Edward Jonathan Dunn who was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Horus Temple in Bradford Yorkshire in September 1889.† He took the Latin motto Ďaltiora petoí (of which a little more below).† He did start out on the learning necessary to make progress in the Order, and took one of the exams; but then let the work lapse for several years before resigning formally during 1894.
Edward Jonathan Dunn was based not in Bradford but in York.† He was descended on both sides from farmers in the Vale of York, the kind of people who in Tudor England would have been referred to as yeomen: the backbone of the rural community, by late Victorian England under considerable pressure from developments in farming and transport technology elsewhere.
Iíve been very lucky with Edward Jonathan, to find a family history website at www.stableshistory.co.uk, based on original documents put together into a dossier by Edward Jonathanís grand-father William Stables and handed on in due course to Edward Jonathanís sister Annie Maude.† All my potted history of Edward Jonathanís family comes from this and I refer you to it for more information on his relatives.†
William Stablesí youngest daughter Charlotte married Jonathan Dunn in June 1861.† Jonathan Dunn owned farms at Stillingfleet and Kelfield, villages south of York near where the River Wharf flows into the River Ouse; and also some land further east at Beswick, north of Beverley.† He farmed his own land - that is to say, he didnít rent it all out to tenant-farmers.† He kept up with developments in farming via his membership of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, to which he was elected in 1870.
Jonathan and Charlotte Dunn had three sons and three daughters: George William, born 1862; Charlotte Elizabeth (Lottie) born 1863; Annie Maud born 1865; Edward Jonathan born 1867; Harold Stables born 1869; and Emily Blanche born 1870.† The family moved backwards and forwards between two farm-houses that were on their land, Stillingfleet House, and Kelfield Lodge just north-east of Kelfield village.† The family were Methodists, and in due course Jonathan and Charlotteís sons were sent away to Wesley College near Sheffield.† Wesley College had been founded in 1804 with the intention of giving an education based on the principles of Methodism but also including a thorough grounding in the Classics, the kind of Latin-and-Greek education available at the older public schools.† Edward Jonathan was a pupil at Wesley College on the day of the 1881 census.†
Under normal circumstances, a younger son would not expect to inherit the family land; and in fact Edward Jonathan never did so.† However, the oldest son George William, never farmed the family land either, according to the Stables family history he went to Australia and died there, around 1895.† The youngest son, Harold, also left the farm: he went to train with Edward J Hasselby, who ran his own business as a pharmacist.† Edward Hasselby was living in Hastings by 1891 but he had been born in Goole Yorkshire and was probably well-known or even related to the Dunns.† By 1891, Edward Jonathan was the only one of Jonathan Dunnís sons still to be living at home.† Although the census official didnít note down any occupation for him, he wonít have been able to be idle. He would have had to have been helping his father run the various farms, and - at the same time and on-the-job (the normal way, at that time) - learning the rudiments of surveying and land valuation which became his occupation later.† What the census official probably had in mind, in leaving the occupation/source of income box blank, was that Edward Jonathan was not a waged worker in the sense that the census meant.† The Dunns were comfortably off at this point, employing a cook as well as a housemaid and the men who worked outdoors on the farm.† But Jonathan Dunn died in 1892, aged only 58.† Charlotte and Edward Jonathan took over the running of the farms between them.
Edward Jonathan Dunn joined both the Theosophical Society and the Order of the Golden Dawn, though I am not sure in which order because his membership record at the TS didnít give the date on which he had joined.† This absence of a joining date usually denotes someone who had been a member from the earliest days of the TS in England, in the mid-1880s, before its record-keeping had become systematic; so Iíll assume Edward Jonathan conforms to that, though he does seem rather young.† He may have joined the TS because of its early interest in western occult traditions; it wasnít until Colonel Olcott and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky went to India in the early 1880s that their thinking veered towards eastern esotericism.† In the mid-1880s, the only place the TS held any formal meetings was at its headquarters in Regentís Park London.† I suggest that Edward Jonathan did go to London and meet some of the TS members, because someone put him in touch with a group of men living in Bradford who were interested in eastern and western esotericism; and the Ďsomeoneí is most likely to have been William Wynne Westcott, who was a member of the TS by the mid-1880s and also knew Thomas Pattinson of Bradford through freemasonry and the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia.† Perhaps I should say here that Edward Jonathan Dunn never became a freemason himself.
