas Greenwood - born 10 November 1875, Frank Greenwood - born 23 March 1878. I think his sister May was born in 1888 or 1889. All were born in Teddington. By 1911, when May married clergyman Willaim Yates, the whole family was living in Lancashire. Harold was lodging with the Shaws in Magheramourne in 1914. The port of Larne is near Magheramourne, and is the shortest sea crossing from Ireland to the mainland. I was able to trace one of Harold's nephews in Accrington. He said the only member of the family who had been in touch with Harold was his sister May Yates, and she was dead. I eventually traced May's daughter in Poulton-Le-Flyde. She told me Harold had gone to New Zealand in the 1920s, had remarried, and was now dead. His marriage certificate from New Zealand gave the date when he entered that country - I think it was 1923 - and he had also taken several years off his age. His date of death was 13 August 1961. He had a son and a daughter by his second marriage. It would be intersting to know if [their] marriages were legal. Because of her age, I think it would be invalid under English law, and there are slight differences in Scottish law. She had her parents consent when she married in Belfast, so this may make a difference. Harold's sister was the only member of the family who kept in touch with him after he went to New Zealand. She was the wife of a clergyman, and if she knew the marriage to Marianne was legal, would she have allowed him to commit bigamy in New Zealand?
GREGSON Although William Hart Gregson died in Burnie, Tasmania 27 July 1957, he left property and a will in England. He had gone to Australia after the war with one of his sons. The other son went to America and had been involved in a bullion robbery. I later met Gregson's ex-wife, who told me he died in Tasmania.
HANBURY Hilda Florence Hanbury died 11 March 1972 at St. Leonard's Sussex. Estate £88,125. She was cremated and asked for her ashes to be scattered on the family grave at Aspley Guise, Bedfordshire. She told me the Diary of Occurences was sent round the family, and she still had her copy.
HARRY PRICE LIBRARY Located in the Senate House of the University of London. Alan Wesencraft [was long-time] curator.
IPSWICH A port on the river Orwell, about 70 miles northeast of London.
L'Estrange, Guy P. J. 1898-1973. I visted Guy L'Strange at his home in the early 1960s. At that time he was living in Bungay. I talked to him about his visits to Borley, but unfortunately I didn't make any notes. I was very impressed with him. I seem to remember he told me that he had been mayor or alderman in one of the local towns, I think it was Ipswich. (See family web site which states in part, "Under psychic influences he was able to complete 'intricate psychic drawings' . . . .He contributed a weekly feature entitled " Psychic Corner " for the Yarmouth Independant for 13 months. Most if not all were then reprinted in the Psychic News. His final contribution was early May 1934, after which many articles appeared directly in the Psycic News for around 3 years. . . . In Jan 1937 he participated in a weekly broadcasted Radio Show called In Town Tonight talking about a haunted Rectory in Suffolk. This was possibly Borley Rectory, he was reffered to by Harry Price in both of his books The Most Haunted House in England, and The End of Borley Rectory. . . . L'Estrange was married to Hilda, had at least two daughters, and died in 1973 whilst living at Firsview Drive, Northampton." - courtesy of Andrew Clarke.)
MAYERLING Louis Mayerling was born George Frank David Carter. I visited the search room of the Registrar General. I cannot find a record of the death of Amelia Romonov nor the marriage of Louis Mayerling to Anna Craven. I think most of [his book] is fiction. He is not very truthful. On his 1953 marriage certificate he has changed his name by deed poll, his father's name is Carter. Both his previous marriages were dissolved. I think it is harder to have a marriage dissolved than to get a divorce.
MONK Santiago Monk died 25 July 1939 at 4, Dorset Square, London.
O'NEIL Robert Vincent O'Neil. Married Marianne Foyster 11 August 1945.
O'NEIL Robert Vincent O'Neil. Born Peter Richard. Baptised 11 July 1946 as son of Robert Vincent O'Neil and Marianne (Fischer) O'Neil.
PEARLESS Douglas Stuart Pearless. Born 31 July 1928 to Frank Charles Pearless and Kate Emily (Fernie) Pearless. Father's occupation "master florist." Known at Borley as Francois d'Arles Jr.

PEARLESS Frank Charles Pearless. Born 10 November 1894 at 105, Long Lane, Bermondsey. This was the home of his grandfather, Michael Dumphrey, who is listed in the 1891 census as a Leather Finisher. His grandmother was Mary Dumphrey, listed as a Dress Maker. His parents were Charles Samuel Pearless, and Lucy Dumphrey. Pearless married Ada Ewens in 1918. Her father John Ewens was dead. Her mother must have remarried because I found a man called Wade in Tottenham, London who told me he was Ada's younger brother. Ada divorced Pearless in 1934 and moved with the three children to America. In the late 1920s, Pearless was living with a woman named Kate Emily Fernie in Wood Green, London. She was the mother of the boy Pearless brought to Borley (Francois d'Arles Jr.). He was born 31 July 1928. Pearless married Jessie Irene Dorothy Mitchell 4 August 1934. There was a son and daughter to this marriage. The daughter is living in Australia. I visited the son and met his mother who lives with him. She divorced Pearless in 1944, and died 10 October 1978. He married Jessie (Pring) Steed 10 November 1944. She was the divorced wife of Walter Arthur Steed. Sometime in the 1950s, they emigrated to Australia. They had one daughter. When I visted his sister in Tottenham, she told me her brother came home to die. He was so ill when he arrived, he went straight into hospital and died there about six weeks later (1966). I supplied Peter Underwood with the information and photograph of Frank Pearless which he used in The Ghosts of Borley.

PRICE Harry Price. Born 17 January 1881. Died 29 March 1948.
PRINCE Ivy Johnson Prince. Married Harold Brackenbury, 12 October 1899. Married Harry Bull, 12 September 1911.
RICHARDSON Barbara Isabell Richardson appears in many Foyster wills. I always thought she was one of Lionel's married sisters.
SHAW Geoffrey Steele Shaw. Brother of Mary Anne. Born 7 March 1897.
SHAW Born Ian Geoffrey William Greenwood, 19 April 1915. Ian Shaw of 21 Oakfield Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, died in 1986. Was divorced from his first wife, married Margaret Kearney, age 27, on 11 December 1946, when he gave his occupation as a master builder. His widow was still living at the above address in recent years.
SHAW Mary Anne Emily Rebecca Shaw. Born 26 January 1899. Married Harold Gifford Greenwood 8 June 1914 in Scotland via sheriff's warrant, and 12 November 1914 in Ireland. Signed name as "Marianne" in Belfast. Married Lionel Algernon Foyster 22 August 1922. Married Henry Francis Fisher 23 February 1935. Married Robert Vincent O'Neil 11 August 1945. Died 18 December 1992.
SHAW Maureen Anne. Born 5 April 1940 to Ian Geoffrey William Shaw and Sarah (Ross) Shaw.
SHAW William Steele Shaw died 9 October 1943 at Magheramourne. As far as I know, he was only married once to Annie Elizabeth Woodyatt 22 February 1896. (Marianne used to claim she had a step-mother.)
SMITH There is a lot of misleading information about Guy Eric Smith in the Borley books. After leaving Calcutta University in 1907, Smith was employed by the government in the department dealing with shipping. At the age of 39 he gave up his secure pensionable work in order to come to England and train for the ministry. This was a three year course, but if you had been to an approved University it was only two years. He married Sarah Helen Mabel Hart late in life, 1 November 1924. Immediately after the wedding, they boarded a ship to come [to England]. Smith told Price their early married life was spent in India, but if you look at the marriage certificate you will see that they must have spent their honeymoon on the boat coming to England. Presumably the Indians do not approve of mixed marriage. He was ordained at the end of 1926. [Inducted to living at Borley 2 October 1928.] One of the people I wanted to talk to [about Borley] was Mary Pearson (Tatum). The family was still living in Sudbury and when I visited them I found Mary had died a few months beofre. The family was happy to talk to me about Borley, and then showed me some photographs. This is the photograph Peter Underwood used in his book The Ghosts of Borley. I was amazed to see he was an Indian. There were few coloured people in England before the war, so it must have been a shock for the Borley people to have a coloured vicar married to a white woman. In a small rural parish [it] must have been devastating. Died 3 August 1940.

SNAPE Where Lionel and Marianne lived before moving to Dairy Cottage. Is eight miles southeast of Framlingham.
SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH - SPR The main advantage of having membership was having access to their library. Financial problems some years ago forced them to move into a smaller building with insuffcient space to house the library, which is now on loan to Cambridge University about 60 miles from London.
VIAL Donald Fredrick Pratt Vial lived at a number of Borley addresses in the 1930s. One year, he was registered at the rectory, I think it was 1934. Unfortunately, he died 2 June 1979 before I had an opportunity to talk to him. His name is not mentioned in any Borley book.