Webster Glynes was one of the first people to be offered membership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: he was initiated at its Isis-Urania temple in London, in July 1888. He got as far as choosing a motto, the Latin ‘Descende ut ascendas’ but never followed up his initiation in any way and resigned from the Order, though the records don’t say when.



This is one of my short biographies. Although I have found a lot of glancing references to Webster Glynes in a variety of different historical records, there isn’t enough information on him to write a longer one.

Sally Davis

October 2016



Going through copies of spiritualist magazines Light and The Spiritualist I found plenty of evidence for Webster’s American wife Ella Dietz living in England in the late 1870s and early 1880s. So Webster could have known Ella by repute at least for many years before they married.



I was contacted a week or two ago by a descendant of Webster Glynes’ nephew John Edward Glynes, with news of Webster as a golfer; and as a poet!; and of what happened to Webster’s brother Brock.


My basic sources for any GD member are in a section at the end of the file. Supplementary sources for this particular member are listed at the end of each section.



This is what I have found out about WEBSTER GLYNES.



Very little. Webster was one of a group of freemasons known especially to William Wynn Westcott but probably also to Samuel Liddell Mathers. They were asked to be members so they could advise on the GD’s rituals; but perhaps also to ensure their keeping silent about the Order’s existence. Most of them were no more interested in the western magical tradition than Webster was; and maybe they were never expected to be active members of the Order.




I haven’t found any evidence that Webster was a spiritualist. However, it is hard to tell whether people were spiritualists as spiritualism was a very locally, even family-based pursuit and there was no over-arching organisation with a membership list that can be consulted now.



Very few of the members of the GD were involved in both freemasonry and theosophy. Webster conforms to this rule: he wasn’t a member of the Theosophical Society.



I wouldn’t have dared to write this section without the help - especially the explanations - given me by two of my friends at the Freemasons’ Library: Susan Snell the archivist; and Peter Aitkenhead the assistant librarian and expert on freemasonry degrees. Nor could this section have been even as intelligible as I hope it has been, without these two books, which they suggested I read:


Beyond the Craft by Keith B Jackson. Original edition 1980. I used the 6th edition, 2012, to which Jackson has added details of several orders left out of the 1st edition. Hersham Surrey: Lewis Masonic, an imprint of Ian Allan Publishing Ltd. See www.lewismasonic.co.uk

A good introduction.


A Reference Book for Freemasons. Compiled by Frederick Smyth. Published London: Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle Ltd 1998. Recommended by Peter Aitkenhead.


If I’ve still got it wrong, I suggest you try one or both of those books for the correct answers.



Though it doesn’t seem to have been a tradition in his family, Webster was an active freemason from the 1860s to at least the 1890s and possibly later, though access to records from after 1900 isn’t as good as for the earlier period.



The first lodge Webster was a member of, was Percy Lodge of Instruction. It was numbered 234 when he joined it, in 1859, but was renumbered 198 in 1863. In 1855 it was meeting at the Marquis of Granby pub, in Down Street near Piccadilly; it was probably still meeting there when Webster joined it. Even after he had been initiated into a fully-fledged lodge, Webster still kept in touch with Percy Lodge 198 and was a guest at its centenary festival in 1891.


Although the second half of the 19th century saw an explosion in the number of craft lodges founded, Webster belonged to very few of them. His main loyalty in craft masonry was to St Alban’s Lodge 29, which he joined in 1865. As its low number indicates, it was one of the oldest craft lodges - its warrant had been issued as far back as 1728 although the name ‘St Alban’s’ only dates from 1771. It met in the City of London; from 1867, lodge meetings were held at the Albion Tavern Aldersgate Street. It’s likely, therefore, that Webster’s name was put forward as a suitable lodge member by a business contact of Glynes and Son, Webster’s family firm. St Alban’s Lodge 29 was Webster’s main sphere of freemasonry activity until the 1880s and he served as its Worshipful Master from January 1871 to January 1872; he was also Zerubabel of its Chapter though I couldn’t find out in which year.


St Alban’s Lodge 29 is one of the ‘Red Apron’ lodges. There are 19 of them, all based in London, and each of them has the right to nominate one member per year to serve as a grand steward at the annual festival of freemasonry, held each April. Though a great honour, serving as a festival steward was also a serious commitment of effort and money. It was the job of the 19 grand stewards to organise and finance the festival. Grand stewards in the 1890s could expect to pay out about £25 each towards the expenses of the evening. Grand stewards serving their year in the 1870s had to find rather less - £15-20 - but it was still serious money. It’s been difficult to find evidence of how much any member of the GD earned each year; but George Frederick Rogers, a graduate of Cambridge University with five years’ experience as a hospital doctor, earned £100 a year in the University anatomy department between 1900 and 1914; it’s not surprising that he never volunteered to be a grand steward. Webster was the only GD member to have that privilege. His name was put forward to do a year as grand steward in April 1870. He served until the festival evening of April 1871, meaning that for three months that year he was committed to a Master-ship and a grand stewardship at the same time. A busy and exacting time!


All those who had done a year as grand steward were entitled to join the Grand Stewards’ Lodge (which, unlike all other craft lodges, does not need to have a number). Webster joined the GSL some time after 1871.



I discovered that Webster was a member of this craft lodge quite by accident, while researching GD member Herbert Coryn who joined it in the late 1890s. The lodge published its by-laws and a list of current members in 1883, and Webster is shown as one of the lodge’s most recent initiates. Harold John Levett, who worked in a bank, had been initiated even more recently; he too joined the GD in due course.


Frederick Lodge of Unity 452 was based at Croydon’s freemasons’ hall in the High Street. Members in 1883 were a mixture of those who worked in the district, and those who worked in the City. I’m not quite sure how Webster became involved in the lodge, but it may have been through two of its most long-serving members, the Ohrens brothers, who were very active in London freemasonry at this time (though neither of them ever joined the GD).



Although he was never involved with the day-to-day management of any of the masonic charities, Webster did serve as steward for the 1883 festival of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys.


WM’s and PM’s of craft lodges were often invited to consecrations of lodges and other lodge festivals. Webster may have not had all that much time for this extra socialising but he did attend two consecrations that I know of: that of Caterham Lodge 2095, in May 1885; and that of Huguenot Lodge 2140 in May 1886. William George Lemon was also at the Huguenot Lodge 2140 consecration.




As well as being a time when the number of craft lodges being founded increased rapidly, the mid-to-late 19th century was a period of great experimentation and innovation in freemasonry. In England, old orders of freemasons gained new impetus; and new orders were set up to bring into use practices and degrees already well-established in other countries, particularly the USA but also Scotland. From the evidence I’ve found, Webster was more interested in discovering these variations on craft masonry, than in gaining a deeper knowledge of the craft. Particularly in the 1880s and early 1890s, he joined a lot of these new or expanding orders.



Mark Masonry came to England from Scotland in the mid-19th century. It has always been independent of craft masonry and has its own Grand Lodge; though anyone wishing to be admitted to a Mark Masons’ lodge must already be a member of a craft lodge.


In 1869, Webster was admitted to the first Mark Masons’ lodge to be founded in England: Bon Accord Lodge, given its warrant in 1851 by a chapter of the same name based in Aberdeen. When it was founded, it didn’t have a number; as Mark Masonry expanded, it was given the number 3750. The lodge met four times a year. Webster served as its Worshipful Master from October 1888 to October 1889; so he was WM-in-waiting when he was initiated into the GD. William George Lemon, whom I’ve already mentioned once in this account, had preceded him as the lodge’s WM. Lemon also joined the GD in 1888.