There is one other route by which Edward Jonathan Dunn might have met occultists and theosophists in Bradford: in 1828 one of his motherís aunts had married a man called John Midgley. A younger John Midgley was an important figure in the TSís Bradford Lodge in the 1890s and was also initiated into the Golden Dawn.† However, I havenít been able to prove that Edward Jonathan Dunn and John Midgley were related, however distantly; and they may not have known each other until they met through their common interest in esotericism.
Edward Jonathan was initiated into the GDís Horus Temple very soon after Westcott and Mathers gave Thomas Pattinson and his fellow occultists in Bradford permission to found an offshoot temple there.† However, Edward Jonathan soon seems to have decided to concentrate on theosophy.† Before I leave go of his brief flirtation with the GD, I just want to say a word about the motto Edward Jonathan chose.† ĎAltiora petoí - which can be translated as ĎI seek higher thingsí - expresses the kind of noble sentiment which is typical of GD mottoes and was chosen by another GD initiate several years after Edward Jonathan had resigned.† Thereís no real need to seek for any deeper reason why a new recruit might opt for it.† However, ĎAltiora Petoí was also the title of a novel published in 1883 whose author was Laurence Oliphant, an Englishman who was for a time a member of a community called the Brotherhood of the New Life, founded in the USA by Thomas Lake Harris.† Thomas Lake Harris had started out as a Christian preacher but his views had rapidly become too unorthodox for Christianity to contain them: as a poet and millienialist visionary, he argued that Mankind was on the threshold of moving up to a new level of existence.† His writings were much discussed by members of the Golden Dawn in the early 1890s, though some members seem to have misunderstood Harrisí view that relations between man and wife should be mystical rather than sexual.† Edward Jonathan could certainly have come across Harris and Oliphant through the GD.† However, he also had a sister with very utopian views (see below) and she may have brought Oliphantís book to his attention.
Having decided that his spiritual way forward was via theosophy rather than western occultism, Edward Jonathan got together a group of like-minded friends and gained permission from the TSís London headquarters to found a lodge in York.† He was the new lodgeís first secretary, and one of the busiest sponsors of new members in the period 1892 to 1895, starting with his younger brother Harold who was recruited despite giving an address in St Leonardís-on-Sea (Sussex); and Harry Banbery, who was living at Toynbee Hall in Londonís East End (see the Sources section below for more on Toynbee Hall).† Harold Dunn and Harry Banbery probably didnít attend many meetings but Edward Jonathan also recruited members who lived in York itself who could commit themselves to attending meetings regularly, leading discussions and giving papers.† I havenít been able to discover very much about how York Lodge was affected by the split that developed in the TS worldwide, in 1894-95, over who if anyone should now be receiving messages from Blavatskyís Mahatmas, now that she was dead.† I could see from the TS Membership Registers that recruitment of new members fell noticeably after 1895; but that was true throughout England.† Edward Jonathan was a member of Blavatsky Lodge in London around 1898, and Bradford Lodge around 1910, but this may just be because of changes in his own life rather than the demise of York Lodge.
Although theosophy was an important leisure-time pursuit for Edward Jonathan he had also become a member of the Yorkshire Dialect Society by 1899.† This effort to collect local words and phrases before they were lost to history began in 1894 with a speech by the remarkable Professor Joseph Wright.† Wright (1855-1930) had been born in Idle on the outskirts of Bradford.† Completely self-taught while working as a mill hand for Titus Salt amongst others, he eventually became an academic at Oxford University.† The idea of an English Dialect Dictionary was entirely his and he even paid for its publication himself when none of the publishing firms would take it on.† The YDS, which still exists, contributed 350,000 words and phrases to the dictionary.† Volunteers would go out into the villages and note down Yorkshire usage in the same way composers like Grainger and Vaughan Williams went out into rural areas to hear and write down old folk songs.
The farmhouse at Kelfield must have seen some pretty lively debates, in the 1890s, for Edward Jonathanís sisters also had intellectual interests, although none them joined either the TS or the GD.† Emily Blanche submitted some literary criticism to the radical womenís magazine Atalanta that won her one of its readersí scholarships in 1894.† Charlotte Elizabeth - Lottie - joined the Fabian Society in 1894 and the Sanitary Institute in 1895 (the SI was more about legislation and social work practice than plumbing and sewage; it renamed itself the Royal Society for Public Health in 1910).† I wish I knew more about Lottie: around 1898 she left her family and went to join another experiment in social engineering, the Whiteway House colony, which had just been founded near Stroud in Gloucestershire.† This was not a Brotherhood of the New Life; the only such community in the UK was in Glasgow.† The Whiteway House colony was trying to put into practice the philosophical ideas of Tolstoy, as published in his A Confession of 1879 and other works. Lottie was in her mid-30s when she left Kelfield, and knew her own mind, but this was still a very unusual thing for a single, middle-class woman to do in the 1890s.† In 1899 she married one of the colonyís founders, the crusading Quaker journalist Samuel Veale Bracher, who was 12 years her junior.† As far as I can tell, they did not have any children; which may have been intentional.† Annie Maudís husband was also far younger than she - in 1900 she married Arthur Drover, who ran his own fruit-farm at Great Baddow Essex.† They adopted a daughter, Phyllis.
Despite his being surrounded by so much revolutionary thinking, Edward Jonathan Dunnís own life continued on a course that was outwardly conservative, perhaps dictated by his awareness that he was his motherís only support in the running of the farms.† On the day of the 1901 census only Charlotte Dunn and Edward Jonathan were still living at Kelfield Lodge.† It was a very reduced household - apart from the Dunns there was one housemaid and a poultry boy.† It wasnít for another three years that anyone else came to join them at the farm: in the summer of 1904, Edward Jonathan Dunn married Ella Mary Browne.
I havenít been able to find out anything much about Ella Mary Browneís father, George Walter Browne; but I think he must be the man of that name who published two short plays and a book of poetry, around 1880.† George Walter Browne and Ellen Phillis Wilberforce were married in York in 1878.† They quickly had three daughters: Edith in 1879 and Ella Mary in 1880, both born in York; and Millicent 1882 who was born in Hammersmith.† I couldnít find any publications by George Walter Browne after the poetry of 1880; and I could only find Ellen and her daughters on subsequent censuses. On the other hand, I couldnít find a death registration for George Walter Browne that I was satisfied with.† I can only say that he was definitely dead by 1906 when Ellen Browne married again; and that Ellen Browne and her daughters had moved back to York by 1891, so that was where Ella Mary grew up.†
Itís likely that Edward Jonathan met Ella Mary through her sister Millicent, who joined the TSís York Lodge.† Ella Mary didnít join the TS until after she was married.† Both Ella Maryís sisters were earning their own living in 1901, as teachers; but Ella Mary was away, outside the UK, on the day of the 1901 census, so I donít know whether she worked before her marriage.† She does seem to have gone to live at Kelfield Lodge after she and Edward Jonathan were married; but she had always lived in cities and had no experience of running a farm; I think this was an important factor in the decision-making of the next few years.†
Edward Jonathanís marriage came at the beginning of three traumatic years for the Dunn family, with very happy events coinciding with tragedies almost to the day.† In 1905 the birth of Edward Jonathan and Ella Maryís first child, Alfred, came within three months of the death of Edward Jonathanís literary sister Emily.† In 1906 the death of Edward Jonathanís brother Harold came just before the birth of Edward Jonathanís second son, who was named Eric Harold to commemorate him.† A few months later, Ella Maryís mother married again, but her new husband, Alfred Waddington, died late in 1907.† And in 1907 the question of the future of the Dunn family farms became an urgent one, when Charlotte Dunnís first cousin, Richard Skilbeck, came back from Australia to claim the bride he had been denied fifty years before.† Charlotte Dunn married Richard Skilbeck in September 1907 and returned with him to his ranch at Koroit, Victoria.
The farm based at Kelfield Lodge still exists, but the Dunns had all left it by the time of Charlotteís second marriage: Ella Mary and Edward Jonathan had decided that for Edward Jonathan to make a new career from his skills at land valuation was better than carrying on at the farm in difficult times.† They may have seen Charlotteís decision to remarry as a blessed release. By 1911 they were living in Bilton Lane Harrogate; Harrogate had a very active TS lodge.† In 1917 they were founder-members of Bradfordís Minerva TS Lodge, with Fanny Isabel Clayton who had also been a member of the GD. Then they moved to Middlesbrough where Edward Jonathan Dunn worked as a Valuer for the Inland Revenue, from offices in Midland Bank Chambers Albert Road.† He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1912.
Readers may have noticed a sad theme in this potted history of the Dunn family.† Charlotte Dunn lived until she was nearly 80, dying in October 1922 at Koroit; but her husband and three of her children all died young.† Three of Edward Jonathanís siblings didnít reach 40, and although he did live long enough to see his two sons as teenagers, he didnít escape the family fate entirely; he outlived his mother by less than four years, dying on 6 March 1926 aged 58.
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 donít think the records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived either, but thereís 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.† The History was last updated in April 2012 with a full list of members at least up to 1941; both Edward Jonathan and Ella Mary Dunn were members; though Ella Mary seems only to have joined after she married.
Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burkeís Peerage and Baronetage; Burkeís 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.
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.
SOURCES FOR EDWARD JONATHAN DUNN
FAMILY HISTORY OF THE STABLES, SKILBECKS AND DUNNS at www.stableshistory.co.uk.† Itís compiled by T B Dunn from The Notices of the Stables Family, handed on to him by Annie Maud Drover.† The Notices are based on title deeds, entries in family bibles - the sources couldnít be better.† Seen 7 December 2012.†
The story of the second marriage of Charlotte Dunn was told to T B Dunn by Annie Maud Drover: Richard Skilbeck had wanted to marry Charlotte, but their mutual grandfather Richard Skilbeck, who was Charlotteís guardian until she reached 21, forbade it on grounds of consanguinity.† Richard went off to Australia and settled at Koroit in Victoria; in due course he became a wealthy landowner there.† He died in 1924 at Koroit.† In December 2012 I looked up Koroit on the web and noticed quite a few burials of people called Skilbeck; so it looks as though Richard Skilbeck had been married before when he came back to England for Charlotte.
At www.visitkoroit.com.au thereís a booklet Koroit Heritage Trail, with drawings of some very nice buildings from the mid-19th century onwards.† The town also a has botanical garden and is connected to the rest of the world by train; so Charlotte wasnít going miles into the Outback.† R Skilbeck is mentioned in connection with two houses in the twon.† The first you reach when taking the Heritage Trail is Old Hillcrest, built in 1910 (for Charlotte).† The next notable building beyond it is The Pines, Skilbeckís first house at Koroit, built c 1860 but much altered since.†
Wikipedia on Koroit: the name is from the Aborigine tribe whose land it is on.
A reference to the house at Stillingfleet still being a residence of Jonathan Dunn, is in Bulmerís Directory for 1892 transcribed at www.genuki.org.uk: Stillingfleet House, Stillingfleet-with-Moreby.
Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 1879 piv in a list of members, Jonathan Dunn of Kelfield Lodge York.
The Farmerís Magazine 1871 p315 he had been elected to Royal Agricultural Socity within the previous year.
EDWARD JONATHAN DUNN IN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
For details of his membership, such as they were: Theosophical Society Membership Registers for the period 1888 to 1901, held at the TS headquarters building in Gloucester Place London W1.
Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Volume XIV covering March-August 1894 with Annie Besant as editor.† Published London: Theosophical Publishing Society of 7 Duke Street Adelphi.† Volume XIV no 82 issued 15 June 1894 p347 news section: Annie Besant had been on a lecture tour of northern England.† She had given a talk at York Lodge on 11 May .† E J Dunn is named as York Lodgeís secretary; heíd probably organised the talk.
Toynbee Hall still exists, on the site where it was built, which is now in the London borough of Tower Hamlets: www.toynbeehall.org.uk.† The germ of the idea came into being in 1873 when the Rev Samuel Barnett and his wife Henrietta refused an easy parish in favour of an East End one.† They developed the idea that the future political and social elite of the Empire should spend time in the East End meeting the general population and building up an understanding of how the poor lived that would influence their professional lives; and that they should pay to do so.† Toynbee Hall opened in 1884 as a charity with the twin aims of ending poverty and extending social inclusion (two ideals just as relevant today) and was named after the Barnettsí colleague Arnold Toynbee.
ALTIORA PETO AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE NEW LIFE
For further information on Thomas Lake Harris and Laurence Oliphant, see A Prophet and a Pilgrim by Herbert W Schneider and George Lawton.† New York: Columbia University Press 1942.† Schneider and Lawton used Oliphantís novel in preparing the biography: p563.
The other GD initiate who chose the motto Ďaltiora petoí was Eliza Augusta Vennor Morris, in 1899.† Itís possible that she and Edward Jonathan Dunn knew each other during the 1890s, not through the GD but through the Theosophical Society.
Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society volume 1 no 21 1899 issued by the Society; p71 presumably in a list of members: E J Dunn of Kelfield.
THE DUNN SISTERS
Atalanta volume 7 1894 p353 gives a list of scholarships awarded.† £20 for each of the next two years had been given to Emily Blanche Dunn of Kelfield Lodge.†
Wikipedia on Atalanta magazine: it was founded especially for young women readers by L T Mead, who was also its first editor.† It was published from 1887 to 1898.† It quickly made a name for itself with high-quality articles and fiction writing eg by F Hodgson Burnett, R L Stevenson, H R Haggard.† It developed a tradition of literary criticism by both professional writers and by its readers.† It encouraged its readers to aim high and take up (middle-class) careers eg in medicine and the civil service.† Its editor 1894-96 was A Balfour Symington, who had been appointed by Meade.
Fabian Society (GB) list of members for the year 1894 p7 includes ďMiss Lottie E DunnĒ of Kelfield Lodge York.
Journal of the Sanitary Institute volume 15 1895 p78 Lottie Dunn has been a member since January 1894.† From wikipedia: what is now the Royal Society for Public Health was called the Sanitary Institute from 1876-1909; it was an important influence on public health legislation, social work practice etc.
See wikipedia for Tolstoyís political and spiritual radicalism, based on his reading of Schopenhauer.
ELLEN BROWNE AND HER DAUGHTERS
Via familysearch to the registers of SS Martin and Gregory York: marriage of George Walter Browne to Ellen Phillis Wilberforce took place on 5 March 1878; both parties were 21.† The baptisms of Edith 1879; and of Ella Mary in 1880 were in those registers; but the baptism of Millicent (1882) was not.
I think this is the correct George Walter Browne: details from the British Library catalogue and via googlebooks.
Hearts and Homes: A Comedy in 1 Act published York: Johnson and Tesseyman 1875.
Thalia: An Original Comedy-Drama published 1878 but there were no details of the publishing firm, so it may have been privately printed.
A Fairy Voyage and Other Poems published London: Remington and Co 1879.† This volume is listed in Reillyís Mid-Victorian Poetry (published 2000) p63; itís the only item by this writer.
I couldnít find anything else published by this person; nor anything more about him in the normal places you would expect to get information on authors.† I checked freebmd and familysearch for a death registration: couldnít find any with the full name 1881-1900; there might be one as only George Browne but I couldnít see one that convinced me, 1881-85.
EDWARD JONATHAN DUNN AS A SURVEYOR
London Gazette 3 October 1913 p6900 civil service promotions include E J Dunn to Junior Valuer Inland Revenue; by an Order in Council issued 10 January 1910.
Chartered Surveyor magazine issued by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) p1923 p26 Edward Jonathan Dunnís current business address is Midland Bank Chambers, Albert Road Middlesbrough.
Transactions of the RICS 1924 p27 Edward Jonathan Dunn had been elected a Fellow of the RICS in October 1912.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
13 December 2012