Marian Charlotte Vibart was initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London on 22 March 1898. She chose the motto ‘Neschamah’, a Hebrew word that indicates she had been studying the Kabbalah (of which more below). At this stage in the history of the GD, record keeping wasn’t as good as it had been in the early years, so I can’t say for sure how long Marian Charlotte remained a member, or how active she was except that she was never initiated into the GD’s inner, second Order.


John Valentine Lacy was initiated on the same evening as Marian Charlotte. He was a friend of the Vibart family.




I’ve just been contacted by Stephen Cooper, about Marian’s nephew John Dighton Grafton-Wignall. He has sent some more sources for John as an ornithologist, and for his death in Mesopotamia in 1917. Stephen Cooper has written two books on notable rugby players who were killed in World War 1; but owing to a mix-up in recording John’s surname in the years after World War 1, Cooper wasn’t able to include John in either of them.




‘Vibart’ is a very rare surname. In the censuses between 1841 and 1911 there were never more than 22 people called Vibart living in the UK; though in the early part of the 19th-century there were quite a few living in India. Despite how few of them there were, I’m still not quite sure how they were all related.


I haven’t been able to find anyone called Vibart earlier than a James Vibart who lived in Somerset. He’s listed on a ancestry ‘rootsweb’ with birth/death years as 1703/1775. According to that rootsweb page, he married Mary, daughter of Sir John Meredith of Brecon. I think that all the Vibarts who appear on those censuses, and the Vibarts in India, are their descendants; certainly the forenames ‘meredith’ and ‘james’ crop up regularly in the 19th-century. Though if someone offered proof me that they weren’t, that wouldn’t surprise me, because there’s conflicting evidence at ancestry and elsewhere as to exactly how many children the son of James and Mary had, and what their names were.


The son of James and Mary Vibart was James Meredith Vibart (1753-1827) and the sources do agree that he married Juliana Williams (died 1822). James Meredith Vibart (1753-1827) was the first Vibart to work for the East India Company. However, by the 1820s he and Juliana were living at Pitminster, just south of Taunton in Somerset, probably in the same house that James Vibart had done.


The sources agree that James Meredith and Juliana had three sons: Henry; John; and Thomas Gowan. But my rummaging around on the web and in the British Library India Office suggests they had two more sons: another James Meredith, born 1788 and still living in 1861; and Edward; and a daughter Frances Jane (I saw her name spelled the male way, FrancIs, several times in my searches but she’s definitely female). Henry, John and Thomas Gowan went to work for the East India Company’s civil service; James Meredith (died 1861) and Edward for its army.


Thomas Gowan Vibart, the third son of James Meredith and Juliana, was born 1798. He is Marian Charlotte Vibart’s grandfather. There’s a little more information on his career than on those of his older brothers. He undertook the East India Company training at its College of Fort William, Madras, where William Hay MacNaghten was a fellow-student. Thomas Gowan didn’t have MacNaghten’s facility with foreign languages; which led MacNaghten to a brilliant career in India. Thomas Gowan passed the exam in Bengali very well, but studied only one other Indian language, Persian, scraping a pass in that. He left the College in 1814 and was sent to Bengal where he worked as a magistrate and tax collector. It’s no wonder so many Vibarts were happy to brave the dangers of India to work for the East India Company: a list of current employees from the late 1830s gives Thomas Gowan Vibart’s salary as 1000 rupees per year, which sounds like a very tidy sum and I imagine his household in India reflected that.


In 1821 Thomas Gowan Vibart married William Hay MacNaghten’s sister, Jane Russell MacNaghten. This was a very good marriage from Thomas Gowan’s point-of-view, as the MacNaghtens were grandees of the East India Company, had more money (though there were a lot of them for it to go round) and - I think - somewhat socially superior to the Vibarts. Jane and William Hay MacNaghten’s father, Francis Workman-MacNaghten, ended a brilliant career in the service of the East India Company as a judge in the Calcutta supreme court; he retired in 1825 and was made a baronet in 1836. During the 1830s he was the chief of the clan McNaughton. Another of Jane’s brothers, Elliot MacNaghten, served from 1842 to his death as a director of the East India Company.


Thomas Gowan and Jane had three sons, Meredith James; Francis Elliot; and Elliot Henry; and five daughters, Letitia; Julia; Jane Maria; Matilda; and Eliza Maria. However Thomas Gowan Vibart suffered the fate of very many of those who lived in India: by 1837 he was ill enough to be sent on a long leave to Europe, and he never returned, dying in Leamington Spa in September 1839; his youngest daughter had been born only a few weeks before.


Jane MacNaghten Vibart and her daughters do not appear on the censuses of 1851 or 1861 and they were living in France for at least some of that time, either all year round or in the winter, returning to London for its social season. By 1881, however, she was spending more time in England; though she was still choosing to employ a French lady’s maid for herself, and a Swiss nurse for her grandchildren on 1881 census day. She died in 1886, having buried four of her children as well as her husband and even a son-in-law; but her surviving children were all well settled and especially in the case of her daughters, I think this was largely as a result of her own efforts and family contacts.




Thomas Gowan and Jane’s eldest child, Meredith James, was Marian Charlotte’s father. He was born in 1822 or 1823 in India (I don’t know exactly where as I haven’t found birth or baptism details for him). He was sent to England (probably ged 8 or 9) in order to go to Harrow School, and left the school in 1838 after being accepted by the East India Company’s military seminary at Addiscombe (just outside Croydon) to train for service in their artillery battalions. Getting into Addiscombe was quite an achievement. Entry was by examination and in 1838, 34 young men took the exams but only 14 were taken on. The course lasted two years and pupils’ parents had to pay £65 per year in fees; but it was a good investment in the future career of their sons. Fellow pupils during Meredith James’ two years included a member of the Prinsep family; and a George Elliot who might be a cousin of Hugh Elliot who became a Golden Dawn member - the Elliot family of west London also had a tradition of working for the East India Company.


