James Gilbert Lilley, ('Dane Chandos')

Male 1913 - 1980  (66 years)


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  • Name James Gilbert Lilley 
    Suffix ('Dane Chandos') 
    Nickname Peter 
    Born 25 Jul 1913  Tendring, Essex Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As James Gilbert Lilley was always known as 'Peter', and the death index records him as 'Peter James G Lilley Thomas' - Thomas being his mother's maiden name.

    He wrote books under the pseudonyms of Dane Chandos (see explanation below) and Bruce Buckingham. 
    . From 'Lake Chapala Review' http://tinyurl.com/a8vppsg :
    'I arrived at Lake Chapala with fantasies of writing a novel set in Ajijic. Little did I know that my research would lead me to Dane Chandos and the books Village in the Sun and House in the Sun, published in 1945 and 1949. Intrigued, I was surprised to discover that Dane Chandos was a pseudonym for the writing team of Nigel Millett and Peter Lilley and, later, after Millet's death, the duo of Peter Lilley and Anthony Stansfeld.

    The first book is a foreigner's perspective about life on Lake Chapala in the 1940s. The second book chronicles more adventures in the same vein as the previous book. Who was 'Dane Chandos'? My books didn't state that it was a pseudonym, and neither book provided information about the three authors. Had I bought the Lakeside paperback reprints, instead of the pricey, used hard-cover editions from the States, some of my questions would have been immediately answered.

    Stansbury Girtin Millett formally changed his name to Nigel Stansbury Girtin Stansbury Millett in January 1937. He was the only child of Henry Stansbury Millett (1867-1947), a barrister, and Mary Frances Barnard (1867-1935), who married on November 18, 1903. Millett was born on October 23, 1904, in England and was educated at Oxford University. Tall, dark-haired, he was well-travelled and fluent in several languages.

    Millett and his father arrived in Los Angeles by ship on March 29, 1937, and then on to Ajijic. They lived at the Casa Particular, a small inn managed by a German couple, the Heuers. Later, he lived with the Ramirez family and convinced them to turn their Hacienda into an inn and restaurant, renaming it the Posada Ajijic. Now a restaurant/bar, it is casually known as the Old Posada.

    Millett collaborated at the Posada with Peter Lilley to write Village in the Sun. Millett's earlier books used the pseudonym Richard Oke; a name borrowed from ancestor Richard Oke Millett who died in 1832.

    Millett died of tuberculosis in Guadalajara in 1946. He was buried in Guadalajara; a few years later his remains were moved to the Ajijic Cemetery at the western end of Calle Ocampo. His flat tombstone reads: Nigel Stansbury Millett 1904-1946, Author, Frolic Wind (Richard Oke), Village in the Sun, (Dane Chandos). To the right is his father's headstone: Harry S. Stansbury Millett, 1867-1947.

    Co-author Peter Lilley, born an only child at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England on July 25, 1913, was named James Gilbert Lilley, but nicknamed Peter. His parents, James Cecil Lilley and Madeline Clare Angus-Thomas, married in September 1912 in London. Lilley resided at Grafton House while attending the private Stowe School from 1927 to 1932 in Buckingham. Captain of the tennis team, the blond Lilley was nicknamed 'Dane' because of his Danish-looking square jaw. 'Chandos' was the name of a boarding house at Stowe School. Lilley wrote several books using another alias, Bruce Buckingham.

    Lilley travelled frequently and visited Ajijic several times before settling here in the 1930s. Lilley and Millett built a house on the shore of Lake Chapala in San Antonio Tlayacapan where Lilley remained long after Millett's death. Lilley finally returned to England where he died at the London Clinic on April 17, 1980.

    The third of these Englishmen who wrote so colorfully about Lakeside was Anthony Ralph Wolryche Stansfeld (March 4 1913 - March 7 1998) of Winchester, Hampshire. Stansfeld was a 1932 Oxford University graduate; he taught art history at Macon University in Atlanta, Georgia. He became friends with Peter Lilley during a visit to Ajijic and collaborated with Lilley on House in the Sun. Another frequent traveler, he owned a residence in Macon, Georgia, at the time of his death.

    Moreen (Binkie) Chater, a long-time friend of Lilley, now owns Lilley's lakefront home with its lush, sprawling landscape in San Antonio Tlayacapan. After his death, she discovered in his bottom desk drawer a 'scruffy folder' containing a manuscript of recipes 'faintly typed and badly eaten by mice.' In 1999, Chater compiled these recipes into a book, Candelaria's Cookbook, keeping them as Lilley and Candeleria, his cook, had written them many years before. Chater was also instrumental in reprinting the two 'Sun' books. Chater dispels rumors of another author of the books, stating that Lilley's sense of humor runs through them.

    Imagine, three English authors living under the Mexican sun, drawn together more than 60 years ago to write two books which chronicle life long gone at Lakeside.' 
    . Apr - May 1938  Southampton - New York - Southampton Find all individuals with events at this location 
    27 Apr 1938: Peter (James Gilbert Lilley) and his cousin Thomas sail from Southampton to New York on the CGT liner 'Normandie':
    LILLEY Peter, 24, 75 Gloucester Pl. London, Profession nil
    LILLEY Thomas, 35, 2 Orchard Ct, London, Director

    They return on the Cunard White Star liner 'Queen Mary', arriving on 30 May 1938:
    LILLEY PETER, B5, 24, 75 Gloucester Place London W1, Director
    LILLEY THOMAS, B9, 34, 2 Orchard Court, Portman Square London, Director 
    . 25 Jun 1940  Liverpool - New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Peter Lilley, age 27, of 75 Gloucester Place, London N1, Executive, sails on the White Star Line ship 'Scythia' from Liverpool to New York. 
    . 4 - 28 Nov 1954   Tlayacapan, Mexico Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Reginald John Page and his wife visited James 'Peter' Lilley as part of their American tour 10 Sep - 10 Dec 1954.  
    . 1945-1957 
    Books written by Peter Lilley aka 'Dane Chandos':

    Village in the Sun (1945) - set in Ajijic
    Abbie (1947)
    House in the Sun (1949) - set in Ajijic
    Journey in the Sun (1952) - a trip from Mexico through Franco's Spain
    Isles to Windward (1955) - an account of a visit to the West Indies
    The Trade Wind Islands (1955) (possibly the same book as 'Isles to Windward')
    Abbie & Arthur (1961) - broadcast on the BBC until 1994
    Candelaria's Cookbook (1997) - set in Ajijic and published after his death by Moreen Chater.

    Published under the pen-name Bruce Buckingham:
    Three Bad Nights (1956)
    Boiled Alive (1957)
    These two mysteries introduce a Mexican detective, Don Pancho, a huarache-wearing marquis who solves jewel thefts, murders and other glamorous international crimes. 
    Died 17 Apr 1980  The London Clinic, Westminster Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I12414  Simpson & Elder
    Last Modified 28 Feb 2014 

    Father James Cecil Lilley,   b. 19 Aug 1877, Paddington, London Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Jan 1948, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Mother Madeline Clare Angus-Thomas,   b. 28 Sep 1890,   d. Oct - Dec 1979, Wandsworth, London Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years) 
    Married 12 Sep 1912  All Souls Church, St Marylebone Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • James Cecil Lilley, 35, Bachelor, Director, Ivy House Great Portland Street, Father Thomas Lilley Gentleman
      Madeline Clare Angus Thomas, 21, Spinster, 52 Princes Square Bayswater, Father Angus Thomas (dec) Fancy Publisher
      Witensses: Clara J Burnham, W Martin Burnham
    Family ID F374  Group Sheet

  • Photos

    'House in the Sun', a book written by Peter Lilley ('Dane Chandos') and Nigel Millett, published in 1949.

    'Village in the Sun', a book written by Peter Lilley ('Dane Chandos') and published in 1945.

    'Isles to Windward', a book written by Peter Lilley aka 'Dane Chandos'.
    'Candelaria's Cookbook' (1997)
    'Candelaria's Cookbook' (1997)
    After James Lilley died, a scruffy folder was found tucked under a pile of old papers in the bottom drawer of an ancient roll-top desk in his study. It contained a manuscript called Candelaria's Cookbook, faintly typed and badly eaten by mice. This unique collection of recipes was published by Moreen Chater in 1997, exactly as Dane Chandos and his cook Candelaria wrote them in the late 1930s. The only alterations to the text are those made by the mice. [From the sleevenotes]


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