GOLDEN DAWN: Devey Fearon de l’Hoste Ranking. Profile and Publications

Compiled: June and July 2023


There’s a suggestion of time moving backwards in the GD’s record on Ranking, which R A Gilbert took due note of: initiated June 1892; but membership lapsed March 1892. Ranking did fill in a pledge form and choose a motto – Sic itur ad astra – but it isn’t clear whether he went through the initiation ritual.

Ranking had some occult interests: he was a freemason; he studied gnosticism and gave a talk on its influence on freemasonry; he published an article on the ancient Egyptian origins of the tarot cards. However, even if he was initiated he never got beyond the 0=0 level at which almost all new members joined the GD.

Sources: The GD Companion compiled by R A Gilbert from the original GD records. Wellingborough Northamptonshire: The Aquarian Press. 1986. Admin details p149; that a motto was required at the ‘pledge form’ stage: pp43-44.


Devey Fearon Ranking was born in 1849, the sixth son of Robert Ranking, a doctor and surgeon working in Hastings. He went to Oxford, studying law and graduating BA in 1873 and as Ll D. He became a teacher, firstly at Albert College Framlingham, then taking pupils privately to prepare them for a career in the armed forces. After living in Cheshire and Devon, he and his family moved to Edinburgh where in 1888 or 1889, he founded a school, Falcon Hall School. The venture failed. Declared bankrupt, Ranking moved back to Suffolk in 1891 or 1892. He started taking private pupils again; and that was the state of affairs when he began the process of joining the GD.

In the mid 1890s Ranking began working as a self-employed sub-contractor, writing for the publishing firm H Foulds Lynch and Co, which specialised in text-books for candidates intending to take the accountancy exams. Joined by two co-authors, he continued in that work until he was able to retire just after World War 1. He died in 1931 but his name, as one of Ranking, Spicer and Pegler, lived on in the world of accountancy qualification until at least the 1980s.

Ranking was married twice. In 1877 he married Caroline Charteris Brown. They had three sons and six daughters. Caroline died in 1899 and a year later Ranking married Annette Eleanor Appleby. They moved into Primrose Mansions, a newly-built block of flats near Battersea Park, and continued to live in the Battersea Park area until Devey’s death.

Ranking was a freemason for most of his life but was only really active in the 1870s, when he was a member of a committee set up by Kenneth H R Mackenzie to advise him as he prepared his Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia. The evidence isn’t very clear, but at that time Ranking was probably a member of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) and may have been in the Rite of Swedenborg. Ranking may have continued as a freemason once he had moved to Scotland; he certainly became friendly with the Glasgow-based businessman Edward Macbean, a future member of the GD, who was very active in Scottish freemasonry. At least in 1889, Ranking was definitely a member of John Yarker’s Antient and Primitive Rite.

Later in his life Ranking’s only freemasonry involvement was as a corresponding member of Quatuor Coronati lodge 2076; GD founder William Wynn Westcott was a senior member of this lodge, which had been founded to study the history and symbolism of freemasonry.

Sources for Profile:

The Biograph and Review 1879 p77: short profile of Devey’s older brother Boyd Montgomerie Ranking, giving details of his family background. The Rankings were Scottish, claiming descent from Malcom Canmor. Boyd and Devey’s mother’s family were the Speirs of Elderslie county Renfrew.

Ecclesiastical Gazette 1871 p115 Dewey (sic) Fearon Ranking in a list of students studying civil law.

Alumni Oxoniensis volume La-Ry p1176 entries for Devey Fearon Ranking and his older brother John Ebenezer, who were at Magdalen Hall Oxford at the same time; John qualified as a doctor.

Times 8 February 1873 p5 University Intelligence, degrees conferred at Oxford University.

Albert College Framlingham:

Notes and Queries 1873 p383 issue of 10 May 1873, Devey Ranking is mentioned as a staff member, possibly newly appointed.

History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874 p410 residents of Double Street Framlingham.

PO Directory of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk 1875; Ranking in a list of staff members at Albert College.

Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland 1876 p8 Ranking is on a list of candidates for membership, with address 23 Berners Street Ipswich.

After Framlingham Ranking’s teaching career is more difficult to follow and I haven’t come across any evidence of his working in a school.


Found via Findmypast: Devey Fearon Ranking on the electoral roll in Liscard Cheshire in 1879 and 1880; but not earlier and not later.

Devey and Caroline’s first two children were both registered in the Birkenhead registration district.


Devey and Caroline’s next two children were both registered in the Kingsbridge, Devon, registration district.

Evidence from the membership records of the United Grand Lodge of England, now online at Ancestry: Devey Ranking joined craft lodge 1486 Duncombe Lodge in January 1880 and paid annual subscriptions from 1880 to 1882; though not later. Duncombe Lodge met in Kingsbridge.


Devey and Caroline’s fifth child was born in Edinburgh in December 1883.

Edinburgh directories for 1887/88, and 1889; seen at Findmypast with Ranking at 3 Napier Road and described as an “army tutor”.

Falcon Hall School Edinburgh: I can’t find any evidence for it, before 1889.

The Athenaeum 1889 p142 an advert for Falcon Hall school.

The Scots Observer volume 4 1890 p444 an advert for Falcon Hall school Edinburgh, a boys’ preparatory school with D Fearon Ranking as its headmaster.

Scottish Geographical Magazine volume 7 1891 p232 advert for Falcon Hall school.

1891 census at Falcon Hall School, 193 Morningside Road Edinburgh.

The address for Ranking in 1892, in the GD’s admin papers 1892 is The School House, Dedham, Colchester.

For Ranking’s work in text-book publishing: see the Publications lists below.

Ranking’s marriages and family:

Armorial Families 1910 p1342.

Freebmd though it didn’t have Devey’s first marriage which perhaps took place in Scotland; nor any of the birth registrations of his children born after 1882.

Seen at Findmypast: marriage of Devey Fearon Ranking to Annette Eleanor Appleby at St George’s Hanover Square; couldn’t read the month but the marriage registration was in the October-December quarter 1900.

1901 census for 49 Primrose Mansions Battersea Park.

Probate Registry entry 1931 for Devey Fearon de l’Hoste Ranking of 9 Overstrand Mansions Battersea Park.


Freemasons’ Library, the collection GBR 1991 MSS: Letters to Francis George Irwin. Ranking is mentioned in these letters though he was not the author of any of them:

- call number 4/14/12 dated 13 April 1874, Kenneth H R Mackenzie to future GD founder William Woodman, with a reference to Ranking attending a meeting, possibly of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA)

- call number 3/1/5 dated 6 December 1874

- call number 3/1/107 dated 13 March 1879 in which Kenneth H R Mackenzie was proposing Ranking as a senior member of the (short-lived) Rite of Swedenborg, subject to John Yarker’s approval as it was Yarker’s Rite

- call number 36/2/12/3 dated 31 October 1888, Edward Macbean to Francis George Irwin

- call number 39/2/12/4 dated 9 March 1889: a letter from Edward Macbean to Irwin describing Ranking as an “old friend” and stating that Ranking was in the Antient and Primitive Rite.

Ranking as a member of the advisory committee for the Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia – see publications section below.

United Grand Lodge of England, membership records to 1921, now at Ancestry. Devey Ranking as a member of:

- 959 Prince of Wales’ Lodge; Ipswich. Initiated during 1875; his older brother Boyd had been initiated in 1874

- 555 Lodge of Fidelity; Framlingham. Initiated 14 March 1875

- 1486 Duncombe Lodge; Kingsbridge. Joined 26 January 1880.

As a corresponding member of Quatuor Coronati 2076: Ars Quatuor Coronatorum volume 1 1886-89; [p15] of the corresponding members’ list, with date September 1887.



1878 Milton’s Comus Annotated...With Three Introductory Essays upon the Masque Proper, and upon the Origin and History of the Poem

London: H West. Devey Ranking as co-author with his older brother Boyd Ranking.

Some information on Boyd Montgomerie Ranking 1841-1888. Intended by his family to go into the civil service, instead he qualified as a barrister at the Inner Temple in 1866, though he never practised. For some years he was secretary of the Royal Archaeological Institute, before leaving to concentrate on writing, making a living from reviews and articles. Several books of poetry published; as well as works on medieval literature and folklore. Known for his ability to speak the Norse languages (my source wasn’t clear whether that meant modern or historical); and old Romany.

Sources for Boyd Ranking:

Freebmd for the death registration; there was no probate registry entry for him.

The Biograph and Review 1879 p77: short profile of B Montgomerie Ranking.

The Law Journal issue of 4 May 1866 p240.


1894 The Student’s Special History 1689-1832, Comprising the Special Periods Set for Army Examinations

London: Rolfe Brothers. An edition revised by John Gibson.

Advertised in Journal of Education volume 16 1894 p400 and confirming that though it had been revised by Gibson, the original author was Ranking.

