Old Dorothy Clutterbuck (1880-1951)
and compiled by George Knowles.
Clutterbuck is perhaps the most elusive and secretive of the witches to have
figured in the rise of the modern era of witchcraft. She is also perhaps the most intriguing.
Old Dorothy as she was affectionately known, was the witch who initiated
Gerald B. Gardner into the Old Religion during September 1939.
She was then the head of an old time witches coven, the last remains of a
coven directly descendant from one of the famed “Nine Covens” founded by Old
known about Old Dorothy that for many years skeptics and historians had believed
that Gardner, through a figment of his imagination had invented her solely to
justify his belief that there was still in existence practicing witches of the
Old Religion. In 1980 Doreen
Valiente a great friend and colleague of Gardner’s, set out to disprove these
allegations. After two years of
research she succeeded, and was able to prove through birth and death records
that Old Dorothy was indeed a real person.
ecclesiastical records held at India House, London. Doreen was able to establish Dorothy’s parents, and to find
a record of Dorothy’s birth. It
began in India were one Capt. Thomas St Quintin Clutterbuck, aged 38, was
married to Ellen Anne Morgan, aged 20, at Lahore, India, in 1877.
Three years later they had a child and Dorothy was born, in India, in
Bengal on the 19th January 1880.
She was later baptized in the church of St Paul’s, Umbala, on the 21st
must have been a man of means to hold a commission in the Colonial Forces, most
officers of that time where. At the
time of Dorothy’s birth he was still a Captain, and serving with the 14th
Sikhs Regiment, Indian Local Forces. Later
that same year he was promoted to Major and from Dorothy’s death certificate,
we know he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
From this we can surmise that Dorothy was brought up with all the
privileges and prestige that go along with wealth and position.
further is known of Dorothy until 1933. Doreen
through the aid of a Reference Librarian at the Bournemouth County Library was
able to locate her as living at “Mill House”, Lymington Road, Highcliffe.
Highcliffe being in the Borough of Christchurch.
Curiously though, listed at the same address was a Rupert Fordham?
Further research using the Register of Electors at the Christchurch Town
Hall, revealed that Miss Clutterbuck became Mrs. Fordham in the 1937/38 list.
prompt’s me to speculate about the intervening years between 1933 and 1937?
Who was Rupert Fordham? Why
was he listed at the same address some four years before they married?
Was he a lodger, or were they living in sin?
The later seems a little unlikely given the strict moral and social
standards prevalent in those times. At
the time Dorothy was a wealthy and respected member of the community.
She would also have been 53 years old in 1933, and 57 when they married,
but then? Perhaps we shall never
researches, Doreen was able to corroborated most of Gardner’s claims of the
events leading up to his initiation. She
had collated records showing that Gardner and his wife Donna lived in the same
area of Highcliffe, as did Dorothy. His official biography, (Gerald Gardner:
Witch. – By Jack Bracelin,
The Octagon Press, London. 1960.), states that the initiation took place in Old
Dorothy’s home “a big house in the neighborhood”, Dorothy’s “Mill
House”, was also a big house in the neighborhood!
obtained press cuttings proving the existence of the “Rosicrucian Theatre”.
This was situated in Somerford a village near to Christchurch, and had
opened in June 1938. A Mrs. Mabel
Besant-Scott also lived nearby and had been associated with it.
In Gerald Gardner’s account, it was a Mrs. Mabel Besant-Scott who first
introduced him to Dorothy.
biography Gardner also describes Dorothy as, “A lady of note in the
district/county, and very well to do. She
invariable wore a pearl necklace, worth some £5,000 at that time”.
Doreen had been able to trace a copy of Dorothy’s will, the gross value
of her estate after her death had been well over £60,000, a small fortune in
1951. It also stated that she owned
some valuable pearls. She was
certainly “well to do”!
death certificate stated that: “Dorothy St Quintin Fordham died at Highcliffe
in the registration district of Christchurch on the 12 January 1951, the primary
cause of death being “cerebral thrombosis”, a stroke”.
It also described her as “Spinster of independent means, daughter of
Thomas St Quintin Clutterbuck, Lieutenant Colonel, Indian Army (deceased).
existence of Old Dorothy having been proven, thanks to the diligence of Doreen
Valiente. The skeptics and
historians now changed their tune, claiming she had not been a practicing witch.
After her death and upon an examination of her personal effects, no
evidence could be found to indicate her involvement in witchcraft.
Doreen Valiente steps in to refute these claims. During her research she had come across an old pamphlet
entitled “The Museum of Magic and
Witchcraft: “The story of Famous Witches” Mill at Castletown, Isle of Man.
This was a guidebook of the famous museum, written and published by
Gerald Gardner during his tenure as its director.
Describing one of the exhibits, it states: “Case No. 1. – A large
number of objects belonging to a witch, who had died in 1951, lent by her
relatives who wish to remain anonymous”.
Had these objects once belonged to Old Dorothy, who had also died in
1951? While its not proof positive,
I find it hard to disbelieve.
We can surmise from the time era and from many of Gardner’s writings, that Old Dorothy was a witch of the old school, and to her secrecy was paramount. During her time witchcraft was still illegal and disclosure of its practice fraught with difficulty and danger. Indeed it was she who restricted Gardner from going public. Not until near her end, did she relent with misgivings, and allow him to write about the craft, but then only in fictional form (High Magic’s Aid – published in 1949.). In death it would seem her secrecy still prevailed, and she had all traces of her witchcraft past removed.
A Witches Bible -
By Janet and Stewart Farrar
book by the Farrar’s contains an article written by Doreen Valiente entitled
– The Search for Old Dorothy.)
An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present
- By Doreen Valiente
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - Raven Grimassi
First published on the 02nd February 2001, 20:09:10 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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