Edgar Wallace & Chalklands

Edgar Wallace 1875 – 1932

Wallace wrote over 170 novels, 957 short stories & numerous poetry, non-fiction & screenplays. 160 films were made using his work but Wallace was most famous for creating “King Kong”.edgar wallace plaque

I started out wanting to write about his time in Chalklands but before I knew it, I was on Ancestry looking at the confusing circumstances that surrounded his birth.

Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace was born 1st April 1875 as the illegitimate son of an actor & stagehand/actress.

When looking into his parents, things get very sketchy, so many names & people surround this child. There seems to be conflicting records of his Mother’s name but after looking at his baptism records I believe his Mother was named Mary Jane “Polly” Wallace at this time. Richards has been recorded elsewhere but this seems to be that of her husband that died at sea previously & her maiden name was Blair.

The baptism record below, shows the parents as Walter & Mary Jane Wallace so my next question was who is Walter? Well, it appears that is in fact, the actor she had the affair with, Richard Horatio Marriott Walter Edgar Wallace.

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Mary found life tough with a new baby so at just 9 days old, Wallace was fostered by George & Clara Freeman & later adopted.

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His country home Chalklands, off Blind Lane in Bourne End was bought in 1928 costing £24,000 after various additions & renovations. The house had previously belonged to Senor Raul de Casares & before that, Gilbert & Edith Gilbey.

Chalklands country home   Unity House Bourne end

After his death the house was sold in 1932 at auction & since 1977, The Vendanta Centre has quietly resided there.

Although Wallace died in Beverley Hills, California at the age of 56 from diabetes related problems & now his body lays in an untouched plot in the beautiful, Little Marlow Cemetery.

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I think most of us have guessed that when Chalklands Estate was built in the mid 1930’s it was named after the country house by the builder Arthur Jameson having worked as a bricklayer on the original Chalklands House.

My grandparents, Stan & Dorothy Townsend bought one of these houses with a £25 discount as Stan agreed to do the painting. They lived happily in Chalklands with their 3 sons, Brian, Kenneth & Raymond. I have fond memories of staying at no.64 /no.26 (the house numbers were changed in the 70’s!).

Later on Edgar Wallace Place was built & of course, named after the writer.

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