Meredith James officially joined the East India Company as a 2nd Lieutenant in June 1840 and spent the next six years in India before going on a long leave, some of which he spent in South Africa at the Cape Colony with Augustus Fortunatus Bellasis (1822-72), East India Company civil servant, archaeologist and artist. The Vibart and Bellasis families were related through a couple of marriages; and the Bellasis family also knew the Forbes family of Bombay - Meredith James’ uncle John had married Anna Forbes.


This long leave was a very long one. Meredith James eventually arrived in England after his stay in the Cape Colony in the summer of 1848 and was still there in July 1849 when, against strong opposition (the job was much sought-after), he was appointed one of the two orderly officers at Addiscombe school. The post had always been a two-year secondment, but Meredith James’ tenure came to an end after only one, when the school’s headmaster died and his successor abolished the job altogether. However, during his short time in-post at Addiscombe, Meredith James met Eliza Blackburn Lloyd.



Eliza Blackburn Lloyd was one of the 17 children (11 daughters, 6 sons) of Edward Lloyd (died 1859) of Rhagatt in Merionethshire and his wife Frances, daughter of John Edward Madocks. The Lloyds were part of the web of blood-relations and business connections in north Wales and the north Midlands that also took in GD members like Blanche Elliot and Florence ffoulkes (who were cousins). However, they had London connections as well, the best of them to my mind being the 4th daughter Mary Charlotte Lloyd (born 1819), who lived in London with the campaigning journalist and feminist Frances Power Cobbe - though I have to say I haven’t found any evidence at all that Eliza and Mary Charlotte were close. Eliza (born 1824) was closer to the 7th daughter, Jane Margaret (born 1822), who in due course married Rev Henry Powell ffoulkes, the uncle of Florence ffoulkes’ husband.


Edward Lloyd and his father were both prominent barristers in Wales. Although one of Eliza’s brothers, Charles Owen Lloyd, joined the East India Company (to be killed in 1848), the Lloyds had no strong connections with India. It must have been through Welsh or London connections that she and Meredith James met. They were married at Corwen in Merioneth on 1 August 1850.


Now I shall indulge in a bit of speculation and say that my own impression is that Meredith James Vibart did not enjoy being in the army; or did not enjoy being in it in India. He had to work - his family wasn’t wealthy - but perhaps life in the army was not living up to expectations. Or perhaps there was something already wrong with his health - it got worse later - to cause him to be allowed to remain outside India for so long while still nominally an East India Company employee. Meredith James may also have worried about how Eliza would cope with India, coming from a family with no experience of living there. On the day of the census in 1851, he and Eliza were still in England. They were renting at house at Melcombe Regis, now part of Weymouth. Meredith James’ sister-in-law Frances and her son Francis were staying with them. Frances was the widow of Francis Elliot Vibart who’d died in 1848; three-year-old Francis was their only child.



This section would be a lot better with one contemporary source that I decided not to use. During her short time in India, Eliza Blackburn Vibart wrote back to her sisters a series of letters describing her life there. They are now at the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, Exeter University. I decided I couldn’t justify the expense of going there to read them.


In 1851 Lt Meredith James Vibart may have been trying to find another posting in Britain, but if he was, he failed in the task. By 1853 he had returned to India, taking Eliza with him. He had been promoted to Captain and sent to one of the remotest frontiers India had to offer. In 1854 Marian Charlotte Vibart was born in the new, very English, hill station of Naini Tal (more usually run together as Nainital these days), the last staging post on the way to Almora, on the border with Nepal, where her sister Edith Frances was born in 1856, to complete Meredith James and Eliza’s very small (by mid-Victorian standards) family.


Marian Charlotte Vibart’s infancy was thus spent in the foothills of the Himalayas, an area beautiful but very remote - even in 1909 the Almora district had only one road paved to British standards. The area had come into East India Company hands in 1814/15 but in the 1850s there were still very few western residents, the Company relying on Gurkha regiments to keep the peace, with a sprinkling of British officers to command them. Missionaries were already present, running an English-language school and a leprosy asylum; but I couldn’t find any references to the Church of England having a parish in the area so it’s not clear to me how the British managed for Sunday church. As well as leprosy, smallpox was still rife - that must have alarmed the Vibarts. However, the district did have one western-trained doctor, a Dr Pearson, and he and the most senior Company official, Sir Henry Ramsay, began a programme of smallpox vaccination in 1854. As was usual in India, the British lived close together in a cantonment just west of Almora town so that is where Marian Charlotte spent - well, I’m not sure how long. Largely due to Sir Henry Ramsay’s foresight and the respect in which he was held by local people, there was very little fighting in Kumaon during the Indian Mutiny/First War of Indepence. However, there was some, and an account of it is given in my main source for what life might have been like for the Vibarts in this remote corner of India. All the British officers who were in command during the fighting are named in the account, but Meredith James Vibart isn’t mentioned and I think this means that the Vibarts had left Almora, if not by the first outbreak of mutiny (at Meerut - where Meredith James’ cousin Edward D H Vibart was stationed - in May 1857), at the very latest by November, when the winter snows rendered coming down from the mountains almost impossible.


The India Office registers for the 1850s don’t give any clue as to where Meredith James Vibart was stationed in the 1850s. In the issues of 1854-56 he was on the list of officers of the 8th battalion, Bengal Artillery. The 8th battalion’s headquarters were at Cawnpore (now spelled Kanpur or Khanpur) but it was not unusual for individual officers to be sent to serve elsewhere, for example on secondment to native regiments, where they would give expertise and training; except that Meredith James Vibart is not listed as seconded.


I’ve no idea where the Vibarts were during the Mutiny/First War of Independence except to say that if they had been at Cawnpore they would not have survived. Major Edward Vibart was stationed at Cawnpore when mutiny broke out there in June 1857. His wife Emily and their four youngest children were with him. All of them were murdered in one of the most savage episodes of the whole mutiny.


The India Office register of 1857 listed Meredith James as having been transferred to the 6th battalion, whose headquarters were in the Punjab, but I’m not sure he ever actually served there. I think the Vibarts may have been extremely lucky and been in Calcutta by late 1857, not as refugees from the fighting but in order to negotiate Meredith James’ retirement from the East India Company. He was transferred to the Company’s invalid list in March 1858 and the Company began to pay him a pension in that month. It seems rather soon - early 1858 - for him to have to be pensioned off as a result of injuries received. Of course, he could have received an injury that made it impossible for him to continue on active duty, but he was being pensioned off at a time when the East India Company needed every fit man it could get, and I do wonder about the very long leave of 1846-51. Was Meredith James Vibart ill by the mid-1840s? - was a long period in a mild, dry climate prescribed for him? In which case malaria is a likely candidate for the illness he was suffering from. He may have been sent to serve in Almora because the climate was thought to be kinder to those suffering from malaria’s tendency to recur; only to find that that the disease was endemic in parts of Kumaon as well as on the Indian plains. Back in Britain, Meredith James Vibart didn’t die for another 30 years; though he never lived in Norfolk or Hayling Island, also places notorious for recurring fevers.



When Meredith James Vibart was put on the Company’s invalid list, his pension will have reflected the fact that he had only served the Company for twenty years. Returning to Britain, he seems at first to have had a long period of rest. In the longer term, though, he had to find another job. On the day of the 1861 census, Eliza had taken Marian Charlotte and Edith Frances on a visit to her unmarried sister Harriet Frances Lloyd. By this time, only four daughters were still alive of the original 17 Lloyd siblings. Harriet Frances was living in some style (she had a butler and a lady’s maid) on a small estate at Nannau Isafon in Merioneth. Meredith James had not gone with his wife and children on this visit. He was out of the UK, perhap visiting his mother Jane (who wasn’t in the UK on that day either) before taking up a new military appointment as an adjutant with the Cheshire Artillery Volunteers. After five years in Cheshire, in 1867 Meredith James moved his family to Edinburgh to take up what was probably a very similar posting with the 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery Volunteer Corps: a man with experience of artillery, to take charge of enthusiastic but unskilled volunteers. He and Eliza were in Edinburgh on the day of the 1871 census. Although there were so few Vibarts living in the UK, a family of them had settled in Scotland by 1871: George Forbes Vibart, his wife Annie and their sons. Marian Charlotte and Edith Frances were abroad on the day of the 1871 census, however, though they were not visiting their grandmother Jane Vibart - by this time she was living at 29 Belgrave Road Westminster, with her youngest daughter Eliza Maria. Marian Charlotte and her sister had plenty of other relatives to visit, though I don’t think they went as far as India to stay with them. Their most likely destination was Belgium, where Meredith James’ sister Julia now lived: in 1855 she had married a Belgian aristocrat, Comte Maximilien de Lalaing.


Meredith James was given his final promotion, to Major, in 1873. He may have retired - finally - from the army in 1878. On the day of the 1881 census Meredith James Vibart was staying in lodgings in Glasgow. Eliza, Marian Charlotte and Edith Frances were at the rectory in Whittington, Shropshire, visiting another of Eliza’s surviving sisters, Jane, and Jane’s husband Rev Henry Powell ffoulkes, archdeacon of Llandaff.


Meredith James Vibart’s business in Glasgow may have been connected with his and Eliza’s move south. They were living in Hampstead, north London, by 1887 at the latest.

Marian Charlotte Vibart was in her early thirties when a period of change began greater than she had experienced since she had left India as a child. 1886 was a traumatic year for all the Vibarts. Grandmother Jane Russell Vibart and Eliza’s brother-in-law Henry Powell ffoulkes both died. And first cousin Francis Meredith Edmund Vibart and his wife Evelyn got divorced. That the marriage had broken down had probably been understood in the family for several years. Evelyn had brought her daughter Violet back from India in 1879, in time to have her second child in Sidmouth where her parents lived. There was nothing particularly unusual in that, as India was seen as a dangerous place for children and infants. However, Evelyn was still in Sidmouth in 1881 and probably didn’t return to her husband. Living discreetly apart was preferred by many couples to the public humiliations and social stigma of divorce, but even agreeing on a separation could rupture the husband’s army career - Francis Meredith Edmund was on half-pay, all-but-retired, as early as 1884. However, by 1886 Evelyn wanted to marry someone else (someone a great deal richer than her first husband) and divorce proceedings began, I would imagine at her instigation. The divorce didn’t create a public scandal: no co-respondent was named when the case came up in court, and I couldn’t find any reports on the hearing on the web or in the Times so the evidence heard wasn’t that salacious. However, evidence of marital misconduct would have to have been brought by the spouse who had initiated the proceedings, and it would have been heard in court. No wonder Evelyn’s mother-in-law, Frances Louisa Vibart, had gone to live abroad.


In 1887 Edith Frances married Frank Grafton Wignall; their son John Dighton Wignall - Meredith James Vibart and Eliza’s only grandchild - was born early in 1888. This period of upheaval ended when Meredith James Vibart died in the spring of 1890, bringing the inevitable diminution of Eliza’s income along with the grief. The 1891 census found Eliza, Marian Charlotte and the three Wignalls all living together in a house called Meadow View, in Burton Lane Hampton. Pooling all its various members’ incomes, the household could still afford to employ a lady’s maid, a cook, a housemaid and a gardener.


At some time during the 1890s Marian Charlotte Vibart invested some money in a limited company, Biltor Limited, that had been founded to exploit a patented design of pipe or cigarette holder. I haven’t been able to find out anything about the company’s founder, Emil Alexander Wüterich, so I don’t know how Marian Charlotte met him. I think it must have been through Valentine Lacy and her first-cousin George Forbes Vibart (eldest son of John Vibart and his wife Anna Holland Forbes) and his wife Annie. George and Annie had moved to Barnes by the 1890s but had been living in Edinburgh when Marian Charlotte was growing up there, so that she must have known them and their sons very well; and Valentine Lacy, their perpetual lodger, equally well. After their elder son (another George) had followed the well-trodden Vibart path to India, George and Annie had moved south to be near their younger son, the actor Henry Vibart, whose career on stage and later in films Marian Charlotte must have followed.


I don’t know exactly when Biltor Ltd was set up but it was after February 1889 when the patent was granted to Emil Alexander Wüterich as the pipe’s designer. I don’t know, either, how much money Marian Charlotte invested, or where she had got the money from - perhaps she had inherited it from her grandmother or her father. I can say that no one else in her family invested in the firm, the only other shareholders I’ve found named anywhere were Emil Alexander and Anna Wüterich, perhaps the inventor’s wife or sister. GD member Valentine Lacy went to work for Biltor Limited so there’s more about the firm in his biography. In 1902, Biltor Limited and Marian Charlotte as an individual petitioned the patent office for an extension of the 1889 patent but they were refused, though the company continued at least until E A Wüterich’s death in November 1927. Her investment gave Marian Charlotte an income or extra income, but perhaps not as much as she’d hoped for as the company was never very successful.


If you’ve got this far in Marian Charlotte Vibart’s biography and are still wondering what sort of person she was, join the club: I realised yesterday (Sunday 12 January 2014) that despite all the work I’d done, I had no idea what she was like. Was she serious or light-hearted? Socially adept or gawky? A devout Christian or someone searching for something to believe in? A dutiful daughter or a restless one? Was she sorry - around 1890 - that she had never married, or glad? How did she spend her days?


Evidence to put a personality to the name is lacking: essentially it’s one piece of music and two memberships, of the Theosophical Society and the Golden Dawn.


The one piece of music is a special case. The British Library has one song with music by Marian Charlotte Vibart, setting words from G J Whyte-Melville’s long poem Sarchedon: A Legend of the Great Queen (by which he means Semiramis), which was published in three volumes in 1871. The song is for soprano with piano accompaniment and though the sheet music has no date on it, the British Library catalogue has assigned it to 1872. The extract Marian Charlotte set to music is not, in fact, about the ancient Middle Eastern goddess Ishtar, it’s section in which a passer-by stops to watch and hear a palm tree bending towards another palm tree, murmuring its love. Perhaps Marian Charlotte chose to call her song ‘Ishtar’ as an echo of the exotic, Eastern setting of Sarchedon.


Ishtar is dedicated to “Mrs Henry ffoulkes” - that is, Marian Charlotte’s aunt Jane Margaret ffoulkes (née Lloyd), the woman she and her mother and sister were staying with on the day of the 1881 census. In 1872, Jane Margaret and her husband Rev Henry ffoulkes had founded the Child’s Convalescent Home at Rhyl in north Wales. The Rhyl History Club website that was my best source for the Home suggests that they did so as parents whose own daughter, Gertrude Mary, needed more than the usual level of nursing care: on the 1871 census, the ffoulkes’ household included two nurses, which the website thought excessive for a family of three, including only one child. Gertrude Mary died aged only 12, in September 1876; although the Rhyl History Club website gives the cause of death on the death certificate as “inflammation of the bowels” which is a vague - death from such a cause might be the result of a short but catastrophic illness, or a long-term disability.


A note on the sheet music’s front page says that all proceeds from sales of Ishtar (at 3 shillings a copy) were going to be donated to the Child’s Convalescent Home. Marian Charlotte published no more music, as far as I can tell, so Ishtar was a one-off charitable effort, not the beginning of even a stuttering career as a composer. It was a thoughtful and practical gesture to perhaps a favourite aunt, who was trying to help all sick children, not just her own.


After the publication of that one piece of creativity, another 25 years pass before Marian Charlotte Vibart emerges from anonymity to join the Theosophical Society. She applied to become a member in October 1897, only a few months before she joined the GD. By this time she and her family had moved further into London, to 113 Lansdowne Road Kensington Park; perhaps it was now easier than it had been, to go to TS lodge meetings. One of Marian Charlotte’s two sponsors for TS membership was a Lilian Lloyd. Lilian was possibly a relation but she sponsored the applications of quite a few prospective TS members at this time so perhaps the surname is just a coincidence.


Given that Marian Charlotte chose a Hebrew word for her GD motto, it’s safe to say that she had come to the GD through an interest in the Kabbalah. Perhaps she had read Samuel Liddell Mathers’ Kabbala Denudata: The Kabbalah Unveiled, a translation into English of Christian Knorr von Rosenroth’s translation of the first books of the Hebrew Zohar into Latin. Mather’s volume was published in 1887. He had dedicated it to Anna Bonus Kingsford and Edward Maitland, both of whom were members of the TS. Marian Charlotte could also have come across Collectanea Hermetica volume IV, part of a series in which William Wynn Westcott and other members of the GD re-printed hermetic texts with new notes and commentaries. Volume IV reprinted the 1714 translation of Kabbala Denudata by ‘A Lover of Philalethes’ with explanations by Sapere Aude - that is, Westcott himself using one of his GD mottos. I think myself that Marian Charlotte would have needed to be acquainted with members of the GD to come across Westcott’s volume, but she (unknowingly, I should imagine) had several friends and relations who were or would become members - Florence ffoulkes whose husband was Rev Henry Powell ffoulkes’ nephew; Florence’s cousin Blanche Elliot and Blanche’s husband Hugh; and possibly Maud Cracknell, another woman sponsored into the TS by Lilian Lloyd. Any one of them could have recommended her and Valentine Lacy as suitable GD members.


If Marian Charlotte joined the TS because of an interest in the Kabbalah it was likely that she was disappointed by what was being discussed at its meetings. During the 1880s when Kingsford and Maitland had been members, western esotericism and Buddhism had been the two main strands in the TS’s teachings. However, by the late 1890s Annie Besant had taken charge of the TS in England and was leading it towards the teachings of Hinduism. I haven’t found any evidence that Marian Charlotte found Hinduism of interest, though she continued to pay her yearly subscription until 1900. She probably stopped paying when she and her mother, Edith Frances and Frank Grafton Wignall all went abroad - they are not on the 1901 census. Perhaps Eliza Vibart’s sister-in-law Frances Louisa went with them - she’s not on the 1901 census; but she wasn’t on 1891 either so perhaps she was living abroad and they had all gone to visit her.


The Vibarts and Wignalls returned to England in due course; possibly their time abroad was cut short by the sudden death of Meredith James’s sister Letitia Campbell in October 1901. There had to be an inquest as Lady Campbell had died - in a very modern manner - from an overdose of a drug she had been taking to help her sleep; evidence from her son-in-law indicated that she had got addicted to it. Marian Charlotte had to be back in England by late 1901 so that she could play her part in the application for the extension of Wüterich’s 1889 patent.


Marian Charlotte and her mother, and probably the Wignalls as well, moved into 20 The Avenue Richmond. Marian Charlotte didn’t take any part in the upheavals within the GD that led to the formation of its two daughter orders in 1903; and there’s no sign from the records available that she joined either Stella Matutina or the Independent and Rectified Rite. Perhaps her mind was taken up with her mother’s failing health - Eliza Blackburn Vibart died in November 1905; she left no Will so Marian Charlotte applied for letters of adminstration to wind up her affairs. Eliza Vibart’s personal effects amounted to only £110 and though. In 1911 both her daughters claimed to have private means (that is, income from stocks and shares or a trust fund) I’m not sure how comfortably-off either of them were; I’ve already indicated that Marian Charlotte’s income from the shares in Biltor Ltd wasn’t what she had probably been hoping for; and having done a bit of investigation into Edith Frances’s husband Frank Grafton Wignall, I can say that even before he married Edith Frances, he had no obvious means of financial support. However, the Wignalls had been able to fund sending their son John to Clifton College, after which he had gone on to Sandhurst and become another descendant of the Vibarts to serve with the army in India, arriving there in 1907 to join the 82nd Punjabi Regiment.


On the day of the 1911 census, Marian Charlotte and Edith Frances were living together, at 10 Pagoda Avenue Richmond. Frank Grafton Wignall had died at the age of only 51, early in 1908, and it made sense for the sisters to pool their financial resources.


Marian Charlotte must still have been in touch with her aunt Frances Louisa Vibart. She may even have been acting on Frances Louisa’s behalf with any business she needed to have done in England, because Frances Louisa is not on the 1911 census and must still have been living most of her time (if not all of it) abroad. The consequences of the divorce of Francis Meredith Edmund from Evelyn had rumbled on through the years; as Frances Louisa was in her 80s by 1911, perhaps Marian Charlotte had to deal with them from time to time, on her behalf. Her advancing years, and the first World War, forced Frances Louisa Vibart to return to England, to the Kemp Town district of Brighton, where she died in March 1915. Though her grandchildren (Violet and Frank) were still alive, it seems that Frances Louisa had become estranged from both of them. Perhaps she had not been able to bring herself to have anything to do with her ex-daughter-in-law; and her son Francis Meredith Edmund Vibart had died, in Manchester, in 1898. Frances Louisa named Marian Charlotte as her only executor.


The war wore on. Edith Frances Vibart may have hoped that, serving in India, her son would be spared active involvement; but he volunteered or was sent to the Middle East, and was killed at Shatt-al-Hayy on 26 January 1917. Her only child. Two of his superior officers sent letters to Edith Frances, describing his bravery during trench warfare against Turkish forces during his last few weeks. They must have made very painful reading, however proud she might also have been. John had spent one last long leave in Britain in 1912 and hadn’t given as much of his time to his mother as perhaps he ought, spending much of it bird-watching instead. With his death, Edith Frances lost the will to live, I think - she died herself in October 1918 aged 62. Again Marian Charlotte was called upon to be an executor. This time she was acting with her distant cousin and friend Sophy Lloyd, with whom Edith Frances had something of war’s tragedy in common - Sophy’s only son, Ronald Vaughan Lloyd, had been killed in 1916.


By the time of Edith Frances’s death the sisters had moved again: Edith Frances died at 2a Philbeach Gardens, Earl’s Court. Philbeach Gardens is a crescent, off Warwick Road and only a couple of minutes’ walk from Florence ffoulkes’ house in Nevern Square; central, but cheap, and very convenient for Earl’s Court exhibition centre, which may be significant. In 1903, Marian Charlotte’s first cousin (aunt Julia’s eldest son) the Comte de Lalaing, had arrived in London to take up what turned out to be the last appointment of his career as a diplomat: he had been appointed Belgium’s Minister Plenipotentiary in Great Britain. The Comte was still in post in August 1914 when Germany invaded Belgium and precipitated the British descent into the first World War. He helped set up a committee to raise money to help the tide of refugees that began to arrive from Belgium over the next few months and I know from my research on Henry George Norris that a lot of them were housed in Earl’s Court exhibition centre - probably temporarily on the grounds that the war would be over by Christmas but I think that in the end, they stayed there until after the Armistice. The worry and strain caused the Comte to retire on health grounds in 1915; but he couldn’t return to his native land, he and his wife had become refugees as well. Marian Charlotte and Edith Frances were well-placed to do a spot of volunteering work amongst the Belgians stuck in the exhibition centre, if they had the mind. The Comte and Comtesse had returned to Belgium by 1919 but the war had had a profound affect on both of them: they both died during that year.


And that’s all there is really. Marian Charlotte Vibart died in September 1932. She had moved again, at least once, though only a few streets west, and died at 35 Castletown Road West Kensington. She had named Henry Meredith Vibart’s son Hugh Henry Rose Vibart - one of the few male Vibarts left - as one of her executors; and her solicitor Thomas Piercy Mills. She is buried next to her mother Eliza in Richmond cemetery.




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. As far as I know, the records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have not survived either.


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


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


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


Catalogues: British Library; 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.




No one called Vibart has an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


For the common ancestor of all 19th-century Vibarts: //, pages on the descendents of James Meredith Vibart 1753-1827, of Somerset.



For JAMES MEREDITH VIBART (died 1827) father of Thomas Gowan Vibart amongst others: Officers of the Bengal Army 1758-1834 volume IV S-Z. Published Phillimore and Co Ltd 1947: p355


Major Edward Vibart, his wife Emily and Cawnpore:

Officers of the Bengal Army 1758-1834 vol IV S-Z. Published Phillimore and Co Ltd 1947. P354.

At is a list of offices killed during the Mutiny.

Edward Daniel Hamilton Vibart, later a Colonel, is the eldest son of Major Edward and Emily. He was stationed at Meerut when the first mutiny began, in May 1857 and was later at the siege of Delhi. The Sepoy Mutiny as Seen by a Subaltern: From Delhi to Lucknow by Colonel Edward Vibart, late 15th Bengal Cavalry. London: Smith and Elder 1898


Marian Charlotte Vibart’s grandfather THOMAS GOWAN VIBART

The Annals of the College of Fort William by Thomas Roebuck, the College secretary, from the college’s official records. Pubished Calcutta 1819: p499, p5o3, p517, p525.

India Office and Burma Office List 1825 p10.

Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany issue of 1837 Home Intelligence items p264 and p312.

Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany issue of 1839 p169 Home Intelligence - a list of recent deaths includes that of Thomas Gowan Vibart of the Bengal Civil Service, at Leamington on 4 September.

For his salary at the end of his career: Bengal and Agra Annual Guide and Gazetteer issue of 1841 p236.


Marian Charlotte Vibart’s grandmother JANE RUSSELL MACNAGHTEN VIBART and her family

Debrett’s The Baronetage of Engl issue of 1839 p457 entry for Francis Workman-MacNaghten. Francis married in 1787; his wife was Letitia daughter of Sir William Dunkin who’d also been a supreme court judge in Calcutta. William Hay MacNaghten was their 2nd son; Jane Russell MacNaghten who married Thomas Gowan Vibart was their 12th child.

At an item on Francis Workman-MacNaghten says that he was chief of the clan from 1832 to 1843.

There’s plenty on the web about William Hay MacNaghten 1793-1841 and he’s also in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography etc.



Marian Charlotte Vibart’s father MEREDITH JAMES VIBART

Via to a copy of the Harrow School Register 1800-1911 now held at University of Toronto. Meredith James Vibart left Harrow in 1838.


India Office archives/Bengal Milit archives eg at IOR/L/MIL/10/47/394 though I found it didn’t contain any information I hadn’t already found elsewhere.

At Addiscombe:

The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany issue of 1840 p213 rpt on the latest exams f entry into the East India Company’s milit seminary.

Addiscombe, its Heroes and Men of Note 1894 London: Archibald Constable and Co of Parliament St W/m. By Meredith James Vibart’s cousin Col Henry Meredith Vibart who is an ex-pupil and now “Royal (late Madras) Engineers” with an introduction by Lord Roberts of Kandahar.

Bengal and Agra Annual Guide and Gazetteer volume II ?1840 p147.

Augustus Fortunatus Bellasis:

British Drawings in the India Office Library: Amateur Artists. HMSO 1969. P105.

The British Library catalogue has a number of books of sketches by Augustus Fortunatus Bellasis 1822-72; though he worked for the East India Company, mostly in its Bombay presidency, he wasn’t a professional artist.

For the Bellasis family see:

British Drawings in the India Office Library: Amateur Artists. HMSO 1969. P105 covers Augustus Bellasis, who had leave 1846-47 which he spent in the Cape Colony. Capt M J Vibart was with him on that period of leave.

Back at Addiscombe:

Via to The Straits Times of 2 October 1849 p4.

Marriage to Eliza Blackburn Lloyd:

Gentleman’s Magazine volume 189 1850 p427: marriage announcement.


Administrative History of Uttarakhand (Kumaon and Garwhal) During the Rule of the East India Company by Dr Ajay Arora of Naini Tal University. Delhi: Eastern Book Linkers 1997.

The fact that Meredith James Vibart was in the Kumaon district is not mentioned in any of the issues of the India Register and Army List for the 1850s. I found out that’s where he and Eliza were from the baptism records of Marian Charlotte and Edith Frances, seen at familysearch.

India Register and Army List issues of 1854-1856 p78 Meredith James Vibart is just listed as serving with the 8th battalion Bengal artillery; and that he had been promoted to Captain on 7 July 1853. The 8th battalion’s headquarters was at Cawnpore though its 4th and 6th companies were in the Punjab.

India Register and Army List1857 and 1858 both issues P78 Meredith James Vibart is now with the 6th battalion Bengal Artillery, whose official headquarters is at Subraon in the Punjab.

India Register and Army List1859 p205.

More generally on Naini Tal, Almora and the Kumaon District

Wikipedia on the Chand kings of Uttarakhand.

At is the Digital South Asia Library. Online there is a copy of the Imperial Gazetteer of India 1909 edition; vol 12 p169 Almora and surrounding district.

Back in Britain:

Edinburgh Gazette 11 October 1861 p1227.

Edinburgh Gazette 20 August 1867 p961.

London Gazette 13 August 1873 p4583.

London Gazette 24 February 1874 p831.


Marian Charlotte Vibart’s mother’s family, the LLOYDS OF RHAGATT MERIONETH

On the web at, the text of Archaeologia Cambrensis issue of 1876; from a copy now at the University of Michigan. The edition included an article by J Y W Lloyd MA: The Lordships of Bromfield. On pp271-74, there’s a section on Edward Lloyd and Frances née Madocks (sic), listing all their 17 children. Frances is the daughter of John Edward Madocks of Vron Iw. The article’s author, J Y W Lloyd is Jacob Youde William Lloyd and the information in the article was later published in his larger work The History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher... published 1884; which also includes information on the ffoulkes family.

Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer. Sally Mitchell. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press 2004.



Birth of Francis Elliot Vibart and of his son Francis Meredith Edmund: familysearch.

India Office file: IOR/L/MIL/10/47/413 says only that he was in the 5th Cavalry. I saw an index for a burial record in the India Office family history section: Bengal 1848.

Francis Elliot’s widow Frances went to live with her mother, Frances Abbott: they are on the census in 1861 and 1871 together, in Blandford Square Marylebone. Frances Abbott died in 1880.

Divorce proceedings between Francis Meredith Edmund Vibart and wife Evelyn Fanny:

Times Tues 25 May 1886 p4 Law Notices, cases being heard today include: Vibart v Vibart.

Evelyn Fanny Vibart married Swainson Howden Akroyd only a few weeks after the divorce had been granted. Francis Meredith Vibart’s daughter Violet Vibart lived with her mother and her mother’s second husband until her marriage. In 1904 she married Bernard Cunliffe Foster of Duncote Hall Towcester, who died very shortly after the day of the 1911 census.


Evelyn Fanny Akroyd died in 1921; there’s a hint in her probate registry details that she had separated from her second husband by this time.

For the descent of Ronald Frank Vibart (1879-1934) through bigamy, alcoholism and pub brawls:

Silence of the Heart: Cricket Suicides by David Frith. Edinburgh: Mainstream 2001. I read a 2011 edition online.

Website gives Ronald Frank Vibart’s DOB as 5 April 1879, at Sidmouth.



Burke’s Peerage 101st edition published 1956 on Letitia Maria Vibart born 1828, married 1854

George Campbell of Edenwood, Ceres, Fifeshire; 3 sons 2 daughters.

Via to Spectator 4 February 1854 p19 marriage announcements

The career of Sir George Campbell 1824-92, lieutenant-governor of Bengal 1871-74, is well covered in wikipedia and Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online.

For the children of George and Letitia Maria Campbell see FAMILY.htm.

Times Fri 25 October 1901 p8 short report on the inquest into the death of [Letitia] Campbell, on Tuesday 22 October 1901 from a suspected overdose of sulphonal. The verdict was ‘misadventure’ (rather than suicide).

At information originally in Webster’s Revised and Unabridged Dictionary issue of 1913 on sulphonal. Roger found a photo on the web of a bottle of sulphonal, brand name ‘Tabloid’, manufactured by Burroughs-Wellcome, now in the museum at St Thomas’s Hospital.



Because she lived in Belgium after her marriage, I’ve found very little on Julia’s life; I don’t know when or where she died.

For her birth (though she is not named), via google to and Calcutta Magazine and Monthly Register issue of 1830 volume 1 p293 Domestic Occurrences for January [1830]: Thomas Gowan Vibart’s wife had given birth to a daughter on 6 January 1830 at Bauleah.

At a page giving information that Julia Ann MaryVibart was born in 1830 in Ramport Bengal.

Allen’s Indian Mail 1855 p243 in a list of recent marriages: on 17 April [1855] at St Mary’s Bryanston Square, Julia A M Vibart to Count de Lalaing.

The bridegroom’s name via freebmd: marriage of Julia Anna Maria Vibart to Maximilien Jean Ghistain (sic) de Lalaing registered Marylebone April-June quarter 1855. I think the name ‘ghistain’ is a mistake: ‘ghislaine’ is more likely.

Julia’s sons, the diplomat and an artist:

Via the web to Who’s Who volume 58 1906 p976.

The Connoisseur 1917 p243 obituary Of Comte Jacques de Lalaing who had died on 10 October 1917.

The International Studio volume 63 1918 p165 Comte Jacques de Lalaing KCMB was a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium.

Who Was Who 1929 p600 obituary of the diplomat Count de Lalaing awarded GCVO 1915.



Familysearch recorded his birth in Calcutta in 1831 but I could find nothing more about him so I presume he died, in India, as an infant.



Times Tuesday 13 September 1859 p1 marriage announcements: on the 10th inst [September 1859] at Ovingdean Church Sussex, Elliot MacNaghten of the Bengal Civil Service, to Jane Maria daughter of the late Thomas Gowan Vibart. Meredith James’ cousin John Vibart (ex-East India Company) and his family were living at Ovingdean at this time. He had married Anna Holland Foster in Bombay; the Fosters were friends of the Bellasis family.

A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain Burke 1835 p307 on the

Workman-MacNaghten family of Beardville co Antrim. Jane Maria Vibart was marrying her first cousin: her bridegroom was the son of Jane Russell MacNaghten’s brother Elliot MacNaghten and his wife Isabella (née Law).

India Register and Army List1858 pxvi Elliot MacNaghten (the bridegroom’s father) of 46 Eaton Square is a member of the court of directors of the East India Company; pxvii he’s been a member since 1842.

At, Elliot MacNaghten (Jane Maria’s husband) lived 1837-March 1875. He and Jane Maria had three sons and two daughters but only one of them, Russell Elliot MacNaghten, married. The fact that Russell has second forename ‘elliot’ is interesting and suggests the family knew GD member Hugh Elliot’s family, the Elliots of Elliot and Watney, brewers of Pimlico.



Parbury’s Oriental Herald and Colonial Intelligencer issue of 1838 p217 in the Home Intelligence section: the wife of Thomas Gowan Vibart had given birth to a daughter on 8 June [1838] at Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Familysearch affiliation publication number RG33 gives a baptism and a burial for her, both at Boulogne. She died in 1845.


The youngest in the family, MEREDITH JAMES VIBART’s sister ELIZA MARIA VIBART

Birth from familysearch and death registration 1876 from freebmd. She never married.



See my biography of Valentine Lacy for more details of these relations. George Forbes Vibart (1825-1893) was Meredith James Vibart’s first cousin - eldest child of John Vibart and his wife Anna Holland Forbes. His wife Annie (died 1910) was Scottish and the couple were living in Scotland by 1871. The actor Henry Vibart was their youngest son - his long career is covered by wikipedia and imdb although both those websites favour his later work in films over the several decades of theatre-work that came first. Henry married the actress and artists’ model Taigi Keene.



Baptism in Almora from familysearch.

A few details on Edith Frances’ husband Frank Grafton Wignall:

London Gazette 6 November 1883 p5264 list of partnerships to be dissolved includes that of Frederick Nock Rudgard and Frank Grafton Wignall wine and spirit merchants at 9 Exchange Arcade Manchester.

London Gazette 28 November 1884 p5556 another list of partnerships to be dissolved: this time it’s Frank Grafton Wignall and Thomas Crosby Peers in business as Mobberley Bone Manure Co at Mobberley Cheshire.

Sources for Edith Frances’ son John Dighton Grafton-Wignall (note the hyphenated surname):

At their British Birds volume 10 number 10 October 1917 p245: obituary of John Dighton Grafton-Wignall by “JWB” who often went on field trips with him.


John’s page in De Ruvigny’s The Roll of Honour 1914-1918 [men in armed forces]..Who Have Fallen in the War. John’s entry is in volume 2 (of 5). It quotes at length from the letters written to Edith Frances, in which the place at which he was killed is referred to as Shatt-el-Hai rather than the modern spelling.

At you can see a memorial tablet to him, on the war memorial in Basrah.

Stephen Cooper’s books on rugby and the first World War;

The Final Whistle: The Great War in Fifteen Players. Stroud: Spellmount 2012. Winner of the Rugby Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2013.

After the Final Whistle: the First Rugby World Cup and The First World War. Stroud: The History Press 2016. Shortlisted for the same award.

Sophy Lloyd:

The County Families of the UK better known as Walford’s County Families. Published annually; I looked at the 60th edition, from 1920: p841, when Sophy Lloyd was still alive.


Marian Charlotte’s mother ELIZA BLACKBURN VIBART

Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, Exeter University.

Their reference Z/DR/3/22-48 is a set of letters written to her sisters by Eliza Blackburn Vibart, covering 1853-58.



Birth and baptism from familysearch.



Earliest evidence I found of its existence:

Cosmopolis volume 8 1897 p923 has The Biltor Ltd at 93 Oxford St.

The patent and the application for its extension:

London Gazette 19 December 1902 p8773.

Reports of Patent, Design and Trade Mark Cases volume 20 [1902] issued by the Patent Office: p285: details of the hearing on the patent extension application.

The Electrical Review volume 52 1903 p646 reported on the outcome of the case.

London Gazette 10 April 1928 p2661 a notice winding up the affairs of the late Emil Alexander Wüterich, issued by solicitors acting for John Valentine Lacy.



BL catalogue: To Ishtar: An Eastern Love Song bound in a volume of other songs from around 1872.

Seen via google a reference to G J Whyte-Melville’s Sarchedon: A Legend of the Great Queen published in 3 volumes London: Chapman and Hall 1871.

Jane Margaret ffoulkes, Eliza Blackburn Vibart’s sister:

For more ‘family history’ information on the ffoulkes family, see my biography of Louisa Florence ffoulkes.

Jane ffoulkes’ daughter Gertrude Mary Frances ffoulkes: see In 1876 money was raised for a ward at Child’s Convalescent Home dedicated to Gertrude’s memory. The Home eventually turned into the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the ward named for Gertrude still exists.





Marian Charlotte’s motto:

at a translation of the Zohar: Genesis Chapter XI The Strange Visitor includes this: “Man is a three-fold product of life (nephesh), spirit (rauch) and soul (neschamah)”...

Kabbala Denudata: The Kabbalah Unveiled by S L MacGregor Mathers ((sic)) 1887. It translates into English the Latin version of Knorr von Rosenroth; it also collates that Latin version with original Chaldean and Hebrew texts. It’s a translation of these books in the Zohar:

1 = book of concealed mystery

2 = the greater holy assembly

3 = the lesser holy assembly.

Collectanea Hermetica volume IV 1894.



Theosophical Society Membership Register March 1895 to June 1898 p181.


16 January 2014

7 February 2021