Rokeby was built in 1840 by Captain G.N. Cauthy and is one of the landmarks of Landour. The house and two acre estate are situated slightly above and to the east of St. Paul’s Church and the old cantonment parade ground, which is now Char Dukan. Like many houses in Mussoorie, its name is taken from the writings of Sir Walter Scott, whose book-length poem describes heroic battles near the original Rokeby Castle in England.
Rokeby Manor, Mussoorie Several years after it was built, the house came into the possession of Lt. Col. Reilly, who also owned Ralston, another residence in Mussoorie. In 1878, Reilly mortgaged both properties for Rs. 25,000 to Frederick ‘Pahari’ Wilson, a controversial adventurer and entrepreneur, who was the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s classic story, “The Man Who Would Be King”. Wilson minted his own gold coins and carved out his personal domain along the headwaters of the Ganga, at Harsil, harvesting timber and introducing apples to the Himalayas. Pahari Wilson and his Garhwali wife, Gulabi, are buried in the cemetery on Camel’s Back Road.
Rokeby Manor, Mussoorie In 1891, Rokeby was purchased from the estate of Wilson’s son, Henry, for Rs. 10,000, by Rev. J.S. Woodside, one of the founders of Woodstock School. It then passed into the hands of Dr. J. Symington, of Carthage North Carolina, who sold it to the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1930. They converted it into a boarding house for young missionary ladies who were studying Urdu and Hindi at the Landour Language School. The first managers of this boarding house were Miss A.E. Lawson and Miss Ida Farmer.
Rokeby Manor, Mussoorie Methodist missionaries continued to operate the property as a guest house throughout the rest of the 20th century. Today, Rokeby has been carefully restored to its original glory. This heritage building is resplendent with character in its elaborate brick arches and niches, intricate stone walls, real wood floors and beams, and cosy fireplaces. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, the traditions of bygone years – where colonial officers, renegade soldiers of fortune and pious miss saibs lived under one roof – can still be felt. An air of mystery beckons visitors.