391 - Light Mass Prayers

The Haunting of Borley Rectory


CD Cover Art

1. Nun’s Walk
2. Don’t Carlos, Don’t
3. Ring Out, Wild Bells
4. Séance In The Blue Room
5. Messages For Marianne
6. Novena
7. The Fate Of Katie Boreham
8. Sunex Amures
9. The Rectory Aflame
10. Bones Beneath The Cellar

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The huge Victorian rectory that dominated the Essex village of Borley, from the time it was first built in 1863 to the night it was gutted by fire in 1939, has become famous - some might say notorious - as "the most haunted house in England".

Marianne Foyster, circa 1922
Over the years many books have been published that examine the case of Borley Rectory from all angles, so we will not go into detail about the alleged phenomena, other than to say that the reported occurrences run almost the entire gamut of paranormal manifestations. Apparitions (most notably the "Borley nun"), mysterious lights in the windows of locked and unoccupied rooms, unexplained footsteps, voices, odours and all manner of poltergeist activity have been reported. Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of this "haunting" was the appearance, during the five-year residency of the Rev. Lionel Algernon Foyster and his enigmatic wife Marianne, of messages pencilled on the walls and on scraps of paper. These messages, garbled and sometimes almost indecipherable though they were, seemed to be addressed directly to Marianne, asking for help, rest and, particularly, "light, mass and prayers". Even after the Foysters left the Rectory in 1935, pencil-marks continued to appear on the walls, though these were little more than scribbles and occasional half-formed letters.

Despite the fact that the fire-blacked ruins were all but demolished by the end of 1945 and no trace of the building now exists, unexplained phenomena are still reported at the site of the Rectory and in the parish church opposite.





Harry Price, Psychic Investigator
The psychic investigator Harry Price was chiefly responsible for bringing the story of Borley Rectory to the notice of the general public with his books The Most Haunted House In England (1940) and The End Of Borley Rectory (1946), and these have been the main source of inspiration to 391 in the composition of the pieces in this collection. It seems only fair, however, to mention some of the other major works on the subject.

Peter Underwood has probably taken over Harry Price's role as the greatest living expert on the Borley phenomenon. With Paul Tabori he wrote The Ghosts Of Borley (1973) and has also published Borley Postscript (2001) and contributed to The Borley Rectory Companion (2009)

The Enigma Of Borley Rectory (1996) by Ivan Banks is an astoundingly detailed and well-researched addition to the literature.

Taking a more sceptical approach is The Haunting Of Borley Rectory (1956) by Eric Dingwall, Mollie Goldney and Trevor Hall, although Robert Hastings' report in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (March 1969) showed this work to be little more than a thinly-disguised attempt at character assassination, fuelled by Hall's apparent vendetta against Harry Price (who, having died in 1948, was not in a position to defend himself).

Robert Wood's book The Widow Of Borley (1992), while obviously influenced by Hall's anti-Price views, nonetheless remains a fascinating biography of Marianne Foyster, one of the most controversial players in the Borley drama.


Composed, performed, recorded and produced by 391
at Waterden Studios, Scunthorpe

John C. Hocknell: Electronics, Planchette
Mark Lancaster: Guitars, EMF Meter
Sharon Petche: Keyboards, Ouija Board
Theo Maxwell: Tapes, Electronic Voice Phenomena
William Thorne: Percussion, Unexplained Noises