BiographyEditAllan Burnley had been married to Beatrice Mitchell with whom he'd had a daughter named Ilse. Beatrice disappeared under mysterious circumstances and rumors had it that she had run away with her cousin, sailor Leo Mitchell, on his vessel, The Lady of Winds. Her disappearance coincided with the sailor's departure, and Doctor Burnley became extremely bitter about it. He lost his faith in God and began neglecting his daughter, keeping his distances with her because of her physical likeness to her mother. Ilse felt that her father hated her but didn't know exactly why. Doctor Burnley had a fiery temper and could become very agressive in his wrath.<p abp="559">After hearing the rumors from her great-aunt Nancy Priest, Emily Byrd Starr was indignant and couldn't believe Beatrice Mitchell had abandoned her husband and child. While she had fever and was in delirium because of a measles outbreak in the area, Emily began to affirm Beatrice had fallen into their neighbour's old well and begged her aunts to get her out of there. The woman's remains were effectively found and Doctor Burnley's outlook on life changed radically. He later told Emily "you have given me back my faith in [God]" and declared "this child has given Beatrice back to me, stainless and beloved."
From that moment on, Allan Burnley began to lavish his affection on his daughter, even to the point of spoiling her to compensate for the previous loveless years.
Doctor Allan Burnley was portayed by Canadian actor Richard Donat on the Emily of New Moon television series. The script was faithful to Montgomery's novels for this character, except for much emphasis on a possible marriage with Laura Murray as well as a later union with a female doctor, Iris Campbell.