Webster was still involved in Mark masonry in 1896: at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of Mark Masonry that December, he was one of many men present who were given a jewel. I haven’t been able to discover what the occasion was; he might have been retiring.


I think Webster must have been present at the consecration of the Royal Naval Chapter 59; he was offered membership of the chapter at that meeting. I’m not sure whether that indicates he was a member of its Lodge. The lodge could trace its history back to the 18th century, but its chapter was only founded in 1884. In the few references to the lodge and chapter in the freemasonry press, I haven’t seen his name as an officer of either.



Cryptic masonry was one of the new ideas arriving in the UK mid-century from the USA, where it is a part of Royal Arch masonry. Its Rite of Perfection, having probably been formulated in late-18th century Europe, reached England from New York and went separately to Scotland from Illinois. An English Grand Council was set up in 1873 and it had offices and held its meetings in the masonic hall at 8a Red Lion Square to start with before moving both to the new Mark Masons’ hall in the early 1890s.


Webster was admitted to cryptic masonry at a meeting of its Grand Master’s Council held at Anderton’s Hotel in Fleet Street (a popular venue for freemasonry organisations) in May 1882. William George Lemon was already a member. The RSM was a small organisation and only two years later, Webster had climbed its hierarchy so far as to serve as its Grand Conductor of the Grand Council. There’s a magazine reference to his being a member of the RSM’s Grand Master’s Council number 1 (a Council being RSM’s equivalent to a craft lodge) but he formally resigned from it in 1889. He was still a member of the RSM in 1899, but was not attached to any particular Council and was probably not very active.



This rite seems to have gone from France to the US via the West Indies in the 18th-century and then travelled back across the Atlantic to Scotland and England in the 19th. The rite is organised through a Supreme Council, which had its own Masonic Hall at 33 Golden Square in Soho. Its equivalent to the craft lodge is the Rose Croix chapter. The joining rules are strict and shed some light on Webster’s beliefs: all members are required to be not only Christians but to believe in the Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (which the Unitarians for example, do not, as their name suggests). Membership of a Rose Croix chapter is by invitation only, and all candidates must have been master masons for at least one year.


Webster had been initiated into Invicta 10 chapter by 1880 (the earliest AAR source I looked at); W G Lemon was also a member of that chapter. He was in a group of men advanced to the 30º level at a meeting of the AAR’s Supreme Council in May 1883; but never rose any higher in the Rite. During the mid-1880s Webster was making his way up the chapter’s hierarchy to serve as its equivalent to a craft lodge’s WM - its Most Wise Sovereign. By 1889 he had got as far as the rank two below the top, First General. However, I can’t find any evidence that he actually served as MWS. He must have dropped out for some reason. GD founder William Wynn Westcott joined Invicta Chapter number 10, though not until 1898 so the two men probably didn’t coincide in it.



KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, properly known as the Order of the Temple

Efforts by the modern Knights Templar to prove descent in secret from the order which served in the Holy Land during the Crusades have all been proved to be fake. The history and wiping out of the medieval military/religious order has undoubtedly been an important influence on the modern Knights Templar order but the modern order can’t be traced further back than 18th-century Germany. Its earliest attested document, from Boston Massachusetts, is dated 1769.

Originally, groups of modern knights templar formed ‘encampments’ but during Webster’s time the name of its basic form of organisation had become ‘preceptory’. When Webster joined the order, each country was ruled over by a National Great Priory, those in the British Empire answering to a Convent General, with the Prince of Wales as its Grand Master. Both this hierarchy and the entrance requirements were changed around 1890, but when Webster was first invited to be a knight templar, all candidates had to have been master masons for two years, and be a member of a Royal Arch chapter. A belief in Christianity was more assumed than required.


Meetings of the order’s preceptories were sometimes covered in The Freemason magazine.

Webster was present at a meeting of the Harcourt Preceptory number 74 in November 1883 at its regular venue, the Greyhound Hotel in Richmond; I think he was being ‘installed’ at this meeting though the report doesn’t specifically say so. In 1886 he served his year as Harcourt 74's preceptor and in May of that year he represented it at the annual meeting of the National Great Priory, at the City Terminus Hotel at Cannon Street. Not all preceptors attended the annual meeting. Perhaps Webster had been encouraged to do so by his acquaintance at Harcourt 74, Ralph Gooding MD, who had been its preceptor in 1883 and who in due course rose to be a Great Officer in the National Great Priory. Another knight who was at the annual meeting in May 1886 was William George Lemon - it’s impossible that those two men don’t know each other before they join the GD. At that meeting the Great Priory’s officials for the coming year were elected; neither Webster nor W G Lemon were on the list and that was the only meeting of the National Great Priory of England and Wales that Webster went to, at least up to 1900. Unlike some of the other GD members who were also knights templar, he was still a member of the Order in 1898; but a list of Great Officers covering the period to 1915 doesn’t have his name in it. Perhaps he did not approve of the changes in qualifications that were put through in 1889-90. Perhaps he was just too busy with other things to do more than keep his interest at a local level.




There’s no history of either the lodge or the chapter at the Freemasons’ Library, so my knowledge of Webster’s involvement with this group of freemasons is limited. At the consecration of the Chapter in July 1884, Webster’s name was put forward as a joining member. As there’s no evidence from later years of him being an officer in the chapter, I presume he turned the offer down.



You don’t seem to need to have Scottish ancestors to be a member of the Royal Order of Scotland; as far as I know, Webster didn’t have any, but he was a member of its Royal Bruce Chapter by February 1886. What you did need to be able to prove, even to be considered for membership, was that you had been a Master Mason for at least five years. Membership was by invitation only, and was much sought-after, as the ROS administers specifically Scottish, and rather ancient, degrees.


The Royal Order of Scotland has documents from the 18th-century establishing its right to be considered second in rank only to craft masonry amongst all the masonries. It is run from Edinburgh and all lodges are answerable to its Grand Lodge. In England during Webster’s time, some lodges at least shared the premises of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, at 33 Golden Square in London.


In 1886 Webster must have been a member of the Royal Bruce Chapter for some time, in fact, because he was making his way to the top of its ladder of officers: at the meeting of February 1886 he was its Inner Guard; and the meeting of July 1891 was his last as its TRSTA - that is, its Tirshata, a biblical term meaning ‘governor’. After the meeting, everyone went off to a banquet at Greenwich; perhaps at Webster’s expense.




This was the last order - as far as I can see - which Webster joined. It was also the latest to be formed, at least in England, being founded in 1887. The order’s rituals are based on the biblical story of David and Jonathan. There is evidence of an order based on David and Jonathan in the late 18th-century Netherlands and of several such in mid-19th century America. England’s OSM was the idea of the wonderfully-named Issachar Zacharie, an English doctor who had served with the Confederate army in the US civil war before returning to London, and setting up in private practice, in 1875. Zacharie was a member of Bon Accord Mark Masons lodge, so he will have known Webster well. The meeting which led to the founding of the English OSM was held at Zacharie’s house, in May 1887, and most of the early members came from Bon Accord Lodge. They all joined the OSM’s first conclave, originally named Alfred Meadows Conclave 1 but from 1891 just known as Premier Conclave 1.