1910 The Incorporated Students’ Telephone: Questions and Answers to the...Examinations of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors

London: H F Lynch and Co. Ranking as co-author with Ernest Evan Spicer and Ernest Charles Pegler. See below.


1877 Arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

London: John Hogg in Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia Part I, compiled by Kenneth R H Mackenzie: p139 a short note in which Ranking drew attention to the way the arms broke the rule of heraldry that “metal should not be charged upon metal”. On p7 Mackenzie acknowledged the help he had received from the Cyclopaedia’s Committee of Aid. He named all its members; Ranking was one of them.

The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia is at

1876 article on rosicrucianism or on Christian Rosenkreuz

Apparently London: The Rosicrucian and Masonic Mirror New Series issue of January 1876.

There is a reference to this article by Ranking in Frederick Leigh Gardner’s Bibliotheca Rosicruciana p76. I haven’t been able to find a copy of the January 1876 issue to confirm the information. Bibliotheca Rosicruciana is volume 1 (of 3) of Gardner’s Catalogue Raisonné of Works on the Occult Sciences; London: privately published 1912.

To make clear where I have looked for the article: British Library; which has copies up to the end of 1875 but no further; and the Freemasons’ Library. Worldcat could not come up with any copies in libraries of which it knows. If anyone reading this file knows of a copy or has one, let me know! And – more importantly – let the Freemasons’ Library know.

1911 Some Notes on the Various Gnostic Sects and their possible Influence on Freemasonry

Ars Quatuor Coronatorum volume 24 1911 p199, pp200-227; with comments from the audience pp227-247. This had originally been a talk to the members of QC2076; Ranking was the main speaker at the lodge meeting of 6 October 1911. You can see the full text of the volume at


1908 The Tarot

Published Liverpool: Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society New Series volume 2 issue of July 1908 pp14-37, in which Ranking argued that the modern tarot had origins in Ancient Egypt; and that those origins could be seen plainly in the cards. The article included 26 black-and-white illustrations of the Schaffhausen tarot pack. Ranking compared a number of different tarot packs, including the one formulated by GD founder Samuel Mathers. Mathers’ book The Tarot and William Wynn Westcott’s The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum were both listed as references.

Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Fortune-Telling Cards: The Tarot, its Occult Signification, use in Fortune-Telling, and Method of Play.

London: George Redway 1888. Ranking cited this edition rather than the more elaborate later editions.

The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum Interpreted by the Tarot Trumps. By Eliphas Lévi, translated from the French by Westcott. Published London.

The Freemasons’ Library has a copy of a pamphlet that was printed from the original article, with Edward Macbean’s ownership stamp on the front. Macbean was a businessman based in Glasgow. He was a very active freemason and GD member.


1917 Ecclesia Anglicana, and its Position with Regard to the Great Schism

Torquay: Devonshire Press.

1919 How Can these things be? Spiritualism, its Fallacies and Dangers

London: Cope and Fenwick of 8 Buckingham Street, Strand.

Just noting here that at the end of this pamphlet are lists of other publications by the same firm. They included a history of the Catholic revival; a book on Catholics and church reform; and The Catholic Faith in Practice by Rev Francis Underhill, a Church of England cleric.

Ranking’s book had its origins in the resurgence of interest in spiritualism after World War 1. Ranking was not a sceptic about the existence of an unseen world inhabited by spirits; on the contrary, he believed that belief in them was necessary if you wanted to believe in the immortality of the soul. However, he believed that a world inhabited by the spirits of the human dead was likely to be very like the world we live in every day, with both good souls and bad ones in it. In his pamphlet he urged people to beware when going to a séance; in case they were contacted by mischievous spirits preying on their need to hear from their dead relations.

1919 The Apocalypse and the Mysteries

London: Cope and Fenwick.

Travelling People:

1891 A Family of Shelta-Speaking and Romani-Speaking Highland Tinkers

Edinburgh: Gypsy Lore Society Journal volume 2 issue of January 1891 p71, pp319-320. Ranking met some of these travellers in 1890 when he and his family were on holiday at Crinan Harbour in Argyllshire.

1891 The Nutts and their Language

Edinburgh: Gypsy Lore Society Journal volume 2 pp17-21. The main article is by Devey Ranking’s brother Dr George Speirs Alexander Ranking. Devy contributed a note on the language. The Nutts were a wandering Indian caste, about which very little was known at the time: for example, the article wasn’t specific about whether the caste was Muslim or Hindu.

1892 On the Language of the Gypsies in Russia

Edinburgh: Gypsy Lore Society Journal volume 3 pp2-21. This was not an original piece of work. Ranking had translated from the German an article by Böhtlingk: Über die Sprache der Zigeuner in Russland.

1908 and 1909

Some Words on the Dialects of the Transcaucasian Gypsies – Bŏsà and Karači.

Liverpool: Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society New Series, in three parts:

- volume 1 number 3 January 1908 pp229-257;

- volume 2 number 3 January 1909 pp246-66; and

- volume 2 number 4 April 1909 pp325-334. Once again, Ranking was a translator of the work of others, this time from a book in Russian by Professor K P Patkanoff (a Russian-isation of his surname), published St Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Science 1887. Ranking’s brother George S A Ranking had spotted some errors in Patkanoff’s original, and had helped Ranking correct them.

Wikipedia has a little on the original author: Kerovbe Patkanian (1833-89), Armenian by birth and Professor of Armenian Studies at St Petersburg University.

A note on George Speirs Alexander Ranking 1852-1934, Devey’s youngest brother. George Ranking qualified as a doctor at Cambridge University, and joined the Indian Medical Service in 1875. After a number of increasingly prominent postings he was appointed professor of chemistry at the Medical College, Calcutta, in 1892. Returning to England, he was lecturer in Persian at Oxford University from 1905-1920. He published articles and books on Urdu, Persian and Hindustani; and on medicine. His last appointment was as professor of Arabic and Persian at Calcutta University, 1920-21.

Source: Who Was Who volume 3 p1122.

1911 The Gypsies of Central Russia

Liverpool: Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society New Series volume 4 pp195-217 and pp244-58. Another translation by Ranking, this time of Dobrovolsky/Dobrovolskij’s Kiselevskie Cygane.

The original text was published in St Petersburg in 1908 in Cyganskie teksty Vypusk 1 as part of a wider investigation into languages and dialects spoken around Smolensk undertaken by ethnographer Vladimir Nikolaevich Dobrovolsky/Dobrovolskij (1856-1920). The title translates as Roma of Kiselevka. The book was the first to bring the folk tales of the Russian Roma to wider attention. It has been much-cited since, in Russian and English, including in the sources I give below.

Ranking’s translation is now available as a book: in June 2023 had it, print-on-demand, in a Folklore History series.

Sources for the original text:

For Dobrovolsky/Dobrovolskij’s full name and dates:

At an abstract in English of an article posted in November 2020 describes Dobrovolsky/ Dobrovolskij as the “famous researcher of Smolensk dialects”. Title of the full article: V N Dobrovolsky and Smolensk Regional Dialects: Possibility of Dialect Studies, by Inna Koroleva, published Smolensk: Izvestia of Smolensk State University.

At the Council of Europe website // is the page The Roma and Travellers Team. There’s a detailed posting in English by Kirill Kozhanov on the Russian Roma, who arrived in what is now central Russia in the 18th century, probably via Germany and Poland.

1912 Through Romanyland

London: Romanitshels’, Didakais’ and Folk-Lore Gazette volume 1 pp52-61.

Stewart Pretenders to the Throne of GB:

1899 The Constitutional Position of the Jacobite Party in England

Printed Edinburgh: Theodore Napier Esq; originally an article in New Century Review issue of December 1899. Another edition printed in England 1900.

1901 The Marriage of Queen Mary III and II

Originally published in1898 by the Legitimist Jacobite League of Great Britain and Ireland as number 29 in their Publications series; then an article in Genealogical Magazine issue of February 1901.

Law and accountancy: Lynch; Ranking; Ranking and Spicer; Ranking, Spicer and Pegler

This section is by far the longest in this file, and needs a bit of introduction from me to explain why it isn’t complete. The tale begins with a solicitor, Henry Foulks Lynch, producing in the 1870s a set of text-books for those preparing for the Law Society exams; and going on in the 1880s to issue a similar set for those taking the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ exams. Lynch had spotted two trends which meant that his text-books sold very well – more and more laws and updates to laws were being passed by Parliament; and qualifications were rapidly superceding apprenticeships as the way into the professions. The limited company Henry Foulks Lynch and Co was set up in October 1884 to put production of the text-books on a more systematic footing; but in 1894 Henry Foulks Lynch died and someone was needed to carry on preparing new texts and updating old ones – which was where Ranking and his future co-authors came in. By 1984 Henry Foulks Lynch and Co’s descendant, Chart Foulks Lynch, could be described as “the most famous name in accountancy tuition throughout the world”.

