Dorothy Clutterbuck

Dorothy Clutterbuck (1880 - 1951)

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Dorothy Clutterbuck
Born in British Indiamap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died in New Forest, Hampshire, Englandmap
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Profile last modified | Created 25 Feb 2016
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Categories: Wicca Project.

Gardnerian Wicca


The Muse Of Modern Witchcraft

Dorothy Clutterbuck (19 January 1880 – 12 January 1951), was a wealthy Englishwoman who was named by Gerald Gardner as a leading member of the New Forest coven, a group of pagan Witches into which Gardner claimed to have been initiated in 1939. Clutterbuck was a practising Anglican Christian, and never publicly identified herself as a witch, which would've been common for that time period. Clutterbuck was born in British India, and was the daughter of Thomas St. Quentin Clutterbuck, a British army officer. After her father's retirement, she appears to have moved back to England and to have lived with him in the Christchurch area of the New Forest in southern England. At the age of 55 she married Rupert Fordham, a local Justice of the Peace who was of high rank in the Salvation Army. Fordham died in May 1939 in a car accident. The one scandal attached to her was an allegation that Rupert Fordham was already married to a mentally ill woman, so that the two were not legally married. Clutterbuck had reverted to her maiden name by the time of her death. After her death in 1951, Clutterbuck was identified by Gerald Gardner as a leading member of the New Forest coven of witches into which he claimed to have been initiated in September 1939. Gardner referred to her only as "Old Dorothy" in his publications, but gave her full name to personal acquaintances. Gardner's statements were interpreted by his pupil Doreen Valiente as implying that Clutterbuck had personally initiated him into the coven, but later authors such as Philip Heselton and Eleanor Bone claim that his initiator was in fact Edith Woodford-Grimes. Some writers, such as historian Jeffrey Russell, suggested that "Old Dorothy" had been invented by Gardner, but Valiente, knowing her full name, obtained her birth, marriage and death certificates and published a basic outline of her life in 1985 to prove that she really existed. Clutterbuck left three volumes of diaries, which are actually more similar to commonplace books, filled with daily poems and illustrations and intended to be read by visitors to her home.

The researchers Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton have both read Clutterbuck's diaries, and have come to entirely different conclusions on their contents. Hutton believes that Clutterbuck's poems show her to be a "simple" and "kindly" woman with no connections with paganism or the occult.[1] Heselton, on the other hand, believes that her writings reveal that "Dorothy was a pagan in all but name." The evidence cited by Heselton and his supporters consists both of the absence of overt Christian themes and the apparent presence of pagan sentiments. Heselton notes that "there is hardly a mention of Jesus and it seems as if her deepest spiritual experiences come from nature and, particularly, her garden." Little Christian sentiment is expressed, even on Christian holidays. The diaries also contain frequent references to fairies and the full moon; bits of herb-lore, and occasionally vivid descriptions of classical gods such as Aurora. Other examples seem more ambiguous, and could equally express Christian or Pagan sentiment, or simple poetic metaphor.

Dorothy Clutterbuck India Births and Baptisms Name Dorothy Clutterbuck Gender Female Christening Date 21 Feb 1880 Christening Place Umbala, Bengal, India Birth Date 19 Jan 1880 Race White Father's Name Thomas St. Quintin Clutterbuck Mother's Name Ellen Anne


  • "India Births and Baptisms, 1786-1947," database, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Dorothy Clutterbuck, 21 Feb 1880; citing Umbala, Bengal, India, reference v 171 p 54; index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 510,862.

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No known carriers of Dorothy's ancestors' mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Dorothy Clutterbuck Diary
Dorothy Clutterbuck Diary


Dorothy is 36 degrees from Rosa Parks, 30 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 21 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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