The Price Tenancy


















The Haunting of Borley Rectory by Sidney H. Glanville - Private & Confidential Report (also known as The 'Locked Book')

A Brief History by Paul Adams


The original copy of Sidney Glanville's The Haunting of Borley Rectory Report (Reproduced from The Enigma of Borley Rectory by Ivan Banks [Foulsham, 1996])

One of the most important pieces of original documentation associated with the Borley Rectory case is the so-called 'Locked Book' report complied by Sidney Glanville.  Glanville had been the first person to respond to Harry Price's advertisement in The Times newspaper and had approached the task with enthusiasm and great seriousness.  Once Harry Price's tenancy drew to a close in May 1938, Glanville collated the mass of correspondence, drawings, notes and tracings which he had prepared during the course of the year long observation period and compiled a dossier entitled The Haunting of Borley Rectory - Private & Confidential Report which he presented to Price.  Price had this document bound in three-quarter calf and fitted with a Braman lock and used the report, together with the reports of the other members of his corp. of official observers and his own notes, to produce his first book on the Borley Rectory hauntings, The Most Haunted House in England, which was published by Longman, Green & Co. Ltd. in 1940.

The 'Locked Book' has a suitably enigmatic history of its own which befits its famous and controversial subject matter.  Once Price had finished using Glanville's report to write The Most Haunted House in England, the Locked Book remained in Price's library and was subsequently presented along with all Price's other books as part of his bequest to the University of London Library.  In 1948, following Price's death, Sidney Glanville visited the University of London and asked the then current librarian of the Harry Price Library, Dr. H.P. Pafford if he could borrow the Locked Book.  At the time of his death, Harry Price was at work on a third book on the Borley case and there was a subsequent movement to complete this volume, Sidney Glanville being one of the co-authors along with Mrs. C.C. Baines and Peter Underwood.  Glanville presumably borrowed his original report in order to re-examine his original notes on the case.

In 1951, the Society for Psychical Research decided to carry out its own investigation into the Borley Rectory hauntings and new S.P.R. member Trevor Hall was one of the three people entrusted with the task of re-examining the famous case.  Hall naturally sought out Glanville as Price's 'Chief Observer' in the 1937/38 investigation and the two men became friends, Hall making several visits to Glanville's country cottage in Fittleworth, West Sussex to discuss the hauntings.  Sidney Glanville was one of the few people associated with Harry Price's investigation of Borley to emerge from the S.P.R.'s subsequent 'Borley Report' unscathed, although by the time it was published in January 1956, Glanville had been dead for over two years.  In July 1953, six months before Glanville's death, Trevor Hall visited Glanville at his West Sussex home and after a lengthy meeting Glanville inscribed the original copy of his Locked Book report to Hall and presented it to him.  Hall subsequently sold the Locked Book to a dealer in America for over £1000. 

Glanville's presentation of the original Locked Book to Trevor Hall was treated with some surprise and consternation by the University of London who considered the book to be their property - the library's view is set out in an internal memorandum dated 19th June 1959 drafted by Dr. Pafford.  Trevor Hall was in no doubt that the inclusion of the book in the bequest to the University by Harry Price was a mistake and stated this fact in at least two of his subsequent essays on the Borley case (1).  He considered that Glanville had only loaned the book to Price and was correct to retrieve it in 1948, and he - Hall - was therefore within his rights to subsequently sell it after Glanville had given it to him.  Despite their differing viewpoints, Hall allowed the Locked Book to be microfilmed and a copy was given to the University of London Library who never pursued their claim to the ownership of the original.

Sidney Glanville prepared the original typewritten manuscript of the Locked Book and it is a copy of this that is held in the Harry Price Collection at the University of London.  However, Trevor Hall prepared a further two typescript copies of the original, one of which is in the library of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.  As far as I am aware the copies of the 'Locked Book' that appears on this website are from the microfilmed original held as part of the Harry price Collection.

1. For an account of the history of the Locked Book as presented by Trevor Hall, see his essay A Note of Borley Rectory, published in A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology.

The 'Locked Book' Index pages



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All original text, photographs & graphics used throughout this website are © copyright 2004-2005 by Paul G. Adams.  All other material reproduced here is the copyright of the respective authors.