A Pilgrimage to Borley, the site of what was described as the most haunted house in England.
On the 1st of August 2021 our founder, David Goulden made a visit to the quiet hamlet of Borley on the Essex/Suffolk border and sumarises his thoughts in the following paragraphs.
There are only a handful of dwellings in Borley, including the 12th-century church, Borley Lodge, and Borley Place which was the one-time rectory before the later much larger Borley Rectory was built in 1862 by the Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull to accommodate his family of 14 children. The rectory itself is no more having been destroyed by fire in 1939 and finally demolished in 1944.
Price was the leading ghost hunter of the Victorian age and was at the center of the investigations into the Borley hauntings.
As I walked the landscape from Sudbury to nearby Liston, then Liston to Borley and finally Borley to Long Melford, I couldn’t help but feel a stirring for how it must have felt for Price driving around the quiet country back lanes in the 1920s, researching one of the world’s most famous hauntings. It is so easy to get lead astray by the romance of it all! And, the stunning landscape really does set the scene.
It has all the ingredients of the classic English ghost story.
As I caught my first sight of the Borley Church tower on the skyline with Liston Church, where the bones of the alleged nun are buried behind me, my mind was on one side carried away with this place that has such a legacy in the world of paranormal research. The other was in the reality of a wet Sunday afternoon at the beginning of August and a glancing thought that I could easily be visiting any other rural idyll and churchyard in the land. But then again this was Borley!
My discreet visit to the churchyard and not the rectory site, which has over a course of time been occupied by modern private dwellings was a very cold and wet affair, with me spending most of the time huddled in chancel door attempting to stay dry. I did venture around the grounds during my visit paying my respects to the Bulls who are buried in the churchyard and who knew the rectory best as their home. The magnificent and familiar Yew trees that signal the path to the church entrance and the trees that surround the site were rustling and creaking around me as I took shelter. That in itself added to the strange feeling that the churchyard seems to evoke! One that you may not be alone! Many have reported this feeling at Borley Church, which is very easy to conjure up when you consider the past mysteries of this place. Borley itself is silent with only an occasional car passing through.
It was hard to imagine at times that it all actually happened here and that I was stood at the hallowed site of the most haunted house in England.
I came away with a feeling of accomplishment, that I had endured the elements and fulfilled a mission to make my own pilgrimage to Borley. I left with a feeling, a sense that the inhabitants and just maybe the ghosts have all now finally moved on from the heady days of Harry Price… or have they?