Ada Mary Blackden was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London, on 22 June 1899.She chose the Latin motto ĎVolo aspirareí. Eliza Augusta Venner Morris and Frederick Charles Gobert were initiated as part of the same ceremony, but I donít think itís likely that Ada Mary knew either of them beforehand.Ada Mary worked quickly on the study necessary to be eligible for the GDís inner, 2nd Order, and was initiated into that order on 22 November 1900.


Ada Maryís older brother, Marcus Worsley Blackden, had been a GD member since 1896 and was one of the orderís experts on the religions of ancient Egypt.In 1903, when the GD turned into its two daughter orders, both siblings decided to become members of A E Waiteís daughter order, the Independent and Rectified Rite; though for reasons I give below, Ada Mary may not have been able to be a very active member of it.


BEFORE WE START yet another moan on the lack of sources for the lives of 19th-century women.Whereas Marcus Worsley Blackdenís life is quite well documented, as non-famous peopleís lives go, I have found a pitiful amount of information on his sisterís.However, I do have a feeling that in this case itís not just the lack of sources thatís a problem; itís how a very conservative family saw the role of its women, even in a time when some women were challenging the restrictions that social and class expectations imposed on them.


Ada Mary Blackden was born in 1872, only daughter of Marcus Seton Blackden and his wife Fanny nťe Franklyn.Both her parents came from families with backgrounds in business but also in the landed gentry; and I get the impression that both families were rather anxious to leave the business side of their ancestry behind them.Fanny Franklynís grandfather George had founded a tobacco firm based in Bristol.Fannyís father, Thomas Ward Franklyn, had gone to Cambridge University and was ordained as a Church of England priest.His younger brother George Woodroffe Franklyn ran the family firm with two partners, as Franklyn, Morgan and Davey.Thomas Ward Franklynís income from the tobacco business was large enough for him to pay £8500 to buy himself a church building and thus a parish, in 1840.The church was the partly-built Christ Church, on the High Street in Tunbridge Wells - a town that Ada Mary would live in twice, at different times in her life.But by the time of Fannyís marriage, the Rev Ward Franklyn was no longer active as a priest and the family had gone to live on Sydenham Hill in south London, in a house called Birchwood.


The Blackdens were probably the wealthier family. A mid-18th century ancestor had founded the family fortunes by leasing part of Fore Street from the Corporation of London.Fore Street was near where Moorgate station is now, and the Blackdens lived off the rents they were paid on warehouses, shops and offices the 18th-century Blackdens had built.


Marcus Seton Blackden and Fanny Franklyn had probably known each other for years.They had certainly known each other since 1856 when Marcus Setonís elder brother Frederick married Fannyís sister Sophia.Marcus Seton and Fanny married in 1862.There was no need for Marcus Seton Blackden to work for a living and he never did so.He and his wife lived firstly in north Wales, where their first son, Leonard Shadwell Blackden was born in 1863; and then at Upton-on-Severn in Worcestershire, where the GD member Marcus Worsley (known as Worsley) was born in 1864.There was a gap of several years before another son was born to them late in 1871 - Nugent Lyttleton Blackden, who died after only a few weeks.Ada Mary, Fannyís last child, was born a few months after Nugentís death, in the spring of 1872.Nugent and Ada Mary were both born in Tunbridge Wells, where the family had perhaps gone in an increasingly anxious search for better health for Fanny.However, the Blackdens were back in Upton-on-Severn when Fanny died, aged 41, in 1876.†† Ada Mary was three.


I couldnít find out exactly when Marcus Seton Blackden moved from the house in Upton-on-Severn but he was no longer living there by 1880.He was staying with his uncle, the Rev Charles Blackden, at 17 Wilton Crescent in Belgravia on the day of the 1881 census, in between temporary rentings; by 1883 he had moved into 3 Wells Road Regentís Park and by late 1884 he had leased 16a Oxford Square of Edgware Road.On census day 1881 all Marcus Setonís children were away at boarding schools: Leonard Shadwell and Marcus Worsley were at together at Repton School.Ada Mary was back in Tunbridge Wells, at age 9 the youngest of 21 pupils in the school run by Susan Oken at The Mount, Albert Road.I couldnít find out anything more about Miss Okenís school so itís impossible to know what Ada Mary might have been learning there; apart from German, which was taught there by a woman born in Switzerland.†† All of the Blackdens will have been in mourning on census day, for Marcus Seton Blackdenís father, John Chalfont Blackden, who had died the previous November.The Rev Charles Blackden died in July 1883.Inheritances from those two Blackdens increased Marcus Seton Blackdenís income a great deal - Rev Charles, a bachelor, left personal effects alone worth £66059 in the money of time.Marcus Seton also began to accumulate the large number of movable goods that were later mentioned in his Will - pictures, jewellery, silverware, chinaware, furniture - the comforts of upper-middle-class life.††


Ada Mary was 10 when her father (aged about 58) married Mary Elizabeth Cotter (aged 34), the daughter of Rev Joseph Rogerson Cotter, rector of St Mary Magdalene Colchester.Was Ada Maryís life turned upside down by this - yet again?Did she get on with her new step-mother - did she resent her intrusion or welcome her as a substitute for the mother she could barely remember? I donít know.As well as needing to adjusting to having a step-mother in 1884, within two years she was no longer her fatherís only daughter: her half-sister Theodora Cayley Blackden was born in the autumn of 1886.A half-brother, Seton Cotter Blackden, followed in 1890, the last of Marcus Seton Blackdenís children, whose births spanned nearly 30 years.There is some evidence - if you want to interpret it that way - that all was not sweetness and light between the children of Marcus Setonís first wife and the children of his second. Leonard Shadwell and Marcus Worsley Blackden donít seem to have lived with their father after the late 1880s.Iíll speculate about Ada Mary and Theodora later in this biography; though Ada Mary and Seton seem to have been friendly enough.


Perhaps Iím making too much of the fact that Ada Maryís older brothers donít seem to have been part of the family after their fatherís remarriage.They both had excuses that would serve if they wanted not to live at home while not creating bad feeling; and they had the financial means to live independently.Unlike nearly all the men in his family, Leonard had chosen to pursue a career, joining the army in 1885.After training as an artist, Marcus Worsley Blackden chose to go travelling.In 1891 he went to Egypt, which I think he had been longing to visit for years.Ada Mary (now in her late teens) did not go with him.Maybe neither of them had wanted her to tag along.But I suggest that even if she had wanted to see Egypt, her family was in a position to have prevented it.Evidence from Marcus Seton Blackdenís Will suggests that not only did Ada Mary not have much money (if any) of her own until he died; but also that the income she had after his death was managed by her male relatives, through their position as trustees of the Blackden family trust. As far as I can see, no women ever served as trustees of the Blackden familyís money. Ada Maryís situation was typical of young women of her class.Even in wealthy families, a lack of any money which was their own to spend, restricted young womenís opportunities.With many families including the Blackdens, however, there were other restraints.The Blackdens and all the families that they were related to - the Cotters, the Hollonds, the Cayleys, the Worsleys and others - were very conservative, socially.They were pillars of the church - until Leonard Shadwell Blackden bucked the family trend, being a clergyman was the only profession that seemed to be acceptable to any of them.And they were Conservative in their politics - Ada Maryís uncle George Woodroffe Franklyn was a Tory MP and member of the Tory Carlton Club, and he seems typical of the family in general.It was inevitable, I think, that expectations for Ada Mary would be limited to a suitable marriage (preferably with a family member - marriages between cousins were commonplace in all the families); or to dutiful attendance on an ageing parent or step-parent until their death left her, in middle-age, without a role in life.


What did Ada Mary think of her options?I donít know.If she hated them, she left no record of it.If she rebelled against them; the details were kept a secret and she wasnít able to get away.Alas! Itís much more likely that she did - even thought - exactly what was expected of her.I could only find two instances where she showed a little independence of mind: when no one else in her family would do so, she donated some money towards relief of a famine in Bengal; and she joined the GD.Significantly I think, she decided to do both these things when she was living with her brother, a period of relative freedom for her in between two periods living in her fatherís household.


In 1891 Ada Mary, 18, was living with her father, her step-mother and their two children at 16a Oxford Square.Unless she enjoyed looking after Theodora (4) and Seton (6 months) there was little for her to do in the house: a cook and two housemaids were employed.She was probably superfluous even in the nursery as Mary Elizabeth Blackden had both a nurse (for the baby) and a nursery-maid to look after her children.Both Ada Maryís full-blood brothers were abroad; letís hope she had some good friends amongst her cousins (there were loads of those) or girls she knew through church or from her school-days.


In the late 1890s, Marcus Seton and Mary Elizabeth decided to move out of town.Marcus Seton was entering his 70s; perhaps London life was beginning to affect his health.They chose to moveto Tunbridge Wells and leased 9 Boyne Park in the Mount Ephraim district of the town, a house well-suited to the social status they wanted to advertise: detached (at that time), double drawing-room and conservatory, dining room, seven bedrooms plus a boudoir for Mary Elizabeth, a bathroom (the house was modern as well as opulent) and a kitchen and other offices on the ground floor.Although 9 Boyne Park was certainly bigger than 16a Oxford Square, Marcus Seton and Mary Elizabeth cut down on the number of staff they thought necessary: Theodora and young Seton no longer needed nurse-maids so in 1901 only a cook and one parlourmaid were employed.If Ada Mary had been living there she might have found more to do in the house; but she had been sent by her father or claimed by her brother when Marcus Worsley Blackden set up his own household; just around the time Ada Mary joined the GD.She might have been keeping house for him as early as 1898, when he was living in East Anglia; and in the early months of 1900 when he was at 6 Topsfield Crescent Crouch End.They were definitely living together by census day 1901, at 3 Wells Road, Regentís Park; the house that Marcus Seton Blackden had lived in during 1883-84 and which perhaps was owned by the family.Ada Mary was managing the house for him, probably taking that role for the first time.She had the help of one general servant who I imagine did the cooking as well as all the cleaning, though washing was probably sent to a laundry; whatever Ada Mary learned at her boarding school or schools, it wonít have been how to cook.


Marcus Worsley Blackden had joined the GD in August 1896.When Ada went to keep house for him she will have been able to study at leisure the paintings, artefacts and perhaps papyri he had brought back from Egypt.Even if Ada Mary had not shared his interest in ancient Egypt before this time, her curiosity was aroused when - as a new GD initiate - he started bringing home the manuscripts on the western occult that he needed to study to progress into the GDís 2nd Order where you were allowed to do practical magic.One thing led to another and resulted in Ada Mary being initiated in 1899; and joining the 2nd Order in November 1900.There was a lot of work required of those who wanted the 2nd Order initiation - a wide range of esoteric material had to be studied and exams in it had to be passed.If she got in a jam with any of Ada Mary will have had her brother to help her out, but it will have been as a result of her own efforts and her own persistence that Ada Mary became eligible for that second initiation - showing what she might have made of her life if her circumstances and her personality had been different.


Ada Mary was needed more by Marcus Worsley than by her father and step-mother, so I think she lived with her brother until 1904.†† She will have been around, therefore, as Marcus Worsley began his decade and a half of work on the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, and perhaps read or even edited and commented on the earliest articles he published on it.1900 to 1904 was a turbulent period in the GDís history but unlike Marcus Worsley, Ada Mary did not play a prominent role in all the disputes that arose between the factions the order was falling into.She might have been a member of one of the groups that had been formed within the GD in the late 1890s.Lists of members of most of these groups havenít survived, if they ever existed, and most of them seemed to be defunct by 1902.Slightly later, she must have got to know her brotherís closest allies in the GD - Robert Palmer-Thomas and A E Waite.At the spring meeting of the GD which led to its collapse and the formation of the two daughter orders, both Marcus Worsley and Ada Mary chose to be a member of the voting block that A E Waite organised.In July 1903, a group of those who had voted with A E Waite issued a Manifesto of Independence from the GD: both Marcus Worsley and Ada Mary were amongst the 14 people who signed it.The result of the Manifesto was the setting up of the Independent and Rectified Rite (or Order), whose first ritual was held on 7 November 1903; though no list has survived of those who attended, itís likely both Marcus Worsley and Ada Mary were there.


For a few months Ada Mary would have been able to go to the Riteís rituals, which were held in those early years at the Mark Masonsí Hall in Covent Garden.However, in the spring of 1904 Mary Elizabeth Blackden - although a generation younger than Marcus Seton Blackden - died before her husband.


At the point where he became a widower for the second time, Marcus Seton Blackden was nearly 80.He had probably supposed if he thought about it at all, that he would die before his second wife.If he had at any time blamed Ada Mary for not attracting a husband to herself, he was now likely to be grateful she wasnít married; because he needed not only a housekeeper and hostess but possibly also a nurse.In addition - he might die himself at any moment - someone was needed to take care of his two younger children, Theodora (aged 18 in 1904, and marriageable) and Seton (aged 14 and still at school).Marcus Seton Blackden made a Will that shows his intention to continue to make maxium use of Ada Mary even after his death.With or without her consent: though I canít believe she would willingly have left her two step-siblings to fend for themselves, duty to her relatives, at the cost of her own freedom of action, was something that would have been dinned into Ada Mary from an early age in such a family, and reinforced by the teachings of the Church.In Marcus Seton Blackdenís Will he left Ada Mary and Mary Elizabethís sister Katharine Louisa Cotter to look after Theodora and Seton until they were of age.The children were to live with Ada Mary in a house within walking distance of Holy Trinity Church in Tunbridge Wells; presumably the church where Marcus Seton Blackden and his family were parishioners.Despite having the charge of two young people and being in her late twenties if not early thirties (Iím not sure when the Will was prepared) Ada Mary was not, however, to have any charge of the finances of the household: Leonard Shadwell and Marcus Worsley were to find a house and pay the lease and household expenses.Marcus Seton did, however, make provision for Ada Mary to have an income of her own after his death - possibly the first money sheíd ever possessed on her own account: Leonard Shadwell and Marcus Seton were to invest £2000 for her and pay her an income from the profits.


In the meantime, and probably as soon after Mary Elizabethís death as could be managed, Ada Mary will have left her brother to his own devices in London, and moved back into 9 Boyne Park Tunbridge Wells.Though it wonít have been impossible for her to continue to be an active member of the Independent and Rectified Rite, it will have been increasingly difficult for her to leave her and the household, to make visits to London.


This is speculation on a small amount of evidence, but I think that if any woman in the Blackden family resented the restrictions of the life she was expected to lead, it was Ada Maryís half-sister, who had a father old enough to be her grandfather and with notions of behaviour to suit his age.As soon as she was 21, Theodora married.Like so many in the Blackden family tree, she married a cousin; though in her case it was at least a cousin she had only met recently - perhaps that was what made him attractive to her.Frank Arthur Worsley was related to the Blackdens several times over, through marriages in the first half of the 19th-century.His particular branch of the Worsleys had emigrated to New Zealand in 1851 and Frank (born 1872) had grown up on the North Island.


Being related to them, however distantly, Arthur was taken in socially by his Worsley and other relations when he arrived in England after a spell working in the Pacific as a merchant seaman with the New Zealand Government Steamer Service.I donít suppose Marcus Seton Blackden saw any reason to object to Theodora marrying him, which she did in December 1907 at Marcus Setonís preferred church of Holy Trinity Tunbridge Wells.However, the marriage went horribly wrong, very soon after the wedding, possibly as early as the honeymoon (which leaves me wondering whether the problems were sexual).Certainly, Arthur and Theodora were not living together on the day of the 1911 census.Of course, Arthur might have been away at sea anyway on that day.However when Theodora filled in the census form she admitted she was married, but described herself as the head of the household - the usual practice in this situation was for the husband to be depicted as head of household despite his absence.Itís clear that Theodora had gained possession of some family money at least, at her marriage.Her father had given her a dowry; and she was holding on to it even though she and her husband had probably split up.Perhaps Marcus Seton Blackden would not allow a woman who was separated from her husband to live in his house, be she never so much his daughter; but thereís also the possibility that Theodora had used her dowry income to get away from her father, her aunt Ada Mary and Tunbridge Wells.She was living in The Rectory, Erpingham, on the north Norfolk coast, an area with no Blackden connections at all.It was a large house (it had 10 habitable rooms) which she ran with the help of two servants.Her cousin Ellen Harriet Cotter, and a friend, Margaret Gertrude Turner, were visiting her.


Census day 1911 found Ada Mary at 9 Boyne Park in the household headed by her father.Her half-brother Seton, a law student, was at home as it was the Easter holidays.Marcus Seton had taken on more staff than he had employed in 1901: Ada Mary had the help of a cook, a housemaid, a tweenie and a parlourmaid in running the house.I note that he was not employing a nurse, or at least not one who was living-in; though now in his mid-80s, perhaps Marcus Seton was still able to get about.Marcus Worsley had married his and Ada Maryís first cousin, Hilda Alethea Franklyn, in 1909.I donít know whether she and Ada Mary were friends but Hilda was a contemporary of Theodora, not of Ada Mary; Marcus Worsley had continued a family tradition of husbands old enough to be their wifeís father. On his marriage, Marcus Worsley had dropped out of the Independent and Rectified Rite.He and Hilda had moved to Fawley, near Southampton, and now had a baby, Hermione.Leonard Shadwell Blackden was stationed in the West Indies.Itís likely that Ada Maryís membership of the Rite had lapsed when her brotherís had, if not earlier - in 1906 meetings of the Rite had moved from central to west London making them harder to get to from Kent.So Ada Mary was now rather isolated, even from close family, in Tunbridge Wells.


A lot of the anxieties that beset Marcus Seton Blackden when he made his Will didnít come to pass: he out-lived Katharine Louisa Cotter which would have left Ada Mary as his two youngest childrenís sole carer had the situation arisen; but Theodora and Seton were well over 21 at his death.He died in June 1916 at the age of 89.As well as possibly her first independent income, Ada Mary (like all of the children) was left a few of the possessions that Marcus Seton had accumulated over many years of inheritance and gift-receiving: a portrait of Barbara Worsley (for a tentative identification of this woman, see the Sources section); and some of her mother Fannyís jewellery and other personal items.However, some of Marcus Setonís possessions Ada Mary had the use of during her lifetime only, before they were handed on to Theodora at her death: a silver tea service; a Dollond telescape.They were not hers to do with as she chose.And all the other contents of 9 Boyne Park were left to Leonard Shadwell and Marcus Worsley to be held in trust: Ada Mary, Theodora and Seton could continue to use them, but none of them owned any of them, so they couldnít get rid of them without their elder brothersí consent.


Ada Mary was 44 when she came - or had to come - out of the shadow of her father.Was she her own woman at last?Or was she bewildered and frightened by the chance to decide for herself what she was going to do next?What happened in the next 15 years or so isnít clear to me - not without at least the 1921 census to look at - but I think she remained in the house at 9 Boyne Park until 1931, when it was put up for sale.She did at least have some relations living near her from 1919 onwards: when Leonard Shadwell Blackden retired from the army after World War 1 was over, he and his wife Mary Helen moved to within a few miles of Tunbridge Wells, to the The Jewell House, in Marden.Neither Theodora nor Seton needed her however and neither lived near her.In the early 1920s Theodora was still living in Norfolk, though she had moved from Erpingham to Sheringham.Seton lived mostly in London and (from the 1930s) in Shropshire.


By Marcus Setonís death there were signs that the changing times had reached as far as the Blackden family.Seton had refused to follow the programme laid down for him by his family; and been allowed to choose a very different way of life.In 1916, he was studying singing, and during the 1920s he became one of the proprietors of the Kingsway Theatre, appearing in minor acting roles in some of its plays.In one production he was on the same cast list as the young Ivor Novello.He married Mary Stewart Earle (or possibly Earle Stewart, Iím not too clear on the womanís surname), an independently wealthy woman, in 1924.In 1923, Arthur and Theodora Worsley dragged the family further into the 20th century by getting divorced.Arthur took the blame for the breakdown, as was standard at the time, and produced evidence of adultery (a woman and a hotel bill); but it was still divorce and I wonder how the Blackdens coped with it.And in 1927 the Blackdens made a further big break with the past when the trustees of the Blackden estate on Fore Street decided to sell the land.Ada Mary had not been made a trustee as far as I know; so presumably had no say in this, but if I understand Marcus Seton Blackdenís Will correctly, the sale probably didnít make much difference to her.Ada Maryís income was derived from other investments, not the Fore Street rents.It may have declined due to the hard times of the 1920s - and probably declined more after the Wall Street Crash - but it wonít have changed as a result of the sale of the land.


Was it Ada Maryís choice to leave 9 Boyne Park?Probably not, I think.I think the house was owned by the Blackden family trust after Marcus Seton Blackden died; so it was the trustees - Ada Maryís brothers - who had the final say.She might have been relieved though - she was now in her 60s and it was a big house for just one person to live in, on an income that didnít go as far as it had once done.As seems typical of her, she made the best of decisions made largely by other people.She moved to a place which perhaps she knew from holidays but which the Blackdens had never lived in, though the Cotters had once lived in the same county.By 1937 she had found a house in Uplyme, in Dorset, on the hill above Lyme Regis.Perhaps she felt her decision had been justified - moving so far from the rest of the family - when first Marcus Worsley died, in 1934, and then Leonard Shadwell did, in 1937, cutting more of the old ties.The house where Ada Mary lived - the only home of her own choice that she ever had - still exists, with the same name: Clanbury, on Rhode Lane in Uplyme.The views from above Lyme Regis are fabulous and perhaps Ada Mary made good use of the Dollond telescope that was hers to use though not hers to bequeath.


Ada Mary lived in Uplyme for the rest of her life.By the early 1960s, Seton and his wife Mary had moved to within a few miles of her, to a house called Wayside (which also still exists) in the village of Chardstock between Chard and Axminster.Perhaps Ada Mary and Seton visited each other occasionally although they were both very old by now.Theodora, however, continued to live near London; despite the lack of evidence Iíve built up a picture of there being no meeting of minds between Theodora and the rest of the family.


Ada Mary Blackden has the distinction of being the last member of the 1890s GD to die.She lived until November 1965.She died, aged 93, not at home in Uplyme but in Buckfield House nursing home, on West Hill Road further down the hill.Seton Cotter Blackden was her executor.



BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.


Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert.Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986.Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914.The list is based on the Golden Dawnís administrative records and its Membersí Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation.All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but itís now in the Freemasonsí Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden.Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01.I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.


For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howeís The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923.Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972.Foreword by Gerald Yorke.Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist.He has no axe to grind.


Family history: freebmd; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burkeís Peerage and Baronetage; Burkeís Landed Gentry; Armorial Families;; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.


Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD.Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.


Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette.Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.


Catalogues: British Library; Freemasonsí Library.


Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources.I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historianís point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.




The will of George Franklyn founder of the tobacco firm is at the Public Record Office at Kew: see PROB 11/1634/301, dated 22 September 1820.

Burkeís A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry 1863 p1605-06.

George Woodroffe Franklyn:

Walfordís The County Families of the UK p238 on George Woodroffe Franklyn.

Bristol and its Municipal Government 1820-51 by Graham William Arthur Bush.Published 1976 by Bristol Record Society; p128.

Bristol Mercury 15 April 1880, glimpsed via genesreunited.

W D and H O Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry by Bernard William Ernest Alford.Published London: Methuen 1973: p161, p202,

Rev Thomas Ward Franklyn:

Career details from dates are 1801-1876.He married Sophia Hollond in September 1825.

The British Library catalogue has one item by him: The Kingdom of God: A Sermon on Acts 20: 25-27 by Thomas Ward Franklyn.Published London 1830.

Colbranís Hand-Book and Directory for Tunbridge Wells issue of 1850 p28.

Colbranís Hand-Book and Visitorís Guide for Tunbridge Wells by John Colbran 1863 p33.



Burkeís A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry volume 3 p167 Hollond family of Benhall Lodge Suffolk.



Gentlemanís Magazine volume 213 1862 p97



BEWARE!There are several men of different generations with exactly the same name - Joseph Rogerson Cotter.The habit continued into the 20th century - the Ellen Harriet Cotter of the 1911 census married an engineering lecturer called Joseph Rogerson Cotter - see probate registry for 1948.

At a family tree of the elder Joseph Rogerson Cotter and his descendants via two marriages.

See (which uses Burkeís Peerage) for Mary Elizabeth Cotterís parents and sisters.


Essex Standard of 8 November 1884 glimpsed via genesreunited.



Times Wed 25 July 1900 p10, list of those who had recently donated to the Lord Mayorís fund. She gave £1.


BARBARA WORSLEY whose portrait Ada Mary inherited in 1916.Iím not sure of the identification but this woman - despite apparently being Anne Barbara - does seem very likely:

Debrettís Baronetage edition of 1840 p594 on Sir William Worsley 1st baronet of Hovingham Hall North Yorkshire.He married Sarah Philadelphia, 4th daughter of Sir George Cayley Baronet.Their daughter Anne Barbara was born 8 December 1833.

Anne Barbara is the only Barbara Worsley on the 1851 census; written in as ďA BĒ.

I then skipped to 1901.The only Barbara Worsley on that was the 33-year-old wife of an accountant in Prestwich.Anne Barbara Worsley was not listed as Ďbarbaraí.

Probate Registry 1909 entry for Anne Barbara Worsley, spinster of Hovingham Yorkshire, who had died on 26 October 1908.Probate to Sir William Henry Arthington Worsley* and one other man.Wikipedia page on the baronets Worsley of Hovingham indicates that this person was the 4th baronet, 1890-1973.

I looked on the web to see if the portrait still existed but couldnít find anything.If the painting still exists, the sitterís name has been lost.I didnít find any evidence, either, about who painted it.



Deeds, Wills and trust documents now held by descendants of the Blackdens; details sent to me by Marcus Worsley Blackdenís great-grand-daughter.

Sale of 9 Boyne Park: Country Life volume 70 1931 p458.



Sent to me by email by Marcus Worsley Blackdenís great-grand-daughter though I couldnít see the date it was signed.



Website gives its full address as West Hill Road Lyme Regis.

Some ads from the 1960s all of which say phone and TV in each room - unusual for the time - and all of which stress the beautiful views.

Medical Social Work volume 21 1969 p60, p232, p333.

Social Work Today vol 1 1970 p55.

D Ada M Blackden r Bridport Dorset Oct-Dec 1965; aged 93.Probate Registry: Ada Mary Blackden of Buckfield House Nursing Home Lyme Regis Dorset d 14 Nov 1965.Probate Exeter 11 Feb 1966 to Lloyds Bank Ltd and Seton Cotter ďof no occupationĒ.Personal effects £5383.




Times Wednesday 8 April 1891 p1 announcement of his marriage on 24 April at St Paulís Cambridge, to Mary Helen daughter of the late Rev William Bennett Pike, fellow and tutor at Downing College.

Magazine Saddlery and Harness volume 7 1898 p199 has their current address as Paston House Cambridge.

Armorial Families for details of Leonard Shadwell and Mary Helenís five sons.

Two of the sons died in the world wars:see

Who Was Who volume III 1929-40 p119 gives details of his army career.He fought in Sierra Leone in 1898 and during World War 1 was in charge of the British troops in the West Indies.


MARCUS WORSLEY BLACKDEN the GD member: see his three-part Ďlife by datesí biography elsewhere on this web page.



Theodoraís unloved husband is quite well-known: he went with Shackletonís expedition, as captain of the Endeavour.

The ill-fated marriage: via to The Argus (Melbourne) of Monday 12 October 1908 p1 marriage announcements including one that had actually taken place 17 December [1907].

See for a short biography of Frank Arthur Worsley DSO OBE RD RNR.He married for a second time in 1926.

See also his wikipedia page.

The divorce:

Times Wednesday 18 April 1923 p5 Probate Divorce and Admiralty Division.The article makes it clear that it had been Frank Arthur Worsley who had wanted the divorce.However, the Blackden family was against him starting the proceedings, fearing the social consequences for Theodora.So Frank agreed to get some evidence of adultery and it was Theodora that brought the 1923 petition; an earlier petition having been refused because of suspicion that the divorcing parties were colluding.

Theodora never married again.She died late in 1967.


As an actor and theatrical impresario:

The London Stage 1920-29: A Calendar of Productions by J P (John Peter) Wearing: p174 in Productions 1922; no 193.Published Metuchen New Jersey: Scarecrow Press 1984.

I had trouble down-loading all of this but at 15/Variety/Variety 1922 there was some information about the Kingsway Theatre and a group calling itself Ben-rimo and Associates.Seton Blackden is one of the associates, described as an actor and translator.

I couldnít see the date of this but itís likely to have been the late 1930s: Spotlight issue 60 p156.

Armorial Families: p163.

Seton Cotter Blackden killed his wife:

Website lists documents at the Public Record Office under reference ASSI 26/437: the trial of Seton Cotter Blackden for murder; 1967.Details of what happened can be found at beat his wife to death early in the morning of 1 November 1966.†† He was convicted of manslaughter on 16 January 1967.He died in Exe Vale Hospital Exminster, while serving his sentence.

London Gazette ssued 15 January 1970, p634: appeals under the Trustees Act 1925: Seton Cotter Blackden had died on 3 September 1969.




14 April 2015


Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: