Ancient & Modern



History of Theosophy in Wales



Foundation of

Cardiff Lodge 1911


From first meetings in 1908 Cardiff Lodge affiliated itself

to the Adyar Theosophical Society in 1911 and

maintained its affliation until March 2010 .

The intervening years have seen many changes in the Theosophical Movement in Wales including its

establishment as an independent entity and the sadly

missed Welsh National Society, which existed from

1922 to 1990 and which had the power to influence

Adyar policy at European and international level.


Theosophy in Wales now has no controlling body and is

comprised of independent groups who run their own show



Return to History Index




The present Theosophical Society Lodge in Cardiff applied for and was granted its charter by Annie Besant on June 10th 1911. Original minutes from 1911 still exist records and its workings are referred to in the minutes of the first Executive Committee meeting of the South Wales Group of the T.S. in England and Wales held on October 20th 1917. This meeting in 1917 was the first move in the process that eventually established a separate Adyar Theosophical organisation in Wales.


Cardiff Lodge was the earliest known Lodge affiliated to the Adyar based Theosophical Society in Cardiff although various groups are known to have existed prior to 1911 and a Lodge of the Point Loma, Pasadena based Theosophical Society is known to have been in existence in 1895. Another (Adyar) Lodge in Cardiff known as the Cardiff Dewi Sant Lodge affiliated itself in 1921 but the Lodge was dissolved in 1928 for reasons which are unknown.


References have been found to Lodges in Penarth 1891, Cardiff 1894 and a Blavatsky Lodge in Cardiff around the same time but these were self styled Lodges and not affiliated officially to the Adyar organization although they were certainly formed by paid up Society members.


Cardiff Lodge Gets off the Ground


A meeting was held on March 18th 1911 with Basil Stevenson Howell in the chair and it was decided that a suitable room should be hired for meetings. For the Lodge Miss B de Norman would be secretary and Mrs O S Stevenson Howell would be librarian.


On April 29th 1911 it was proposed that members pay 1/- (5p) per month and that associated members pay the same. The difference between the two grades on membership is unclear but suggests that approval was required for full Lodge membership. There would be fortnightly public meetings and a weekly study group. It was decided that the Lodge would apply for a charter from Adyar.


A charter was subsequently applied for with the following officials in office

Rev. Tyssul Davies - Lodge President

Mr Patrick - Vice President

Miss B de Norman - Secretary

Mr B Stevenson Howell – Treasurer


Mrs O S Stevenson Howell & Miss B Norman were elected as delegated to the Southern Federation of the T.S. in England and Wales (Theosophical groups in Wales did not exist as a separate entity from a British or England and Wales Section until the formation of the Welsh National Society of the Theosophical Society in 1922) It is known that in September 1916 a meeting of groups I and III of the Southern Federation was held at 4 St Margaret’s Terrace, Cheltenhan, Glos. Cardiff Lodge was part of Group I which included Newport Swansea and Penarth.


Early Lodge Meetings


The first official Lodge meeting was held at Duke Street Chambers, Cardiff with Tyssul Davies in the chair. There were problems with finance and Peter Freeman proposed that all those who could afford to pay more than 1/- per month should do so.


On November 8th 1911 It is recorded that furnishing the meeting room was putting too much of a strain on the finances and Peter Freeman offered to loan the Lodge £10 to be repaid over 2 years. Arnold Freeman (Peters brother) offer to conduct lectures in several town the following February. Arnold Freeman is believed to be the engineer responsible for the design of Sidney Harbour Bridge in Australia.


On December 10th 1911 Mr H Trammel was asked to take charge of advertising with a budget of 10/- (50p) per lecture. Mr W C James, the father of leading Welsh Theosophist Charles James (1913 -2000), became a full member of the Lodge. It is known from Charles James (1913 – 2000) that his mother, grandmother, and great aunt in addition to his father were all associate members at the foundation of the Lodge.


On February 2nd 1912 Mr William Charles James (Father of Charles James) proposed the start of a 3rd Object group



Known Events


May 1912 Lady Emily Lutyens delivered a lecture at Penarth Public Library entitled “The Riddle of Life and how Theosophy Unveils it”. Local papers reported the event.


Dec 1912 Lecture at Woodland Hall, Penarth by an unnamed speaker on the subject of Reincarnation.


Library Venue Causes Controversy


Dec 4th 1912 There was a complaint in the Western Mail by the Rev. Chas Halden about the Theosophical Society being allowed to lecture in Penarth Public Library when certain religions were excluded from the venue. This correspondence continued over a few days.


Dec 14th 1912 Letters on the subject appear in the south Wales Echo and the Barry Dock News.


Dec 19th  1912 The Daily News takes up the matter and an the Library Committee is compelled to review the situation.


Dec 26th 1912 Publication of the Objects of the Society in the Penarth Time settles the matter



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Cardiff Theosophical Society

206 Newport Road,

Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF24 -1DL




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H P Blavatsky’s Heavy Duty

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Pages About Wales

General pages about Wales, Welsh History

and The History of Theosophy in Wales


Wales is a Principality within the United Kingdom

and has an eastern border with England.

The land area is just over 8,000 square miles.

Snowdon in North Wales is the highest mountain at 3,650 feet.

The coastline is almost 750 miles long.

 The population of Wales as at the 2001 census is 2,946,200.


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