B O R L E Y R E C T O R Y
Borley Rectory no longer exists and, some would say, the ghosts never did.
Borley is a small hamlet
on the borders of Essex and Suffolk, lying between Sudbury and Long
Melford, some fifteen miles from Bury St. Edmunds. It comprises of a
few scattered houses and its only noticeable feature is the twelfth
Next to the church stands
the sixteenth century house - Borley Place. In 1862 Borley Place was
the home of the rector of the Parish - the Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis
Bull MA - while he built, across the road, Borley Rectory to house sizable
family and numerous servants. Whilst there is an unfounded tradition
that the rectory was built on the site of a thirteenth century monastery,
it is probable that a least two other buildings had previously occupied
the site - an earlier rectory and Borley Manor House. As the size of
the Bull family grew the rectory was added to, originally having eight
bedrooms, a further three were added in 1875 - 6.
Following the death
of Henry Bull (1833 - 92, rector of Borley 1862 - 92), the Reverend
Harry Foyster Bull (1862 - 1927, rector of Borley 1892 -
1927) succeeded his father as rector of Borley and continued to live
in the house with a number of his siblings. Both are buried in the churchyard.
On the death of Harry
Bull the rectory remained vacant for over a year, until it was occupied
by Rev. Guy Eric Smith and his wife, Mabel, in October, 1928. It was
Rev. Smith, who concerned by local rumours and his own unexplainable
experience, sought help from the Daily Mirror. In turn the editor of
the Daily Mirror contacted Harry Price, the well know ghost hunter and
psychical investigator. Harry Price visited the house in June 1929.
Soon after his visit, on 14th July, the Smiths moved out, to be followed
by a cousin of the Bull's - the Reverend Lionel Algernon Foyster (rector
of Borley 1930 - 35).
In 1936 the livings of Borley and neighbouring Liston were merged, the rector - Rev. A. C. Henning - residing the Liston Rectory, about a mile from Borley. Becoming redundant, Borley Rectory was, at the end of 1938, sold to Captain Gregson, shortly afterwards, in what may be described as strange circumstances, the rectory was burned down. Storms caused further damage to the structure and it was subsequently demolished. Harry Price assumed that with the end of Borley Rectory the phenomena associated with the building would also come to an end, he later declared that this conclusion had been in error and that the ghosts had simply moved across the road to Borley Church.