I couldn’t actually tie down whether Webster was one of those Bon Accord Lodge members who joined the OSM’s Alfred Meadows Conclave 1 when it was founded in July 1887. However, he was definitely a member when the Alfred Meadows Conclave 1 met in April 1889 at the Holborn Restaurant; and was third on its list of officers, its G (Guide). Nelson Prower was at that meeting; and was another of the conclave’s officers; though more junior than Webster. Webster was installed as the conclave’s Supreme Ruler at its meeting of May 1892, also at the Holborn Restaurant.



Webster did join two organisations that researched the history, mythology and symbolism of freemasonry: the craft lodge Quatuor Coronati 2076; and Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), which wasn’t a lodge or an order of freemasons, though only freemasons could join it. Both organisations were filled with men who joined the GD even if only for a short time. Most joined it in its first year - 1888 - invited by its founders William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell Mathers. Westcott was in both QC2076 and SRIA; Mathers was a member of SRIA and an occasional visitor to QC2076 meetings.


QC2076 was founded in 1886 and Webster went as a guest 8 November 1886 to one of its earliest meetings. Full membership of the lodge was restricted to (I think) 40 at any time; but the lodge’s founders had always intended to have a large number of corresponding members who received its journal, Ars Quatuor Coronati, and were welcome at meetings, but were not eligible to serve as one of its officers. Webster became a corresponding member in 1888. However, he doesn’t seem to have been very interested in the lodge’s investigations, was never a full member, and was no longer even a corresponding member by 1900.


Webster joined SRIA in 1886 and got onto the ladder of promotion towards serving a year as Celebrant (its equivalent to Worshipful Master) almost at once, being Torch Bearer in 1887-87; and 8th Ancient for the year 1887-88. He was made 4th Ancient for the year 1889-90; but sent apologies for non-attendance at the meeting of October 1889. He’s not mentioned in the SRIA’s Transactions after that, so I suppose he must have resigned. William George Lemon was already a member of SRIA in 1885; and Nelson Prower was elected a member in 1887. Both Lemon and Prower continued to be members after Webster dropped out. I may be reading too much into Webster’s lack of enthusiasm; but that and his willingness to serve as an officer in many other freemasonry organisations - with all the commitment of time and money that were required - suggests that he was interested in the practicalities, perhaps even the theatricalities, of freemasonry ritual, not its theory.



Webster Glynes, William George Lemon and Nelson Prower coincide in many freemasonry organisations. William Lemon and Webster were in Percy Lodge 198. They were in Bon Accord Mark masonry lodge and William’s son Frank had joined it too by 1898. They were both involved in cryptic masonry in the 1880s. They were both knights templar in that decade. And William Lemon was already in the SRIA when Webster joined it. Nelson Prower also got involved in cryptic masonry in the 1880s though later than the other two; and he joined the SRIA in 1887. Nelson and Webster were in the Order of the Secret Monitor together, something William Lemon was not a member of. Meeting so often, particularly in the late 1880s, the three men must have been well-acquainted, if not actual friends. William Lemon was a barrister and Webster a solicitor, so they may have been business associates as well as fellow freemasons.


They also were all initiated into the GD during its first few months but did not follow up their initiation. I’m not sure when Nelson Prower left - he just seemed to stop going to meetings and paying his subscription. William Lemon stayed the longest, resigning in 1893.



Webster’s year as SR in the Order of the Secret Monitor seems to have been his last as an officer of any freemasonry lodge or order. It’s likely that he was having to take on more work in the family firm in the early 1890s. No doubt he still attended lodge and order meetings, but he no longer had the time to commit himself to doing more.




Theosophical Society Membership Registers 1889-1901.


Sources freemasonry:

In general: Database of the collections at the Freemasons’ Library, accessible online at

//freemasonry.london.museum, option ‘Explore’. You can also reach Lane’s Masonic Records from there; and online digitised versions of some freemasons’ magazines, to 1900.


PERCY LODGE 234 (renumbered to 198)

The Freemason February 1855 p127.

The Freemason January 1891 p2, also for W G Lemon as a lodge officer.


ST ALBAN’S LODGE 29 though I note the FML catalogue also has references to a St Alban’s Lodge 678.

Lane’s Masonic Records.

In the FML catalogue there are records of St Alban’s 29 going back to 1791.

The Freemason January 1871 p4.



The Grand Stewards’ Lodge 1735-1895. The Grand Stewards and their Lodge by Colin Dyer. Published by the Lodge 1985: passim for a general lodge history; p200, pp204-05; unnumbered pages of members with joining dates, at the end of the book. This is my reference for Webster’s first initiation as a freemason and the lodge he joined. Peter Aitkenhead, assistant librarian at the FML confirms that this lodge has no lodge number.



By-Laws of the Frederick Lodge of Unity 452 printed by Jeffrey of Tufton Street Croydon 1883.

Inside the leaflet, a pull-out page gives a list of members as at 1883. Herbert Coryn was not yet a member; for reasons I won’t go into here, I think he won’t have joined before the mid-1890s and he did not remain a member for long. The lodge had a Royal Arch chapter but Webster was not a member of that in 1883.



The Freemason May 1883 P5.



The Freemason May 1885 p3.

The Freemason May 1886 p7; W G Lemon and Webster at the consecration of Huguenot Lodge.



Masonic Calendar for 1888, its 3rd year of issue; and for 1898, showing its huge expansion in the intervening decade. 1898 issue p53 for Webster as current WM of Bon Accord Lodge and W G Lemon as its IPM.

By-laws of the Regulation of the London “Bon Accord” Mark Masons Lodge; this lodge also had no number when the edition I looked at was published. First edition 1856. This edition London: 1898; p18 issued September 1898: pp3-10 for its history; p11 begins its by-laws; unnumbered pages at the end for all members so far; and members as at September 1898 - Webster no longer being among them.

The Freemason November 1884 p8.

The Freemason July 1886 p2.

The Freemason October 1887 p14.

The Freemason December 1896 p5 report on a meeting of Mark Masonry’s Grand Lodge. Webster Glynes was one of many who were presented with a jewel.



ROYAL AND SELECT MASTERS also known as the Cryptic Rite, a reference to the basic layout of one of its rituals.

Annual Report of Proceedings of the Grand Council of RSM of Engl and Wales etc.

Issue of 1887 printed 1888 George Kenning. Just noting that at this stage 15 RSM councils were supposedly in existence; but five of those were dormant.

Issue of 1891: p3, p18 in the list of Grand Conductors of the Council, and pp20-22 its list of current members. Webster’s freemason friend W G Lemon was a member of RSM and may have been responsible for Webster joining it.

Next one I read was: Issue of 1896: p3; p21.

Issue of 1899, the last one in the volume in the Freemasons’ Library collection: p22, confirming Webster was still a member, though not attached to any Council.

The Freemason May 1882 p8.

The Freemason October 1889 p14.



Rules and Regulns for the Govt of the Degrees from the 4º to 32º Inclusive under the Supreme Council 33º of the Ancient and Accepted Rite etc etc; plus a List of Members. Earliest one is 1864.

Issue of 1880 p56.

Issue of 1885 p131.

Issue of 1888 p52, p57

Issue of 1900 p63, p225, p281.


The Freemason May 1883 p12 rpt on the quarterly mtg of the AandAR’s Supreme Council. AandAR’s hq is at 33 Golden Square. Mtg on 8 May [1883]. Webster Glynes was in a group of members adv’d during the mtg to level 30º.

The Freemason Feb 1889 p12 AandAR: a mtg of its Invicta Chapter number 10, at [33] Golden Sq 15 Feb [1889]. Webster Glynes, as “1st General” was the 2nd person on the named list.


KNIGHTS TEMPLAR - Order of the Temple

Calendar of the Great Priory published yearly for the members of the Order. I looked through the volumes for 1872 to 1900. In 1896 the title was changed to Liber Ordinis Templi. The 1897 and 1898 issues had lists of current Order members.

1883 p10 in the list of current preceptories: Harcourt 74 Kent/Surrey meets Greyhound Inn Richmond. Warrant (not especially early) 1863. Current preceptor, Ralph Gooding MD.

1886 p30-32.

1889 pp36-37 changes to requirements for candidates passed by the National Great Priory of England and Wales; against some opposition. Nothing was mentioned about the modern requirement for a belief in Christianity.

Statutes 1890 with changes to the entrance requirements.

Ordo Templi Alphabetical List of Great Officers 1846-1915. Glynes does not appear in this book.

The Freemason November 1883 p12.

The Freemason May 1889 p9.



Freemasons’ Chronicle July 1884 p10 which doesn’t mention Webster as a possible joining member.

The Freemason July 1884 p9.



The Freemason February 1886 p13.

The Freemason July 1891 p11.

At www.brad.ac.uk/webofhiram are some pages on the Royal Order of Scotland including what looks like a full description of its Degree of Heredom ceremony.

For the meaning of ‘tirshata’, arrived at August 2016 by Peter Aitkenhead at the Freemasons’ Library, consulting:

History of the Royal Order of Scotland by E Fox-Thomas. London: A Brown and Sons: p10. Royal Order of Scotland: the Second Hundred Years by George Draffen 1917 p111.

Though neither book actually explained the term in so many words!



The Freemason April 1889 p11.

The Freemason November 1891 p10.

The Freemason May 1892 p12 with change of name of the Conclave from Alfred Meadows number 1 to Premier number 1.



Ars Quatuor Coronatorum number 2076 published by the Lodge.

Volume I 1886-88 p25; and [p12] of the unnumbered pages at the end of the volume listing the full members, and the corresponding members, both in order of seniority.

Volume XIII 1900; unnumbered pages at end of this volume.



Transactions of the Metropolitan College

The earliest issue in the FML’s collection is that of 1885, prepared by William Wynn Westcott, future founder of the GD; as the SRIA’s Secretary. The other main GD founder, Samuel Liddell Mathers, is a member and so is William George Lemon; but Webster Glynes is not.

Webster first appears in the Transactions of the Metropolitan College issue of 1886 p3 in the list of officers for the year 1886-87, as Torch Bearer, near the bottom of the list. The College had moved its meetings to the Masonic Hall Great Queen Street.

Transactions of the Metropolitan College issue of 1887 p3 notes Nelson Prower as a new member. On p5 in the list of officiers for 1887-88, Webster has moved up one rung on the ladder, to 8th Ancient.

Transactions of the Metropolitan College issue covering 1889 and 1890 p3 in the list of officers for 1889-90, Webster is now 4th Ancient. However, on p8 his apologies for absence from the meeting of October 1889 were read out. I couldn’t find a reference to resignation letter but I couldn’t find any references to him after that meeting that he was obliged to miss. W G Lemon and Nelson Prower continued as members of SRIA after this.

For a general history of SRIA:

History of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia by the MW Supreme Magus Dr William Wynn Westcott. Privately printed London 1900.




The surname ‘Glynes’ is very rare. For most of the 19th century the only people called Glynes who appeared on the UK census were Webster’s close family, in London.


Webster Glynes was born in November 1835 in Shoreditch, the eldest child of Randall Glynes and his first wife Elizabeth Sarah, née Richards. He was named for his grandfather Charles Webster Glynes who had died a few days before. By census day 1841, Randall and Elizabeth had had three more children: John, Emily and Alice. They were living in the suburb of St John Hackney, where they employed two servants, one of whom was called Mary Mott and might be a distant relation of mine.


At some point between 1841 and early 1844, Randall and Elizabeth Glynes moved back into the City, to 8 The Crescent, America Square. One of their neighbours there was Nathan Meyer Rothschild; and the Glynes family law business may have been in rooms on the ground floor. Webster’s mother Elizabeth died there in February 1844, aged 36. Randall Glynes married again after only a few months of being a widower. His second wife was Amelia Bode, whose family lived in Brighton. Randall and Amelia moved further out of London, to a house called The Rookery, at Great Ilford, Barking. On census day 1851 they were living there with a nurse and two other servants. Elizabeth Glynes’ children Emily, Alice and Jessie were all at home; with Amelia’s children Brock, Edward, Margaret and Charles. Webster Glynes (now aged 15) and his brother John were at the school run by Rev Arthur Jackson and his wife Matilda, at 36 Canonbury Square in Islington.


On census day 1861, Randall and Amelia were staying in Shoreham, near where their sons Brock, Charles and Arthur were all at school. They had changed their London address again and were living in a house on Stratford Green. Webster, Emily, Alice, Jessie and their half-sister Adeline were all at the house in Stratford on census day, with two visitors, Francis Maud and his sister Lydia; and two female servants. After leaving school, Webster had become an articled clerk in his father’s solicitor’s practice. He was now 25 and must have been almost qualified. His half-brother Brock Glynes joined the practice in his turn. Brock was working for his father’s firm in 1871 but I’m not sure for how long afterwards as I can find no information on him after that year.


Webster’s sister Emily married another London solicitor, William Bruty, in 1867. On census day 1871 Webster and his sisters Elizabeth and Jessie were living with William Bruty at 37 Dorset Square Marylebone. Emily was away, but her two children - Edith and William - were at home. This was a well-to-do household - in addition to two women, the Brutys also employed one male servant and male servants were expensive. Webster, aged 35 was fully qualified as a solicitor by now and was an important part of the family law practice.


It’s a pity I can’t find Webster on the census in 1881 or 1891. In fact, there are fewer men called Glynes on the 1881 census thanon the previous two or three, and they had few enough. The family was beginning to spread out and go abroad. Two sons of Webster’s next brother, John, went abroad, William Randall Glynes to New Zealand and John Sydney to South Africa. Webster’s youngest brother Arthur went to South America though he returned late in life.


Randall Glynes was widowed for a second time in 1883, when Webster’s step-mother Amelia died.



Sources: censuses 1841-81. Freebmd.

See wikipedia for America Square.


At nationalarchives.gov.uk, a reference to item ACC/0159/039 held at the London Metropolitan Archive: part only of the Will of Charles Glynes of Burr Street St Botolph. The Will is dated February 1801, probate on it was granted 23 January 1804. Charles Glynes was Webster Glynes’ great-grandfather. One of the executors is a Susanna Glynes, presumably Charles Glynes’ widow.


Familysearch England-ODM GS film numbers 370932, 380133: Randall Glynes was born 4 January 1812 and baptised on 6 February 1812 at St Botolph Without Aldgate. His parents were Charles Webster Glynes and wife Ann.


Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 413282: marriage of Randall Glynes to Elizabeth Sarah Richards 27 November 1833 at West Hackney. Both parties were aged 21 (rather a low age at marriage, for the 19th century middle-classes).


At nationalarchives.gov.uk item number PROB 11/1869/69 is the Will of Charles Webster Glynes, “gentleman”, of America Square; held at the Public Record Office Kew. Will dated 30 November 1836.


Familysearch England-ODM GS film numbers 396238-240: Webster Glynes was born on 22 November 1835 and baptised in 1836 at St Leonard’s Shoreditch. His parents were Randall Glynes and wife Elizabeth Sarah. On the baptism record, Randall Glynes was described as a “Gentleman”, giving me at least the initial impression that he was a man of independent means, who didn’t work. However, evidence from elsewhere indicates that Randall was a solicitor in the family business.


Gentleman’s Magazine 1844 p439 set of death notices for April [1844] included one for Elizabeth Sarah, wife of Randall Glynes Esq.


Familysearch England-ODM GS film number 1067117: Randall Glynes and Amelia Bode were married on 30 November 1844 at St Nicholas Brighton.

Birth of the first of Randall and Amelia’s children: Familysearch England-ODM GS film numbers 380134 and 380135: Randall Brock Glynes born 23 December 1845.


Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 1472365 is a burial record Emily Bruty: 24 May 1873 in Essex.




The income of Webster’s family in the 19th century was based on their work in the City of London; and had two main sources. The first was the family firm of solicitors, usually called Glynes and Son; which Randall Glynes and in due course Webster and Brock Glynes joined as articled clerks on leaving school. Webster Glynes qualified to practice as a solicitor in 1862.


From the 1830s if not earlier, to at least 1869 if not later, the firm’s offices were in America Square; either very near to or actually on the ground floor of the house the family lived in. By 1862 it also had premises in Stratford East - again near or in a house lived in by the Glynes - though I’m not sure how long these out-of-town offices were kept up. By 1870 Glynes and Son had got too big to fit into the America Square address and had moved to 128 Leadenhall Street. By 1871, Webster’s younger half-brother Brock was an articled clerk at the firm; he later went to South Africa and died in the Orange Free State in 1874. For a few years in the 1870s Randall and Webster took another partner, and the firm was known as Glynes, Son and Church; it moved offices again, to 29 Mark Lane. Alfred Church left to set up in business for himself, in 1881, but Glynes and Son continued at the Mark Lane address until 1897. Mark Lane was near the Tower of London in a district inhabited by many small firms. Several GD members’ businesses were run from offices in and around it in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including those of Francis Wright and Sydney Turner Klein, who were both dealers in flour imports; and George Cecil Jones, who worked as an analytical chemist.


Randall Glynes was the mainstay of Glynes and Son from the 1830s. He died in March 1896, aged 84 and had probably not been very active in the firm for the last few years. Webster - 61 when his father died - decided to close the firm down. Its last appearance in the Law Lists was in 1897. Webster continued to practice law on his own account; but in 1900 he cut his ties with the City even more by moving his offices to 105 Grosvenor Road Belgravia, where he was now living.



The Law Lists, which begin in the 1850s:

Law List 1855 p155 with Randall Glynes only.

Law List 1868 p267 as Glynes and Son, and both Randall and Webster Glynes listed, at 4 The Crescent America Square, and at Stratford East.

The death of Brock Glynes: death notice in London Evening Standard 15 May 1875. Details sent to me June 2017 by a descendant of John Sydney Glynes.

Law List 1897 p423 the first year in which Randall Glynes wasn’t listed. Webster Glynes, apparently in practice on his own, is at 29 Mark Lane and at Vestry Offices, New Square Minories.

Law List 1898 p430 Webster Glynes with only the New Square Minories address.

Webster’s last appearance in a Law List is in the issue of 1915 p538 as clerk to Ward of Portsoken.

Information from other sources:

The Legal Observer 1837 p246 and p253 announcing Randall Glynes’ qualification as a solicitor, after articles done at his father’s solicitors’ practice in America Square. Up until this point, the family firm was called C W Glynes.

The Weekly Notes volume 4 1869 p238 with the firm called Glynes and Son; still at The Crescent, America Sq.

Transactions of the Philological Society 1870 p4.

LG 27 September 1872 p4504 creditors’ notice in the case of Robert Bolton Wilde Peel deceased. Issued by Glynes and son of 128 Leadenhall Street.

The Law Reports; Chancery Appeal Cases 1874. An indication of the kind of litigation work Glynes and Son did.

London Gazette 6 August 1875 p3988 in case of Otway v Currie. Randall Glynes is acting for Currie against Otway’s executors. Glynes Son and Church are now at 29 Mark Lane.

The Solicitors’ Journal and Reporter volume 25 1881 p682 announced the departure of Alfred Frederick Church and the reversion of the Glynes’ firm’s name to Glynes and Son.

Times 3 August 1883 p14 legal notices: Webster Glynes doing some Probate work.

Times May 1867 and October and November 1888 publish a series of legal notices showing Glynes and Co acting in various sales of property by auction.


PO London Directory 1900 law directory, solicitors p2598 has Webster Glynes at Vestry Hall, New Square, Minories EC. However, the Times 6 September 1900 p14 has Webster Glynes acting in a Probate case from offices at 105 Grosvenor Road South Belgravia.


The only reference I have to Brock Glynes working as an articled clerk is the 1871 census and that doesn’t give where he was working. It’s my assumption - possibly wrong - that Brock had joined Glynes and Son.


Probate Registry 1896 for the death of Randall Glynes.

London Gazette 21 August 1896 p4773 creditors’ notice in the case of Randall Glynes, deceased. Issued 19 August 1896 Duffield Bruty of 40 New Broad St, solicitors for the executors. The ‘Bruty’ of the solicitors’ firm will have been Webster’s brother-in-law, William Bruty, I presume.




For over a hundred years, members of the Glynes family worked as clerks to the vestry of St Botolph without Aldgate and its successor, the City ward of Portsoken. That is, they handled the legal and legal-financial work of the 19th-century equivalent of a modern urban borough. The history of the parish and vestry of St Botolph without Aldgate is particularly complex, as part of the medieval ecclesiastical parish was in the City of London while the rest was outside it, as the name suggests, in the county of Middlesex. In addition, the 19th century saw the relentless expansion of urban London; law after law increasing the responsibilities of vestries; and - at the end of the century when the old local government system was bursting at the seams - a series of reorganisations of the old vestry system. It fell to the Glynes family to guide generations of elected vestry representatives through all of these, and they must have done a their task well, otherwise they wouldn’t have kept the job through four (possibly more) generations.


The first Glynes that I know about to be the vestry clerk at St Botolph without Aldgate was Webster’s great-grandfather Charles Glynes, who died in December 1803. Charles was succeeded in the post by his son Charles Webster Glynes, who died in November 1836. Webster’s father Randall then took on the task and may have kept the job title until his death though by 1890, if not earlier, Webster was taking his share of the ever-increasing work. In 1896 when Randall Glynes died, Webster took over the top job as vestry clerk. I think he held the post at least until 1915; though at that point he may have retired and it looks as though the long connection of what was now Portsoken Ward with the Glynes family ceased.




Via archive.org to The Churchyard Inscriptions of the City of London transcribed by Percy C Rushen. London: Phillimore and Co 1910: p31, p35 in the section on burials in the churchyard of St Botolph without Aldgate.


Times 3 July 1890 p3: “the Matter of the Churchwardens of St Botolph Aldgate”, in the High Court. The dispute that had begun in April amongst the church wardens in St Botolph without Aldgate, which caused uproar at a meeting of the elected vestry members. Randall Glynes as the vestry Clerk was trying the read the Minutes of the last meeting when a noisy row broke out over who had a right to chair the current one. Webster Glynes is mentioned in the report as helping his father with the work of the vestry. The argument resulted in a legal case, over whether the decisions made at the meeting were legally valid.

Times 25 March 1904 p2 Webster Glynes acting for the ward of St Botolph without Aldgate in a case at the Guildhall, appearing for the overseers in a case of alleged non-payment of rates - a case typical of the work the Glynes family was doing for the vestry.

Times 26 September 1907 p5. The dispute that had broken out in 1890 had finally been resolved! Webster Glynes was still Vestry Clerk at St Botolph without Aldgate.



ANY PUBLIC LIFE/EVIDENCE FOR LEISURE TIME? Bearing in mind, of course, that most leisure activities leave no trace behind them.


Webster’s initiation as a freemason came at the same time as he was getting involved in other activities that would take up leisure hours he’d formerly had to use for his legal studies.


In November 1858, he became a member of the Philological Society. The Society had been founded in 1842/43 and still exists for the study of comparative philology and linguistics. The majority of its members in the 1860s were clergymen and academics, with some representatives of the upper-classes. To my eye, virtually none of them looked as though they were employed in the City of London, so it was quite a filip for Webster to be elected a member. Perhaps he had shown more than passing interest in the Society’s great 19th-century project, the New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, which had been set in motion in 1857 with a stirring speech from Rev Richard Chenevix Trench. Webster was still a member in 1872, the last year I could find the Society’s Transactions online.


More normally for men working in the City of London in the late 1860s and 1870s, both Webster and his brother Brock Glynes were in the Essex Regiment, a voluntary militia with battalions in Ilford and Barking. In 1869 Brock had obviously just joined, as an Ensign; and Webster was a Lieutenant.


I haven’t been able to discover when Webster was elected a member of the New City Club; but it won’t have been before he was made a partner in Glynes and Son, because only partners and directors of City firms were even considered for membership. The Club had been founded in 1832 and was organised like a typical gentleman’s club; though the Times, reporting in 1875, said that it was far better run than most! It is still at its original address, 19 Old Broad Street. By the mid-1870s Webster was one of its directors. In November of 1875 he led the delegation that called on Club member Alderman William Cotton, to congratulate him on his election as Lord Mayor of London.


There’s no listing for Webster Glynes in the British Library catalogue but in 1893 he did publish one work - a poem, nineteen pages long, called The Maiden: A Golfing Epic. Perhaps meant to be circulated amongst the golfers Webster knew, The Maiden was dedicated to Dr William Laidlaw Purves, who in 1887 founded the St George’s Golf Club at Sandwich in Kent, and laid out its course over the sand dunes. I haven’t been able to find a list of the Club’s early members, but I presume that Webster must have been one of them. The Club’s Challenge Trophy was first played for in 1888; I wonder if Webster ever won it?


Given royal approval by Edward VII in 1902, and now one of the select group of golf courses that take it in turns to host the Open, St George’s Golf Club was a prestigious club to belong to. However, to my mind by far the most prestigious organisation Webster was a member of was the Drapers’ Company - the Worshipful Company of the Drapers of London, already in existence (at least informally) by 1180 and granted its royal charter in 1364. Over 100 lord mayors of London have been members of it. Webster’s association with it began as early as 1850 when he became one of its apprentices. He and his father Randall were both granted the Freedom of the Company in 1857. Webster’s association with it continued for over 50 years, reaching its climax in July 1915 when - after working his way up through the various levels of Wardens - he began his year as its Master, in difficult circumstances, of course, as it was wartime.




The Essex Almanac 1870 p53 news of the Essex Regiment of voluntary militia. This is the latest information I could find on Brock Glynes.



It still exists: www.philsoc.org. Fiona Marshall’s article: History of the Philological Society: the Early Years can be read by following the links: pp1-3.

Transactions of the Philological Society 1858 p201 notes on the meeting of Thursday 4 November 1858. The meeting was chaired by the Society’s Treasurer Hensleigh Wedgewood - Charles Darwin’s brother-in-law. At the meeting it was announced that Trübner and Co would be publishing the New English Dictionary.

Transactions of the Philological Society 1864 business section pp2-6 to assess the current membership. At least at this stage, Webster was the only future GD initiate who was a member of the Society. His address is 8 The Crescent America Square.

Transactions of the Philological Society 1870-72 business section p4 member Webster Glynes now of 128 Leadenhall Street.



See a wiki at wikipedia for a short history of the Club.

Times 20 November 1875 p7.

Wikipedia for the list of lord mayors of London: William Cotton 1822-1902 who owned wharves near Tower Bridge and mines in Norway and had his finger in many, many pies. He was a member of four London livery companies, though not the Drapers’.



In June 2017 I found quite a few references to Webster’s poem on the web; but no full texts of it. And as it isn’t in the British Library, I haven’t actually been able to read a copy.

Publication details from www.christies.com, - a copy was available in 2012 at Christie’s in London, as part of a sale called Origins of Golf: the Jaime Ortíz Collection. The Maiden: A Golfing Epic by Webster Glynes, privately printed 1893. There’s no indication of how many copies were printed. 19pp octavo. Dedicated to W Laidlaw Purves as founder of the St George’s Golf Club. This particular copy was sold for £8125.

Country Life volume 23 1908 p70 had a reference to it though I think the full poem was not printed.

It’s listed in The Library of Golf 1743-1966 compiler Joseph S F Murdoch. Gale Research Co 1968 p93.

See its wikipedia page for more on Royal St George’s Golf Club; also the Club’s own web pages at www.royalstgeorges.com, and it’s also mentioned on many golfing websites.

At jmb.sagepub.com, there’s a biography of William Laidlaw Purves originally published in the Journal of Medical Biography volume 5 number 4 1997; by Neil Weir. 1842-1917. Surgeon, lecturer; eye and ear specialist. Born and trained in Edinburgh. Appointed surgeon and lecturer at Guy’s Hospital 1874.

I checked the United Grand Lodge of England membership register, now at Ancestry, to see if Dr Laidlaw Purves was a freemason in England. There was no entry for him in the register, so he was just a golfing friend.



See www.thedrapers.co.uk, the Worshipful Company of Drapers for its history and current (July 2016) wardens which include a woman, Lady Victoria Leatham. Via its website to www.londonroll.org where you can check the names of apprentices and freemen of all the major livery companies.

Wikipedia on the history of the Company, which has owned its current premises in Throgmorton Street since buying them from the Crown in 1543.

Times 5 August 1913 p3.

City of London Year Book and Civic Directory 1914 p161.

Times 30 May 1916 p3 with Webster nearing the end of his year as Master. The Company had held a lunch for some French academics on a visit to England. As their chief host, Webster had proposed a toast to the entente cordiale; Monsieur Joubin replied for the visitors.

The History of the Worshipful Company of the Drapers of London volume 2 1915 p5 with Webster as master-to-be.




When I was looking through issues of The Freemason magazine from the 1890s, for mentions of Webster, I noticed that there were none after 1896. The initial reason for that absence was the death of Webster’s father with the mourning rituals and business that it entailed. However, in 1898, Webster made another big break with the past: at the age of 62 or 63, he got married. His wife was an American widow aged 51, a Mrs Ella Maria Dietz Clymer; better known - usually known - as Ella Dietz.



There’s much more about Ella Dietz on the web than there is about Webster Glynes.


Ella Maria Dietz was born in New York City in 1847, the daughter of William Henry Dietz and his wife Frances. In 1864 she married into another distinguished family, the Clymers of Berkshire County Pennsylvania. Her husband was Edward Myers Clymer III, general manager of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company and a director of several coal companies. They had one child, Edward Manuel Clymer (born 1869) but the marriage was not a success. An obituary of her husband in the newspaper of the town where he had begun his working life doesn’t mention Ella at all. For several years in the late 1870s Ella tried to make a career for herself as an actress - something I think she would not have done if still living with her husband. And when her husband died in May 1883 - in New York, unexpectedly, of erysipelas - she was in Europe.


A reference in a book on Henry James’ novel The Portrait of a Lady suggests that in 1869 Ella thought about getting a divorce. Though as far as I can tell, she never took that idea any further, her unhappiness in the marriage did inform what she got involved in. She became very active in women’s voluntary and campaigning clubs, particularly the New York-based Sorosis Society. She taught elocution and drama skills - useful for women intending to speak in public, as well as would-be actors. As women’s clubs in different American cities got together to form the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Ella was a willing committee-woman and also coined the GFWC’s motto - unity in diversity - using it in a speech in March 1889. She became particularly well-known for her work for women’s rights, in which she was known for her use of “sweet persuasiveness” rather than the more brusque tactics of some activists.


Poems by ‘Ella Dietz’ were first published in American magazines in the early 1870s. In 1876 she published one musical score - a song to words by H Constable. In 1877, she published the first of the three long works for which she is best known: The Triumph of Love. The Triumph of Time, and The Triumph of Life followed, in 1884 and 1885. One reviewer of the second volume described it as containing “exquisite songs”. However, a reviewer of the last volume thought that Ella’s inspiration had begun to run out, and that she was trying too hard to be mystical. The reviews were both in the British journal Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult and Mystical Research.


There are regular references to Ella Dietz in England, in the magazine The Spiritualist as far back as 1879, so Webster could have at least known her name for many years. She and her brother Frank Dietz were giving public recitations of extracts from Shakespeare and poets such as Longfellow. They were living in London at the time with their mother, who had married – as her second husband – Dr Robert T Hallock. Dr Hallock had been elected president of the first spiritualist society to be founded in New York.




At www.findagrave.com a reproduction of an obituary of Ella’s husband; the name of the newspaper and the date of the article aren’t given but the typeface and local knowledge in it suggest it the Reading Eagle. Clymer had begun his working life as a lawyer in Reading.

Ancestry’s New York Incoming Passenger Lists 1820-1957: an Ella M Clymer arrived in New York from Liverpool on the Gallia on 18 June 1883.


A photograph of Ella as a young woman came up on google when I keyed ‘ella dietz’. And another was at www.oldphotobank.com - as a member of Sorosis Society; taken c 1880 when Ella was President of General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Photography by Sarony of 680 Broadway.

National Cyclopedia of American Biography volume 13 1906 p68.

At www.findagrave.com a reproduction of a profile of Ella published in the Reading Eagle of 24 November 1895. Just noting here that findagrave doesn’t give details of where Ella is buried.

Familysearch: New York residents Ward 18 in 1850. I think the family is Ella’s but the naming of her as ‘ellEN’ is a bit worrying.

Familysearch had no details of Ella’s marriage or her son’s birth registration. However, US Passport Applications 1795-1925 GS film number 001711012 lists an application from Edward Manuel Clymber dated 1922 on which his DOB is given as 6 May 1869, in New York City.

New Essays on The Portrait of a Lady by Joel Porte. Cambridge University Press 1990: p65. Ella is described as a friend of Henry James’ cousin Minnie - Mary Temple, the daughter of Henry James’ aunt Catherine.


Ella in England in 1887:

The Spiritualist and Journal of Psychological Science volume 14 Jan-June 1879. On pi small ads issue of Fri 10 January 1879 advert from Ella and Frank Dietz of 54 Denbigh Street SW: list of venues for a forthcoming tour of the North and Midlands; plus a series of recitations at Langham Hall. Ella’s step-father, Dr Hallock, died in the US in February 1879: p103 issue of 28 February 1879 had a brief profile and a short report on his funeral originally published in Mind and Matter issue of 25 January 1879; Mind and Matter was published in Philadelphia.

Ella in Light:

Light: A Journal Devoted to the Highest Interests of Humanity, both Here and Hereafter. London: Eclectic Publishing Co Ltd of 4 New Bridge Street Ludgate Circus. Volume 1 January-December 1881: reference to Ella Dietz in the index; as having gone back to the USA. However, the entry had lost its page number.

Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult and Mystical Research. Published London: Eclectic Publishing Co Ltd 1885: p173 issue of 11 April 1885; and p238 issue of 16 May 1885.

Modern reference works:

Mid Victorian Poetry: An Annotated Biobibliography by Catherine W Reilly, covering 1860-79 Mansell Publishing Co Ltd 2000: p132 listing only the first of the three volumes: The Triumph of Love: A Mystical Poem in Songs, Sonnets and Verse. London: E W Allen 1877. 176pp.

Late Victorian Poetry: An Annotated Biobibliography by Catherine W Reilly, covering 1880-99. Mansell Publishing Co Ltd 1994: p137 with her year of birth as 1856 which doesn’t agree with any other source.

Works in the British Library catalogue; all under ‘Ella Dietz’ there’s nothing under Clymer.

1876 Diaphenia Song. Music apparently by Ella; words by H Constable. London.

1877 The Triumph of Love: A Mystical Poem in Songs, Sonnets and Verse. 175pp. London: E W Allen.

1880 A Few Words on the Work of the Actor, and the Duties of Art Critics and Audiences. Originally a talk given by Ella at the Church and Stage Guild 6 April 1880. London: Women’s Printing Society 1880. 22p

1884 The Triumph of Time. Mystical Poem. 227pp. London: E W Allen.

1885 The Triumph of Life: Mystical Poem. 345pp London: E W Allen.


At www.bartleby.com you can read some poems by Ella; those published in anthologies:

- O Touch Me not, Unless thy Soul... from The Triumph of Love

- Emanation

- The King’s Daughter.

The last two were both in the Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse editors Nicholson and Lee 1917.

Ella as a clubwoman in the USA:


Some information on her at www.gfwcgrundywomansclub.com subtitled ‘Living the Voluntary Spirit’. GFWC: General Federation of Women’s Clubs whose motto is ‘unity in diversity’, coined by Ella Dietz in a speech at a banquet given on 20 March 1889 at the Sorosis Society (of New York). The Sorosis Society was one of the GFWC’s founding women’s clubs.

The Magazine of Poetry and Literary Review volume 3 1891 p432-33 is a profile of Ella, currently 5th president of the Sorosis Club.

Reading Eagle 24 November 1895 a profile of Ellas following the announcement of her election as the vice-President of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs.



I haven’t found any evidence as to when and where Webster Glynes and Ella Dietz might have met. They might have met in the USA, though I think London is more likely; and they could have known each other for many years before they married.


Ella visited Europe several times, though neither she nor her son are on any UK census before 1901. She was definitely in England in April 1880 - she gave a talk at the Church and Stage Guild. And British Incoming Passenger Lists show her arriving in Liverpool from Montreal in June 1897; probably her last arrival before her marriage to Webster in the autumn of the following year. Webster caught the habit of crossing the Atlantic from Ella: an incoming passenger list from October 1899 has him returning - apparently on his own - from Boston to England; perhaps he now had business clients there. Another from October 1901 has both Webster and Ella reaching Liverpool from Boston; perhaps having combined business with visiting Ella’s friends and relations. The trips to and from the US continued until the first World War: in June 1913, it was Ella on her own who was arriving in London from New York.


It so happens that Webster was out of the UK on the census days of 1881 and 1891 - visiting the USA perhaps - so I don’t know where he was living in the 1880s. Electoral Registers at Familysearch show him living in the Finsbury/Holborn district, on the north/west fringes of the City, in the 1890s. However, by census day 1901, he and Ella had moved quite a long way west of the City, to an area where almost certainly she had more acquaintances than he. They were living in Pimlico, at 105 Grosvenor Road, on the northern embankment of the Thames; where they were employing a cook, and a parlourmaid. In 1906 they moved from there to a block of flats round the back of Barker’s department store on Kensington High Street - 9 Hamston House, Kensington Court Place. On census day 1911 they were managing without any servants. This cut-back on the expense of a large house and the servants to clean it might indicate that Webster was more or less retired from work by now; it might also indicate they were husbanding their resources against the costs of Webster’s progress in the Drapers’ Company towards his year as Master; and it might indicate that a flat - possibly with a lift - was easier on a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s. By this time, Ella’s son Edward was also based in England. He was working as an insurance agent, and he and his wife Edith were living in Shepperton with their daughter Florence; they had a son as well but he wasn’t with them on census day, probably at school in the US.


Marrying Ella took Webster Glynes into social circles he may have had little contact with before. With all her ‘women’s club’ experience and contacts, it was not long after their marriage before Ella had become an active member of the Society of American Women in London. She served as its president in its social year 1906-07, which happened to be a particularly lively one. Ella presided over the SAWL’s normal lunches at the Hotel Cecil and the Prince’s Restaurant; and a “toy tea” at the Criterion Restaurant amongst other events. She also was the most senior host when the SAWL held a lunch for Elisabeth Reid and Mrs Longworth at the Hotel Cecil. Elisabeth Reid, daughter of the financier Darius Ogden Mills, was the wife of the recently-appointed US ambassador to Britain, the newspaper owner Whitelaw Reid. The Duke of Marlborough - husband of the American Consuelo Vanderbilt - was amongst the speakers at the lunch. Millicent Fawcett the suffragist was amongst the guests; together with the anti-suffragist ex-viceroy of India Lord Curzon, husband of Mary Leiter, another American heiress. Later on in Ella’s year there was an International Red Cross conference; the SAWL held a lunch for some of the delegates.


Ella may have known have known the new ambassador’s wife from New York days: a native New Yorker, Darius Ogden Mills returned there after making his fortune in California. Mr and Mrs Whitelaw Reid arrived in London to take up their appointment in 1905; Whitelaw Reid died in post in December 1912. During their tenure, funded by Elisabeth Mills Reid’s family money, they entertained on an epic scale. Their 4th July garden parties were legendary, with as many as 5000 people invited. Although the Glynes were not of sufficient social standing to get asked to formal dinners at Dorchester House, where the Whitelaw Reids had set up home, they might have been invited to more informal dinners if Elisabeth and Ella had been friendly enough. Webster and Ella were often amongst the hundreds of guests at the Reids’ receptions.


As a published poet, Ella also became a member of the Author’s Club. In March 1909 she and Webster were at a dinner held by the Club at the Hotel Metropole to commemorate the life of Edgar Allen Poe. The other guests that evening included Arthur Conan Doyle; Mrs Humphrey Ward and her husband; and Dr John Todhunter, playwright and former member of the GD.


And as if all this socialising weren’t enough to be going on with, in 1911, Webster began the four-year climb up the hierarchy of the Drapers’ Company towards his year as Master; with all the engagements at Drapers’ Hall, that that entailed.




Light: A Journal Devoted to the Highest Interests of Humanity, both Here and Hereafter. London: Eclectic Publishing Co Ltd of 4 New Bridge Street Ludgate Circus. Volume 1 January-December 1881 reference in index.


Ancestry’s Incoming Passenger Lists: arrivals in Liverpool from Montreal 3 June 1897. I couldn’t see any reference to Ella’s son; so I suppose she was on her own.

Ancestry’s Incoming Passenger Lists: arrivals from Boston 19 October 1899.

Ancestry’s Incoming Passenger Lists: arrivals in Liverpool from Boston 20 October 1901.

Ancestry’s Incoming Passenger Lists: arrivals in London from New York 17 June 1913.


At Familysearch, some electoral register information on Webster, indicating where he was eligible to vote. He’s sometimes in two lists in the same years, because he would have been a voter in the City of London while he had offices there.

City of London: 1891 to 1912 with a gap between 1899 and 1907.

London Borough of Finsbury/Holborn: 1890 to 1899.

London Borough of St George Hanover Square: 1901 to 1903.

London Borough of Kensington: 1906 to 1912.


Webster and Ella on the social circuit:

Times 4 March 1902 report on the 3rd annual luncheon of the Society of American Women in London; at the Prince’s Restaurant Piccadilly.

Times 8 May 1906 p10 Court Circular. During Ella’s year as president.

Times 30 June 1906 p11 SAWL’s lunch for Elisabeth Reid.

Times 11 June 1907 p9 SAWL’s lunch for delegates to the International Red Cross Conference.

Times 14 December 1907 p10 Court Circular. SAWL’s “toy tea” at the Criterion Restaurant; with Ella still as its president. The Times noted that SAWL had been founded in 1899; perhaps Ella was one of the founders. It now had 150 members.

Times 8 July 1908 p15 Court Circular: Mr and Mrs Webster Glynes amongst the 2000 guests at a

typically large-scale reception by Whitelaw and Elisabeth Reid; for the American bishops who had been attending the Lambeth Conference.

Times 2 March 1909 p10 “Mr Webster Glynes and Mrs Glynes (‘Ella Dietz’)” at the Authors’ Club dinner.

City of London Year Book and Civic Directory 1914 p161.



See wikipedia for Whitelaw Reid, owner of the New York Tribune. And for the father of his wife, Darius Ogden Mills, California-based banker and financier and one of America’s wealthiest men. Whitelaw Reid married Darius’ daughter Elisabeth in 1881; in New York City with a reception some time later at the Mills family’s estate outside San Francisco. The Whitelaw Reids had served as ambassadors to France 1889-92. Whitelaw Reid was appointed to the UK by President Theodore Roosevelt; he presented his credentials to Edward VII in June 1905. Whitelaw Reid died in London in December 1912.

See also //burlingamefoundingfamilies.wordpress.com for Elisabeth Mills Reid “Legendary for her parties as well as her philanthropy”.



Dictionary of British Women’s Organisations by Peter Gordon and David Doughan. London: Woburn Press 2001 p133 which gives the year of SAWL’s founding as 1896. It was affiliated to the GFWC in America. Its premises were at 5a Pall Mall East.


Two biographies of Lou Henry Hoover mention it, as she was a member. Lou Henry Hoover was the wife of mining engineer and entrepreneur Herbert Hoover, president of US 1929-33. See wikipedia for information on both of them.

An Independent Woman: The Life of Lou Henry Hoover by Anne Beiser Allen. Westport Connecticut and London: Greenwood 2000 p53. Lou joined SAWL in 1908 so she would have known Ella.

Lou Henry Hoover: A Prototype of First Ladies by Dale C Mayer. Hauppauge New York: Nova Science Publications 2011 p171 which reads as if Lou was President of SAWL in 1915.



At the end of his year as Master of the Drapers’ Company, Webster was 80 and probably looking forward to a quieter time. He finally gave up all his legal work in 1915. He died, at home in Hamston House in the autumn of 1919. Although that much younger, Ella survived him by only a few months, dying in January 1920.


Sources: freebmd; probate registry records for Ella Glynes; there’s no entry for Webster.


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. 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 Howe’s 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; 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.





18 December 2018



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: