Hoax letter writers

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This article covers various hoax letter writers.

Henry Root[edit]

Henry Root is the creation of writer William Donaldson who wrote to numerous public figures with unusual or outlandish questions and requests. The letters were published as The Henry Root Letters and The Further Letters of Henry Root and a compilation volume, The Complete Henry Root Letters.

The Henry Root character inspired the ITV mini-series, Root Into Europe, starring George Cole.

Francis Wagstaffe[edit]

Francis Wagstaffe is the creation of the Reverend Toby Forward, BEd, MA, and the Reverend David Johnson, BA (Cantab), sometime President of the Cambridge Union, now Chaplain to the Oxford Union.

Wagstaffe wrote to prominent people, mostly Anglican bishops, but also others including Michael Green, Conrad Swan, Ted Hughes, Roy Jenkins, Roger Freeman, Cilla Black, Rocco Forte, Stella Rimington, and Melvyn Bragg as well as organisations including the Royal Air Force, the Royal Artillery, the British Broadcasting Corporation, British Rail, Madame Tussauds, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Russian Embassy.

In the earlier letters he poses as a purveyor of Cumberland sausages and former prep school proprietor who is seeking guidance on the Christian faith, and in the later letters he poses as His Grace the Most Reverend the Archbishop of the Old Northern Catholick Church of the East Riding Mar Francis II Metropolitan and Primate, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Saint John of Beverly (1st Class).

Published as Toby Forward and David Johnson, eds, The Spiritual Quest of Francis Wagstaffe (Leominster: Gracewing, 1994). The publication supported St Peter's Young Homeless Support Centre in Highfields, Leicester.


Other prank mail and reviewers include:

See also[edit]


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