UPDATE MARCH 2020
For more on the Polish context of Bogdan Edwards and his brother Louis Stanley Jast, please go to Rafal T Prinke’s article via the next sub-heading down. Many thanks to Rafal for letting me put the article on my web pages.
Bogdan Edward Jastrzebski Edwards was one of the earliest members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, being initiated in November 1888 at its Horus Temple in Bradford, which he had helped to found. He chose the Latin motto “Deus lux solis”, a motto he also used in another secret order. He was an experienced occultist so the work demanded of initiates before they could progress further in the Order was no problem for him. However, he was a very busy man so it was February 1893 before he was initiated into the GD’s 2nd, inner order (where you were actually allowed to do practical magic). He continued to be an important member of the Horus Temple at Bradford during the 1890s and was the temple’s Praemonstrator as late as 1900; though I think he did not remain committed for much longer than that. His wife Henrietta Edwards was initiated into the GD several years later, in March 1892, choosing the Latin motto “Spes et caritas”. Her commitment was not as great as her husband’s; she doesn’t seem to have done much of the study that was required for initiation into the GD’s 2nd order and may not have gone to many rituals.
Bogdan Edwards’ brother, Stanley Jastrzebski (later Jast) was also a member of the GD.
A WORD OF WARNING BEFORE I START: this is my biography of two members of the Golden Dawn who lived in Yorkshire. I could have done a much better job of it if I lived in the area myself and could look at local archives. In this particular case I could also have done a better job were it not for the family’s original surname! (It’s Polish and is pronounced Yast-shemb-ski.) And all the times it was mis-spelled by British officials!! It’s no wonder several members of the family opted to give it up as a bad job and take a surname whose spelling and pronunciation weren’t in doubt.
THE JASTRZEBSKI FAMILY
Bogdan Edwards and Stanley Jast were sons of a man who had moved to England from the Austro-Hungarian empire. A short but thorough biography of Stanley Jast was published in 1966 (for details see the Sources section below) and here I borrow from the biography the story of why Stanley’s father came here. It was a typically 19th-century story, of political struggle, failure and exile.
Stefan Louis de Jastrzebski had been born in 1823 near Cracow. He had became an activist on behalf of an independent Poland in his early twenties and had visited England and France to try to drum up support for the cause. When Lajos (Louis) Kossuth had attempted to lead Hungary out of the empire, in 1848, he had joined the Polish Legion that fought on Kossuth’s side. Kossuth was defeated, however and he and many people who had fought for Hungary’s independence fled abroad. Stefan Louis de Jastrzebski was one of them and he never went back to his homeland, becoming a British citizen in the 1870s.
I haven’t been able to find out exactly when or how Stefan Louis de Jastrzebski got to England; I can only say that he will have arrived between 1849 (when the Austrians forced Hungary back into the empire) and 1859. Quite how he ended up in Kidderminster is a mystery, but that was where he met Elizabeth (Lizzie) Morgan, whom he married in 1859. Soon after they married, Stefan and Lizzie moved to the wealthy mill town of Halifax in west Yorkshire, and set up a tobacconist’s business in the street that was known then as Barum Top but is now called George Street. They lived in Halifax for at least the next thirty years.
Stefan and Lizzie had three sons: Bogdan, Thaddeus and Louis (or Lewis) Stanley. Stefan and Lizzie were both great readers. They also believed in education as a way into the middle-classes and financial security, and were prepared to make sacrifices to ensure their sons got the kind of schooling that would lead to jobs in the professions. The boys all attended Park Congregational Chapel school to begin with, but then Stefan and Lizzie found extra money to pay for them to go to Field’s Academy (sometimes referred to as Mr Field’s Academy) in Halifax. Stefan and Lizzie’s efforts were successful: Bogdan became a doctor and surgeon; Thaddeus joined the English civil service; Stanley became a librarian. Bogdan studied the Kabbala and the religions of ancient civilizations; Thaddeus wrote poetry; Stanley read theosophy and wrote plays.
Bogdan Edward Jastrzebski was the eldest son, born in 1860. After school, he went to Edinburgh University to study medicine. He graduated in 1884 and - in preparation for a lifetime of needing to have a name his patients could say - decided to change his surname. He opted to make his second forename into a surname, and so was known as Bogdan Edwards for the rest of his life.
Bogdan began his working life as house doctor and surgeon at Halifax Infirmary. After several years gaining experience there - I’m not sure exactly when but perhaps around the time of his marriage - he decided to become a general practitioner. By 1891 he was working as a GP in the village of Brookfoot, near Brighouse, living above his consulting rooms at 138 Elland Road. He had married Henrietta Palmer in 1887.
Henrietta Palmer was born in 1861 in Halifax. Her mother Ellen (sometimes spelled Hellen) was a local woman but her father, John Castledine Palmer, had moved to Yorkshire from Huntingdonshire. I couldn’t identify either Ellen or John Castledine Palmer on the 1861 census but in 1871 John Castledine Palmer was in business for himself as a tailor, at 8 Waterhouse Street Halifax. A bit of evidence from the 1881 census suggests that Ellen might have helped run the business. Henrietta had two elder brothers, William and Thomas; and two sisters, Emily Ann who was older than her, and Louisa who was by several years the youngest in the family.
I don’t know where Henrietta and her siblings went to school. By 1881 Henrietta was working as a hosier, probably in her father’s business which was expanding at that time to include drapery as well as tailoring. But John Castledine Palmer over-reached himself: I found some evidence on the web that the business went into liquidation around 1889.
In 1891 Bogdan and Henrietta Edwards were living in the village of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse with their son Harold (born 1890). They had one more child, Elsie, born in 1897. By 1901 they had moved to 46 Bradford Road Brighouse where they were still living in 1911. They lived modestly with the one live-in servant regarded by Victorians as the base-level for describing yourself (and being seen by others) as middle-class. Bogdan continued as a GP until his death though he did take on two other jobs as well. I haven’t been able to check the references as they are in local government records, but articles on him on several websites say that Bogdan was appointed Medical Officer of Health for the parish of Southowram in 1890. Later he also worked as Medical Officer for the district of Brighouse, Clifton and Hartshead. As a medical officer he was in charge of compiling health statistics for the parish (later the local council) and overseeing the testing of water supplies. In addition to this heavy workload he also did a lot of voluntary work. He helped to set up the local brigade of the St John’s Ambulance corps; and was Scoutmaster of the local Boy Scouts and on the executive committee of the Boy Scouts Association. Henrietta also volunteered with St John’s Ambulance and I’m suggesting (for the evidence see the War years below) that she helped Bogdan with his medical practice, perhaps not so much as a nurse but as her husband’s receptionist/secretary.
I haven’t been able to find out exactly when Bogdan Edwards first became interested in the occult but I would guess it was during his 20s - the 1880s. He learned Hebrew in order to study the Kabbalah from original texts. He had grown up bi-lingual, I imagine (Polish and English) and even learned Esperanto later in life. This ability to learn foreign languages quickly and easily meant that he was able to read some Hindu texts, and perhaps Mexican and Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (he is known to have studied both).
It was probably through his interest in the Kabbalah that Bogdan became friendly with Thomas Henry Pattinson, who ran his own watch-making and jewellery business in Bradford. Pattinson was a keen occultist with many contacts in English occult circles including the alchemist Alexander William Ayton (who became a senior member of the GD) and freemasons like F G Irwin and John Yarker who researched symbolism and reconstructed/invented freemasonry rituals.
This allowed him to become a member of the Halifax Past Masters’ Association; and he also rose through the local freemasons’ ranks to be Provincial Senior Grand Deacon of West Yorkshire. He served as a governor of the West Yorkshire Educational and Benevolent Institution.
I think it was through Pattinson that Bogdan became involved with the August Order of Light, confusingly also known as the Oriental Order of Light.
The exact date that Bogdan and Pattinson found out about the AOL’s existence is a matter of some debate amongst historians of 19th century freemasonry. Yasha Beresiner’s Masonic Curiosities, the most intelligible account of the A/OOL that I found, argues that Bogdan and Pattinson got permission from M V Portman to set up an offshoot of the August Order of Light in Bradford as early as 1890; though that date is a deduction by Beresiner as the warrant that Portman issued to them (which still exists, in the Masonic Hall in Blackwell, Halifax) is undated. It was not until 1902 that the Bradford Garuda Temple of the Oriental Order of Light was officially launched. Although it was organised and ordered like a freemasons’ lodge, with a proper hierarchy of officials and job titles for them, set dates for meetings, the idea of the senior officers serving for one year in the job etc, it wasn’t affiliated to the United Grand Lodge of England and - I suppose and at least to begin with - membership was open to non-freemasons. Its most senior officer seems to have been called the Guardian of Light. As the A/OOL’s founders, Thomas Henry Pattinson (1902) and Bogdan Edwards (1902-03) were its first two Guardians of Light; later they were given the title Arch-President to denote their status as founders. The Garuda Temple held its meetings during Bogdan’s lifetime at 81 King’s Arcade, Market Street Bradford, very near to where Pattinson had his shop. Bogdan lectured regularly at the Temple’s meetings.
Portman had given Bogdan and Pattinson a copy of the ritual he had devised for his August Order of Light when he’d sent them their warrant. Between that date (whenever it was) and 1902, the two of them had worked on it, adding in symbolism and ritual inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, ancient Egypt (probably Bogdan’s contribution) and ancient and modern India.
In Bradford, the August or Oriental Order of Light (A/OOL), the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Theosophical Society all started up at about the same time. Pattinson was a prime mover in all of them: he was a freemason and he was the one who knew William Wynn Westcott, senior member of the Theosophical Society in London and one of the founders of the GD. Bogdan almost certainly met Westcott through Pattinson and was probably offered initiation into the GD on the strength of his interest in the Kabbala and his ritual-writing for the A/OOL. He joined the Theosophical Society a little later, in 1891. He and his brother Louis Stanley were both founder-members of the TS’s Bradford Lodge in February 1891 and at this stage all the Lodge’s committee and nearly all its ordinary members were members of the GD as well. Bogdan was elected vice-president for its year 1892-93 but left Bradford Lodge in August 1893 to become a senior member of the city’s other lodge, called Athene (there was never a TS lodge in Brighouse).
Freemasonry was a men-only preserve of course. But the GD and the TS both allowed women in. Henrietta Edwards did not perhaps have much time for studying occult texts and rituals, and it may have been more difficult for her to find time to attend meetings in Bradford; but she did join the TS, in 1893, and remained a member for longer than her husband. She was never a member of Bradford Lodge, only of Athene Lodge, its opponent in what might have been a Bradford reflection of the bitter power struggle that tore apart the TS in the mid-1890s. Like many other members, Bogdan and Henrietta let their membership lapse as the power struggle continued. Many TS members who had supported the side that eventually lost never renewed their membership, and Bogdan was one of them. Both Bradford lodges were in abeyance in the late 1890s and neither Bogdan nor Henrietta were active members after Bradford Lodge was set up for a second time in 1902. Perhaps Bogdan’s interest in the A/OOL was rekindled by the rows that beset the GD as well as the TS at this time; and in 1902 he finally became a freemason, joining Brighouse Lodge 1301.
Brighouse Lodge 1301 was a typical local freemasons’ lodge, its members being local professionals and tradesmen. It did not have many members, so Bogdan served his year as the lodge’s Worshipful Master only a few years after being initiated, from December 1907 to December 1908.
Despite no longer being active in the GD, Bogdan and Pattinson both kept in touch with William Wynn Westcott, who often went north to give talks at the A/OOL in the early 1900s. In 1908 or 1909 Bogdan joined the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), of which Westcott was Supreme Magus. Not exactly a freemasons’ lodge, but open to freemasons only, SRIA members studied Rosicrucian texts, history and symbolism. Though Bogdan was a member of SRIA’s Woodman College which was based in Bradford, in 1911 he did submit one paper to the London college (known as the Metropolitan College): The Vision of Mer-Amen Ramzes 12th king of the 19th dynasty. He was too busy to get to London to read it himself, however - or maybe wanted to avoid awkward questions; so it was read by T W Lemon. Purporting to be a fable from ancient Egypt, the Vision was in fact a modern piece of fiction; I’m not sure how many of the listening SRIA members were aware of that! Bogdan’s little leg-pull, perhaps; and very much in the GD tradition.
Bogdan continued to be a member of the A/OOL Garuda Temple, of SRIA, and probably of Brighouse Lodge 1301 until his death.
The life of general practice, housework and voluntary work that Bogdan and Henrietta were leading was interrupted by World War 1. In late 1915 or early 1916 the Brighouse corps of the St John’s Ambulance brigade began to raise money to set up two field hospitals to help cope with the ever-increasing number of seriously injured casualties being sent back from the trenches. As senior members of the brigade, Bogdan and Henrietta led this fund-raising effort. Boothroyde Hospital at Rastrick (now the William Henry Smith school) opened in February 1916. This of course was the year of the Somme and by mid-summer its original 20 beds were totally inadequate. At first, tents in the grounds were set up, but with winter coming on, more money was raised and a second hospital set up in Brighouse: Longroyde Hospital which opened in November 1916. Though some of the staff of both hospitals were paid, most (including Bogdan and Henrietta) were volunteers, with Bogdan Edwards as Commandant and head of the medical staff and Henrietta as Matron (of both hospitals, that is). Boothroyde Hospital treated 1082 patients before it was able to shut down in February 1919; Longroyde Hospital treated 893 patients and was needed for a little longer, the last of the inmates being moved to other hospitals only days before it closed in May. On Saturday 31 May 1919 the people involved at Longroyde held a closing and presentation ceremony: Bogdan and Henrietta were given a silver tea-set, Bogdan made the ‘thank-you’ speech. Both Bogdan and Henrietta got their due rewards elsewhere too: they met George V, who visited the hospitals several times; and Bogdan was awarded the MBE in 1920 and Henrietta the Royal Red Cross in 1918. Henrietta went to Buckingham Palace on 26 July 1918 with a group of VADs from the British Red Cross, to receive her award. I haven’t found information confirming Bogdan at the Palace to receive his MBE.
My research on Henry George Norris has left me with the strong impression that 1917 was the worst year in World War 1. It was a terrible year personally for the Jastrzebski family. In the spring, Thaddeus de Jastrzebski’s only son Hubert was killed in France; and in December 1917 Bogdan and Henrietta’s son Harold died. Harold died in Brighouse and was consequently able to be buried in the family plot; though I’m sure that was not much consolation to his parents. I haven’t found any evidence that Harold fought in the war. In 1911 he was training to be a civil engineer so his skills may have been needed for the war effort at home. However, he might have volunteered, or been called up, and then failed his medical - perhaps that was the reason why he was not in the armed forces, as he was only 27 when he died. Grief and the strain of working at both the hospitals and in his GP practice took their toll particularly on Bogdan Edwards - his friends in the A/OOL agreed that his war experiences shortened his life. He died on 23 February 1923; aged only 63. Henrietta lived until 1946.
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 Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ 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 it’s now in the Freemasons’ 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. The records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have not survived beyond 1896 either, but there’s a history of the TS in Bradford on the web (though originally written in 1941) at www.ts-bradford.org.uk/theosoc/btshisto.htm in which a lot of the same people who joined the GD are mentioned. After surviving some difficult times in the 1890s, Bradford TS still seems to be going strong (as at December 2012). In April 2012 the History page was updated with the names of all the members at least up to 1941.
The members of the GD at its Horus Temple were rather a bolshy lot, and needed careful management!
Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; 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; Freemasons’ Library.
Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.
SOURCES FOR BOGDAN AND HENRIETTA EDWARDS
As the Jastrzebski surname is so problematic I give below census/freebmd details I normally don’t include in my Sources section:
Marriage of Elizabeth Morgan to Louis Tastrzebski (sic) registered Kidderminster January-March quarter 1859.
Birth of Bogdan Edward Iastizebski (sic) registered Halifax January-March quarter 1860.
Yet another spelling: marriage of Thaddeus T S de Jastestaski registered Halifax April-June quarter 1890; his bride was Frances Elizabeth Thackrah.
Then brother Thaddeus muddied the waters even further by adding a ‘de’ in front of the surname: his daughter was registered Halifax July-September quarter 1891, as Norah de Jastrzebski. At least the registrar got the surname spelled correctly this time: perhaps Thaddeus did the registration himself, as he worked in that government department.
STEFAN JASTRZEBSKI AND BOGDAN’S CHILDHOOD
Louis Stanley Jast: A Biographical Sketch published London: The Library Association 1966. By W G Fry and W A Munford. Both Fry and Munford knew Stan Jast professionally. Mr B Klec-Pitewski had given them details of Stefan’s early life in Poland and fighting for Kossuth’s revolution. They had asked Bogdan Edward’s daughter Elsie for details of the Jastrzebski family’s life in Halifax.
For the life of Lajos (Louis) Kossuth: wikipedia.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography volume 29 p816 has an entry for Stanley Jast, based on the book by Fry and Munford but also adding these details: Stefan and Lizzie’s sons had all gone to the Halifax Park Chapel (probably the Sunday school); and that the third brother, Thaddeus, who never joined the GD, joined the civil service and ended his career as Assistant Registrar of England, in charge of births, marriages and deaths.
For more information on the schools that the Jastrzebski brothers attended see
freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com at Malcolm Bull’s Calderdale Companion.
Details of Bogdan’s work as a Medical Officer; and the early addresses of his GP’s practice were at this website though the sources of the information were not given: lowcalderlegends.wordpress.com, its Ghosts and Legends of the Lower Calder Valley page, where Bogdan is called “The Brighouse Magus”. At the bottom of the page is a photograph of the headstone on the Edwards family plot, with dates of death carved on it for Bogdan, Henrietta and Harold, but not for Elsie.
BOGDAN AND HENRIETTA IN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
Bogdan Edwards: Theosophical Society Membership Register vol January 1889-September 1891 p106 in a Bradford batch of people almost all of whom were in the GD as well. Henrietta Edwards: Theosophical Society Membership Register June 1893 to March 1895 p65.
Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Volume XII covers March-August 1893. Published by Theosophical Publishing Society of 7 Duke Street Adelphi. Volume VII number 67 issued 15 March 1893 p78 news section: report on the officials elected to serve at the Bradford Lodge for the year 1893-94.
Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Volume XII covers March-August 1893. Volume XIV number 79 issued 15 March 1894: p82 news section report that “Dr Edwards” had given the first talk at the newly-founded Athene Lodge.
Bradford Lodge is one of the best documented TS lodges, with a history on its website at www.ts-bradford.org.uk, compiled as far as the 1920s by F D Harrison, a founder-member and (for a short while only) a member of the GD. There’s a list of members, which includes Bogdan, but not Henrietta. The history says that both lodges were moribund by 1899. The remaining members of each got together to re-found Bradford Lodge in 1902. It’s still going (September 2013).
MY BEST SOURCE FOR THE AUGUST/ORIENTAL ORDER OF LIGHT
Masonic Curiosities compiled by Yasha Beresiner, edited by Tony Pope. Published Melbourne: Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council 2000. Section on the August Order of LIGHT is p189-95 in the section Some Judaic Aspects of Freemasonry though one influence the ritual of the A/OOL doesn’t seem to have is the Jewish one.
BOGDAN AS A FREEMASON; AND IN THE ORIENTAL ORDER OF LIGHT which in this volume is still called by M V Portman’s original name, the August Order of Light:
Masonic Secrets of the Antient Mysteries subtitle In Memoriam Worshipful Brother Dr Edwards MBE. Privately printed limited edition of 200. I saw copy 191, now in the British Library. Clarence Press Bradford 1923. The frontispiece is a photograph of “Brother Dr Bogdan E Jastrzebski Edwards...Passed within the Veil, 23rd February 1923...Deus Lux Solis”. Short biography pp7-20.
OTHER SOURCES FOR THE AUGUST/ORIENTAL ORDER OF LIGHT
New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry by GD member A E Waite: p214
Encyclopaedia of Occultism and Parapsychology by Lewis Spence P70.
WESTCOTT AT THE A/OOL:
Representative British Freemasons published 1915 by Dod’s Peerage Ltd p160.
National Union Catalog pre-1956 Imprints volume 657 1979 p466 lists a printed version of a lecture The Serpent Myth, given by Westcott to the Bradford lodge of the August/Oriental Order of Light in 1906.
BRIGHOUSE LODGE 1301
Brighouse Lodge 1301: a History of Brighouse Lodge for the Period from the Consecration in 1870 to the Centenary Year 1970 written by Arthur Murray MM, PPGD and based on Minutes of Lodge meetings: p28, p29, p30.
BOGDAN IN SOCIETAS ROSICRUCIANA IN ANGLIA. Its Minute Books and Transactions are now in the Freemasons’ Library in Covent Garden.
Transactions 1909 et seq to 1924 on inside cover: group of members at the 8th grade honoris causa. Transactions 1911 p29 for The Vision of Ramzes which was read at the meeting of 13 July 1911; Transactions 1918 p3. Transactions 1923 p24.
Bogdan’s paper, as printed, did give a clue about where he had got the original story of The Vision; but you would only have been able to guess what was up if you had known him well. Westcott knew him well, but was ill and couldn’t attend the meeting. The Vision of Ramzes XII had been translated by Bogdan from “Faraone” by “B. Prus”. For more on Polish freedom-fighter, journalist and novelist Boleslaw Prus, see wikipedia. His novel Faraon was written in 1894-95. Part of it was translated into English (not very well, I gather) in 1902; not by Bogdan Edwards. It had to wait for a good translation until 2001.
BOOTHROYDE AND LONGROYDE HOSPITALS; NB some sources spell them ‘boothroyd’ and ‘longroyd’ and as a non-local I’m not sure which spellings are correct. Location of both hospitals from website www.halifaxgreatwar.org which is the forum of the Halifax Great War Trail Association.
Website www.yorkshireindexers.co.uk had a series of articles originally in the local papers, covering the closing of both hospitals:
Brighouse Echo 7 March 1919 p3; Brighouse Echo 23 May 1919 p3; and Brighouse Echo 30 May 1919 p6.
For Henrietta’s award:
Via www.archive.org to the British Journal of Nursing volume LXI issue of 20 July 1918 p43.
Via archive.org to British Journal of Nursing volume LXI issue of 3 August 1918 p78.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
28 March 2020
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