I haven’t been able to discover quite how Ranking got involved with the work of Henry Foulks Lynch and Co but through his education, his past employment, and – ironically – his own experiences in business, he was ideally qualified for it. As an undischarged bankrupt with a family to support, he also needed a job badly.

Within a very few years the pace of change in Parliamentary law, especially at the point where law and finance met, meant that one man could not keep up with the revisions of the text-books that were constantly required. Two chartered accountants were taken on by Henry Foulks Lynch and Co to help Ranking: Ernest Evan Spicer; and Ernest Charles Pegler. Text books which were often referred to just as ‘Ranking and Spicer’ continued to be issued after the death of all three men; so you can see that if I listed all the editions in this section on Ranking’s legal/financial publications, it would be a cast of thousands; be very difficult to read; and in the end have no words left in them that Ranking actually wrote. Instead I’ve concentrated on trying to pinpoint when and how he picked up the reins dropped by Henry Foulks Lynch; on when Spicer and Pegler started work; and on the titles that he actually wrote or helped to write – the last of which seems to be from 1919, the year he turned 70.

Shortly after the death of Henry Foulks Lynch, Ranking had a series of works on commercial law published; perhaps bringing him to the notice of H F Lynch and Co for the first time. The texts of some at least of these were taken on by H F Lynch and Co in due course.

1895 The Law of Contract, Being a Lecture

London: Millington Brothers. 2nd edition 1898. 3rd edition 1900 with the title now The Law of Contract. 4th edition 1904. 5th edition 1907. A 6th edition, by Ranking with Spicer and Pegler, revised and enlarged and published London: H F Lynch and Co 1920.

1897 Bills of Exchange, Being a Lecture

London: Millington Brothers. 2nd edition 1902. A 3rd edition 1906 this time published London: J T Salter. 4th revised edition 1911. 5th edition, as Bills of Exchange, by Ranking with Spicer and Pegler, revised and enlarged and published London: H F Lynch and Co 1920.

1897 Partnership Articles Epitomised. A Supplement to Pollock’s Digest of Partnership Law

Originally by Henry Foulks Lynch with Nathaniel, Baron Lindley, and Sir Frederick Pollock as co-authors; and published London: E J Clayton 1888.

Ranking’s first involvement was with the 3rd edition, published London: Rolfe Brothers 1897. 4th edition 1901. 5th edition 1906 as Partnership Articles Epitomised and Explained.

1898 The Law of Agency and the Law of Bailment

London: Millington Brothers. A 2nd edition 1904. A 4th edition, revised and enlarged, by Ranking with Spicer and Pegler; published London: H F Lynch and Co 1920.

1895 saw the first work by Ranking to be published by H F Lynch and Co; in one book with a work by another author:

1895 Executorship Law and Accounts by Ranking; in a volume with Accountancy by W F Wiseman.

London: H F Lynch and Co. 2nd edition 1898. 3rd edition 1901.

In the early years of his work for H F Lynch and Co, much of Ranking’s work was preparing up-to-date editions of works originally by Henry Foulks Lynch:

1898 The Rights and Duties of Liquidators, Trustees and Receivers; analytically arranged originally by Henry Foulks Lynch and published London: Gee and Co 1886. The 1898 5th edition was Ranking’s first involvement - he revised and rewrote it; it also had in it some additions in verse by B S Harvey. 6th edition of Lynch’s original, again with Ranking as editor, 1900. 7th edition 1902. 8th edition 1905, revised and enlarged. 9th edition 1908, again revised and enlarged. 10th edition 1911, revised and enlarged. 11th edition 1914, revised and enlarged. 12th edition of the Lynch original 1919, revised and enlarged by Ranking with Spicer and Pegler; 1919. 13th edition 1921. 14th edition 1923. 15th edition 1924. 16th edition 1928, 1929. 17th edition 1930.

All editions involving Ranking - London: H F Lynch and Co

1898 Redress by Arbitration

London: Effingham Wilson. Originally by Henry Foulks Lynch; I couldn’t find details of the first edition but the 2nd one was issued in 1892. Ranking’s involvement began with the 3rd edition, which he revised and edited.

Soon H F Lynch and Co began issuing books where Ranking was the original author:

1903 Abstract of the Companies Act 1900

London: H F Lynch and Co. This was the 2nd edition; the British Library doesn’t have a copy of the 1st one. A 3rd edition, also 1903.

1904 Notes on the Companies’ Winding-up Rules, 1903

London: H F Lynch and Co.

1906 Handbook of Executorship Law, with the Mode of Keeping Executorship Accounts

London: H F Lynch and Co. This superceded Ranking’s 1895 Executorship Law and Accounts and was the first work where Ranking was joined by co-authors Spicer and Pegler.

London: H F Lynch and Co. 2nd edition 1911. 3rd edition, by Ranking with Spicer and Pegler, revised and enlarged. 4th edition 1915. 5th edition 1919, revised and enlarged again. 6th edition 1921. 7th edition 1925. 8th edition 1926. 9th edition 1929. 10th edition 1931. And editions after Ranking’s death: 13th edition 1937 with a new editor, H A R J Wilson and published London: Sir I Pitman and Sons. Issues of the edition edited by Wilson continued to be published at least until 1961.

1908 Parallel Abstract of the Companies Acts of 1900 and 1907 and Limited Partnership Act 1907

London: H F Lynch and Co.

1909 A Primer of Company Law also known by its short-form, Company Law

London: H Foulks Lynch and Co. 2nd edition 1914, revised and enlarged. 3rd edition 1919. 4th edition 1924. 5th edition 1929. After Ranking’s death, a 6th edition edited by H A R J Wilson 1933 and subsequent editions at least as far as 1951.

1911 Mercantile Law

London: H F Lynch. Ranking, Spicer and Pegler. 2nd edition 1917. 3rd edition 1919. 4th edition 1921. 5th edition 1927 and so on into the 1960s.

1911 Arbitration and Awards

London: H Foulks Lynch and Co. Ranking with Spicer and Pegler as authors. This may be a newly-renamed edition of the 1898 Redress by Arbitration above.

1911 Partnership Law

London: H F Lynch and Co. Ranking with Spicer and Pegler as authors. 2nd edition 1919. 3rd edition 1923. 4th edition 1929.

1915 Deeds of Arrangement

London: H F Lynch and Co. Ranking with Spicer and Pegler as authors. 2nd edition 1920.

1917 The Law Relating to the Sale of Goods

London: H F Lynch and Co. Ranking with Spicer and Pegler as authors. 2nd edition 1920.

1918 Notes on War Legislation

London: H F Lynch and Co.

Ranking’s last original text for H F Lynch and Co:

1919 Arbitration Awards

London: H F Lynch and Co. Ranking with Spicer and Pegler. 2nd edition also 1919. 3rd edition 1920. 4th edition 1925. 5th edition 1931 and so on into the 1980s.

A Posthumous Volume of articles:

1932 De Omnibus Rebus

London: Gee and Co. In Latin and with a portrait. Selected and edited by R A Harting from articles by Ranking originally published in the Accountants’ Journal between 1920 and 1930.

Ranking introducing a book by one of his long-serving co-authors:

1914 De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum. Being a Series of Problems in Executorship Law and Accounts

London: H F Lynch and Co. Author: Ernest Evan Spicer; with Ranking writing a Foreword; and illustrations by E T Reed.

Sources for the legal section:

Henry Foulks Lynch 1845-1894:

The Law Times 31 September 1872 p380 marriage announcement for Henry Foulks Lynch, solicitor, and Rose daughter of Richard Hollier; which gives Lynch’s addresses as Maidenhead; and Staple Inn.

Accountancy volume 95 1984 in an article celebrating Chart Foulks Lynch’s hundredth anniversary; it had been founded on 19 October 1884.

Journal of the British Astronomical Association volume 2 1893 p205: Henry Foulks Lynch one of several people elected as members on 27 January 1892; giving what must be his work address – 9 Fenchurch Street.

Probate Registry entries 1894 for the death of Henry Foulks Lynch of 65 Church Road Richmond Green; who died on 13 January 1894.

Ernest Evan Spicer 1878-1956 and Ernest Charles Pegler 1880-1943:

As well as contributing accountancy text to works where Ranking wrote the legal side, Spicer and Pegler worked as a duo for H F Lynch and Co producing text-books on accountancy and auditing. Two particularly long-running titles were Book-Keeping and Accounts first edition 1908; and Practical Auditing, on its 3rd edition by 1919 and with subsequent ones up to 1990.

Probate Registry entries 1944 for Ernest Charles Pegler of Taunton; and 1956 for Ernest Evan Spicer of 19 Fenchurch Street and Chislehurst.


7 July 2023

Email me at

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: