Although Jordan Adlard Rogers had had suspicions about his father’s identity for many years, he had never been quite able to dig out the truth. When a DNA test finally revealed all, however, the results brought with them a shocking piece of news: he was the heir to a $60 million fortune. And the story of how Jordan arrived at that point is quite something too.
Prior to finding out he was a millionaire, you see, Jordan had endured a tough upbringing that was almost totally at odds with the life he would inherit. He had been conceived during a brief relationship, while his mother, Julie, was a free spirit who wed another man just three weeks after her baby’s arrival. And Julie and her husband Gary Galloway would raise young Jordan for the first few years of his life in Cornwall, England.
These were fondly remembered times for Jordan, who had once assumed Gary to be his biological father. He told the Daily Mail in May 2019, “I adored Gary. One of my earliest memories is sitting on his shoulders and feeling so safe and happy. It was like a giant was carrying me around.” Yet life would eventually change for Jordan when Julie left Gary – and took her young son with her.
Then, after that, Julie ultimately fell for a man named Buster from a nearby traveling community – meaning the then four-year-old Jordan would have to get used to a peripatetic lifestyle. He later told the Daily Mail, “I’d just started nursery school in Cornwall. Suddenly, I was traveling the country with Mum and her boyfriend Buster.”
And Jordan explained how that period had felt for him. He continued, “Kids are very adaptable, but it was such a shock [that] I’ve blocked a lot of it out. I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere. The gypsy kids didn’t accept me because I was what they called a gorger – someone who just tags along. We’d live on sites where the [bathroom] would be the bushes.”
The boy’s learning was seemingly affected, too. Jordan recalled, “I’d go to school for a few days, then we’d be off to the next camp. My education really suffered. I was so behind that kids called me ‘Dumb Dumb.’” He added, “I hated school. I preferred to be on the camp playing with my air rifle or jumping in and out of abandoned cars.”
And if life wasn’t difficult enough for Jordan at this point, he would soon discover some deeply upsetting news. In short, his supposed dad – Gary – had suffered a fatal mishap that to this day he has little information about. In the end, though, it was just another shock in a childhood full of them.
So, desperately seeking a father figure, Jordan begged Buster to be that man. “I clearly remember asking [Buster] to be my new dad,” he told the Daily Mail. “[And] when he said ‘Yes’ and that I could call him Dad, I was made up. I don’t want to sound self-pitying because, tough as it was, living with the gypsies made me who I am.”
Jordan added, “Gypsy life is very aggressive. There’d be cockerel fighting in the evenings, where Buster and his mates would set their birds against each other for sport. Buster was tough. I had a black Labrador, Jess, who was my best friend. One day Jess attacked one of Buster’s birds, so he got rid of her. That was it. My dog was gone.”
In 1994 Jordan’s family unit grew, too, when Julie welcomed Buster’s daughter Queenie; Jordan was nearly seven at the time. However, Julie and Buster’s relationship wasn’t to last, as two years after that the couple split. Then Julie, Queenie and Jordan moved into public housing.
And at this point the boy began going to school in earnest – even though the journey was far from straightforward. Jordan told the Daily Mail, “We didn’t have a car, and Mum was rarely up in the mornings, so I used to walk one and a half miles to school on my own.”
Yet while it would be easy for Jordan to hold his mother responsible for everything that happened in his childhood, he doesn’t actually feel that way. He said, “I don’t want to blame [Julie]. She lost her own dad when she was nine, and that affected her. She’s picked partners who were violent. I’ve seen her beaten up by boyfriends and was too little to do anything to help.”
Yet the next bombshell was only around the corner, as Jordan started to question why he wasn’t growing to be as tall as Gary. And according to the man himself, he had asked his mom about the mystery. “I’d been pestering her about why I was so small. I’m only 5’8”, when Gary was well over 6 foot,” he later explained to the Daily Mail.
Yet Julie’s response was not what the boy was expecting to hear. Yes, she explained to Jordan that Gary hadn’t actually been his father at all; instead, a different man, Charles Rogers, was his biological dad. And while Jordan was obviously shocked by the revelation, his initial feeling was one of grief. He later said, “I couldn’t take it in. I didn’t care about this new man Charles. I just felt [like] I’d lost my dad twice.”
In fact, Charles’ name meant nothing to Jordan to begin with. And as it happens, he’d only attach the name Rogers to the one he’d been using – Adlard – once he’d discovered his true parentage. So, who was this man whom Julie claimed was the boy’s birth father? Well, Jordan recalled to the Daily Mail his first meeting with the man whom his mom said was his dad.
Soon after informing her son of his father’s true identity, Julie whisked the youngster off to his dad’s home – and what a home it was. Jordan reminisced, “I remember this huge drive with all these bushes and trees [and] then arriving at the front door of the cottage on the estate where Rogers was living. Mum was hammering at the door when this man appeared, looking very smart in a white shirt and tie. He was very calm. He led us into the sitting room, smiled down at me and said, ‘Your mum and I need to talk.’”
Who was this mysterious Charles Rogers? Well, it turned out that he was part of the local aristocracy. In particular, Charles was a member of the family who had resided at a famous country residence in Cornwall for more than two centuries. The Penrose estate, which is situated in the area of Helston, consists of 1,536 acres of land as well as a grand old house.
The lord of the manor had once been Lieutenant Commander John Peverell Rogers, who had passed away in 2012. And John, in conjunction with his wife, Angela, had overseen the donation of large parts of the Penrose estate to the National Trust, which has effectively managed much of the property and its lands since 1974.
Charles, then, was not only the youngest son of John, but he was also the heir to Penrose; he had outlived his older brother Nigel, who had died childless years before. However, it turns out that Charles had never actually lived in Penrose House itself as it was inhabited by his mother. And both Charles and his mom died just two weeks apart in 2018.
The truth finally came out about Charles and Julie’s relationship, too. As a young man, Charles had met Jordan’s mom in the town of Porthleven, and they had gotten together at a spot in the village where local young people would hang out. At the time, Rogers was in his 30s while Julie was just 18 – and despite the differences in both their ages and backgrounds, the pair started up an affair.
Julie’s stepfather, John Binns, would later recall the time when Julie revealed the pregnancy, following what he described as her “very brief fling” with Charles. He explained to the Daily Mail, “[Julie] just came home one night, said she was pregnant and was going to keep the baby. That was that. Nothing more was really said, and the father was never ever involved – although we all knew who he was.”
And although it’s not said whether Charles ever found out that Julie was pregnant, it’s evident that the young aristocrat was battling with his own demons. Born into a line of senior military professionals, the young Charles was earmarked for the same career. After completing his education, then, he took on the role of a non-commissioned officer in the army in Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately, Charles’ active tour of duty in Northern Ireland seemed to coincide with one of the region’s most tumultuous spells in terms of fighting. This experience may well have left a strong impression on the young soldier, too. In any case, when he ultimately returned to Penrose, he seemingly struggled to find any meaningful direction.
It wasn’t long before a family tragedy struck, either: Charles’ only brother, Nigel, passed away of leukemia around the time that Charles had met Julie. So, since Nigel had been due to inherit the Rogers fortune, Charles now found himself its recipient. And apparently unknown to him, he too would have an heir, as Jordan was born a few months later.
Jordan shared with the Daily Mail his belief that his biological father had been struggling to cope. He said, “There was always a pressure of him trying to match expectation. His brother was an RAF pilot and his dad a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, so he had big shoes to fill. He was under huge pressure taking it on, but he was different and a free spirit. Charles served in the army in Northern Ireland, and I think this affected him greatly – along with the death of his brother Nigel, whom he was very close to, from cancer.”
At the time that Charles met Julie, in fact, he was living the life of a hippy and wearing his hair longer. The young aristocrat also resided in a property on the Penrose estate, and it seems that he fended for himself using the money that the estate provided for him. Yet one of Charles’ relatives, Jan Rogers, didn’t speak fondly of him even after his death. Back then, Jan explained, the young man had been a “hopeless drug addict.”
Jan, who was related to Charles through her husband, Michael, told the Daily Mail, “I met [Charles] when he must have been in his early 20s, and he was a likeable enough person, but he was a bit useless really. He joined the army and served in Northern Ireland. We don’t really know what went on there, but he wasn’t in it for very long, and afterwards he didn’t really do anything at all.”
Jan continued, “I think he was a dreadful disappointment to his mother, who worried for him. Well, she would, [as] he was the youngest.” And according to the inquest into his death, Charles – who was found deceased in his car on the estate in 2018 – appeared to have had his problems with drugs for a long time.
The inquest, which was heard in the Cornish town of Truro, revealed that Rogers had in fact taken an overdose of a drug that is typically prescribed. The investigation also found that there was nothing suspicious about his death – although it’s unclear whether the overdose was deliberate or accidental.
But that end may help explain how Charles had seemed in a meeting with his son – an event that Jordan later recalled. Jordan had been 18 at the time of encountering his father. And after years of pleading with his mother to convince Charles to take a DNA test, he had decided to take matters into his own hands.
Jordan had had no interest in any potential inheritance; instead, he had been focused only on answering the question of his paternity once and for all. But when he came across his dad, he was in for a shock: the older man didn’t seem well. Jordan subsequently told the Daily Mail, “[Charles] looked totally unkempt with straggly long hair and a beard.”
It turned out, too, that Charles was only willing to have his DNA tested if he was sent a request through a lawyer. Jordan knew, though, that this would come at a prohibitive cost. So, he got on with his life, began working as a carer and met his girlfriend Katie, with whom he would have a son. And that seemed to be that – until the young man received a call from Philip Care, the manager of the Penrose estate.
On the phone, Care informed Jordan of Charles’ death. Yet even following the tragic news, the book had not closed on finding out the truth about any potential relationship between Jordan and the man whom he suspected to be his father. Indeed, Care approached cousins of Charles, who graciously agreed for DNA to be extracted from the late aristocrat’s body. Others denied the request, however, and sought a cremation for Charles as quickly as possible.
The situation was only further complicated when Charles’ mother, Angela, the lady of Penrose Manor, passed away two weeks after her son. Dramatically, a DNA test was performed just before the cremation took place. And the results confirmed what Jordan had waited so long to hear: Charles was his father.
To say that the news that Jordan was heir to the Penrose estate has transformed his life would be a total understatement. Now, he has since moved into the manor with Katie and their young son, Joshua. A trust fund also ensures that Jordan receives more than $100,000 annually – a sum that will secure him for life.
Jordan enthused to the Daily Mail, “I love this house and feel totally connected to my family. I want to be able to tell Joshua about his family and show him the things that belonged to his grandfather.” His sister also visits regularly, as does his mother. And the outcome has proved to have a powerful impact on Julie, too.
“The first time Mum came to the house, she cried. She said she felt so guilty that she hadn’t done more to ensure I was recognized by my father earlier,” Jordan explained. Indeed, it has been an emotional journey for all the family, who are now able to enjoy the rewards of Penrose – despite their eventful journey to get there.
“I don’t know whether Charles suspected that I was his son. But if he did, I guess he didn’t want to cause any friction,” Jordan said to the Daily Mail. And Charles’ son had a thoughtful and sympathetic view of his father’s life. “[Charles] had big shoes to fill… He was under huge pressure taking [the responsibility] on, but he was different and a free spirit. There was always a pressure of him trying to match expectation,” he added to the BBC in May 2019.
What’s more, the new owner of the Penrose estate seems eager to see some good come from his elevation to lord of the manor. He intends to set up a charity to help local underprivileged people, for one. “I know what it’s like to grow up with very little. Things like funding gym sessions for unemployed lads would make a big difference,” Jordan revealed.
And what plans does Jordan have for his own family – and his son in particular? He said, “I want to spend time with Joshua and do all the dad stuff – playing football and fishing, which no one ever did with me. He’ll be the kid who’s sick of the sight of his dad!”