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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


John Gordon Hargrave



(circa 1920)


Written and compiled by George Knowles


John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) was a British writer, artist, inventor and politician.  He was best known as the founder of the Kibbo Kift Kindred (KKK) in 1920, an alternative Scouting movement opposed to the militaristic views of Lord Baden-Powell.  Later the KKK evolved into the politically active Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit and later still The Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


Born on the 6th Jun 1894, John Gordon Hargrave was the second son born to Gordon Hargrave and Bibet Bing, a poor Quaker family in Midhurst, Sussex.  Soon after his birth, his father, a struggling landscape painter, moved the family to Hawkshead, Cumbria, a picturesque rural area of the Lake District where Hargrave gained a lifelong passion for the countryside and its wild animals.  While his formal schooling was perfunctory, by the age of 12 he was producing professional line drawings and illustrations for new book publications, including those by the well-known Scottish author John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir).


In 1908 after first joining the newly formed Boy Scouts movement founded by Lord Baden-Powell, Hargrave quickly rose through the ranks earning a reputation as a leading outdoorsman.  Later moving to Buckinghamshire to further his career as a commercial artist, by the age of just 17, he was working as the chief cartoonist for the London Evening Times.  His main passion however was in nature and Scouting, and using the pseudonym “White Fox”; he wrote a regular column on Woodcraft for the Scouting magazine The Trail, and soon attracted an enthusiastic readership.



Hargrave aged 17


Inspired by the works of a Ernest Thompson Seton, the American naturalist and a leading authority on Woodcraft, Hargrave wrote his first book Lonecraft (1913) aimed at encouraging boys who lived too far away from an established Scout troop to go it alone and become “Lone Scouts”.  The book was well received and popular, and even earned him a visit from the sons of King George V, both anxious to learn more from the celebrated White Fox.




Lord Baden-Powell  -  Ernest Thompson Seton


At the start World War I in 1914, Hargrave joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).  Quickly rising to Sergeant in charge of stretcher-bearers, he was attached to the 10th (Irish) Division serving in action at Gallipoli and Suvla Bay during the Dardanelle’s campaign.  By 1916 however he was wracked with malaria and invalided out of the army to convalesce at home.  After he had recovered sufficiently, Lord Baden-Powell appointed him the British Commissioner for Woodcraft and Camping in the UK.  He was also invited onto the Grand Council of the newly formed Order of Woodcraft Chivalry (OWC), founded by a fellow Quaker, Ernest Westlake in 1916.



Ernest Westlake


In 1919 Hargrave married Ruth Clark, a leader in the Camp Fire Girls movement, an alternative to the Girl Guides originally founded in the USA.  Clark whose Woodcraft name was Minobi (meaning Glad Heart) had just published Camp Fire Training For Girls (1919) the first book about Woodcraft written specifically for girls.  A year after their marriage, she bore them a son and named him Ivan Gordon Hargrave.




John Hargrave and Ruth Clark


By this time having experienced the horrors of war at first hand and written about his experiences in his book The Great War Brings It Home (1919), Hargrave became disenchanted with Baden-Powell’s continuing militaristic emphasis on Scouting and in 1920 formed his own movement, the Kibbo Kift Kindred (the phrase “Kibbo Kift” is an old Kentish term meaning “those of great strength”).




Hargrave and the Kibbo Kift Logo


Like Westlake’s Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, Hargrave created the Kibbo Kift Kindred not just as a passive alternative to the Boy Scouts, but also to engage all sections of society in both physical and spiritual activities outdoors in touch with nature.  Similar to Seton’s Woodcraft Indians, he organised the KKK into Clans, Tribes and Lodges, in which each member was given a special woodcraft name.


During their weekend activities of hiking and camping members were encouraged to make their own tents and wear handmade uniforms typically consisting of a Saxon styled hooded-cloak, jerkin and shorts.  At larger ceremonial meetings like the annual “Whitsun Gathering”, called the “Althing”, where different Clans, Tribes and Lodges paraded with their tribal Totems, tents were decorated in bright colours and elaborate robes and regalia embossed with symbolic designs were worn or carried, particularly by officers and leaders such as the Camp-warden, Tally-keeper and Master of Ceremonies.



The opening ceremony of the 1927 “Althing” showing members dressed in ceremonial robes.


While membership of the Kibbo Kift was never substantial compared to the Boy Scouts movement, it soon attracted a number of prominent members, including:  Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, May Billinghurst and Mary Neal CBE, the journalist Henry Nevinson and the photographer Angus McBean.  The advisory Council also included such distinguished people as:  the arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the psychologist/author Havelock Ellis, the Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck, the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, the author H. G. Wells and the biologist Sir Julian Sorell Huxley.




Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, May Billinghurst and Mary Neal CBE were also leading ladies of the suffragette movement


In 1923 Hargraves met Major C. H. (Clifford Hugh) Douglas, a British engineer and pioneer of the Social Credit movement, particularly in Canada.  Hargrave’s was convinced that the benefits of Social Credit system would eradicate the poverty and unemployment of post war Britain, and so gradually incorporated its theology into the KKK.  However, by doing so, he also changed it’s ‘back-to-nature’ emphasis to one of political activism.



C. H. Douglas (1879 – 1952)


Not all members of the KKK were happy with these changes, which inevitably led to a schism.  In 1925 after he refused to recognise a new South London Lodge called “The Brockleything”, a number of members led by Leslie Paul, formed a break-a-way faction that became known as the “Woodcraft Folk”, a movement that still remains active today.


Undaunted Hargrave continued to focus his attention on the Social Credit movement and in 1930 set up a “Legion of the Unemployed” in Coventry”.  Dressed in Para-military style uniforms with green shirts and berets, they became known as the Legion of the Kibbo Kift.  Later as political activism became the main stay of their activities, the Kibbo Kift name was dropped altogether and all vestiges of their ‘back-to-nature’ origins disappeared.  By 1935 they were known simply as the Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit.




Hargrave as leader of the Green Shirts and a poster promoting Social Credit


From there on in the Green Shirts became part of the street politics of the 1930s marching through streets accompanied by their own Corps of Drums.  While their main propaganda was aimed at the “fat cat” financial institutions and particularly the Bank of England, not all their actions were peaceful for they regularly engaged in battles with Oswald Mosley’s “Blackshirt” fascist movement, supporters of the Communist Party and other left-wing activists throughout Britain.



Marching with their own Corps of Drums


While the Green Shirts remained popular amongst the unemployed, as a political party in Britain they gained little support.  Re-named the Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, they stood just a single candidate, W. Townend, in the General Election of 1935, at which they won just 11% of the vote for Leeds South.  Disappointed, Hargrave traveled to Canada where William Aberhart had successfully won the Province of Alberta for the Social Credit Party.  Acting as an economic advisor to the new government he was later discredited by none other than Major Douglas, who disapproving of partisan politics claimed that Hargrave lacked the experience for the post.


Returning to England a year later the Social Credit Party suffered yet another blow, with hostilities brewing in Europe and eventually leading to WWII, a Public Order Act was passed banning the wearing of uniforms by non-military personnel.  By this time his preoccupation with politics had also caused his marriage to Ruth Clark to deteriorate, they separated and later divorced in the 1950s, after which he formed a new relationship with a popular West End actress called Gwendolyn Gray.


During World War II (1939-1945) all activities of the Social Credit Party were suspended as Hargraves encouraged his Green Shirt members to join the armed forces in support of the war effort.  Sitting out the war himself, Hargraves continued to earn a living from his writing, during which time he produced a biting biography of the then Governor of the Bank of England entitled Professor Skinner alias Montague Norman.  He also kept in touch with core members of his Green Shirts through a weekly newspaper column entitled A Message from Hargrave, and published Word Win Wars, a book about the propaganda of the Government’s war efforts.


During a visit to one of his friends, an RAF pilot, they discussed the problems most aviators had navigating in a cockpit with folded paper maps.  As a result, Hargrave dreamed up a mechanical display unit that showed moving map images of the ground thus acting as an “Automatic Navigator” for the aircraft.  With the aid of Cedric Williams, a brilliant young optical engineer, they built a prototype and patented the design of the invention.  However, after being tested by the RAF, it was deemed to be too expensive to produce at that time, then left on a shelf and forgotten about.  The invention re-emerged later in the 1960’s much to the consternation of the Government.



The Automatic Navigator invented by Hargrave


Also during the war, Hargrave discovered he had the ability to heal through the “laying on of hands”, and so spent a number of years experimenting with a variety of alternative “psychic” and “hands on healing” techniques.  After the war, further attempts to rebuild the Social Credit Party met with little success, but never one to give up easily, in the 1950 General Election, Hargrave himself stood as a candidate for Stoke Newington and Hackney.  After gaining just 551 votes and losing his deposit, he finally realised the futility of trying again and a year later on the 12th May 1951 passed a resolution to dissolve the Party as a political organisation.


After the final demise of the Social Credit Party in Britain,  Hargarve settled down into a life of relative obscurity with his new partner Gwendolyn Gray, who he later married in 1968.  Continuing to earn a living as a freelance writer, commercial artist and author of books, of which he wrote The Life And Soul Of Paracelsus (1951), The Paragon Dictionary (1952) and a re-write of his WWI experiences The Suvla Bay Landing (1964).  He also wrote an entry on Paracelsus for the 15th Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and regularly published illustrations and cartoons in such leading publications as Vanity Fair and the Daily Sketch.


In 1967 Hargrave once again gained public notoriety when after reading an article in the Sunday Times he learned that “Concorde”, the new super-plane being built in collaboration between the British and French Governments was to be equipped with a moving map display.  After more research and from descriptions and photographs, this appeared to be similar to the “Automatic Navigator” he had patented during WWII.  What followed was a long and drawn-out battle with the Government for recognition and reward.


Initially his claim was dismissed out-of-hand, but eventually in 1976 he was able to force a full Public Enquiry.  Unable to afford an expensive barrister to take on the might of the Governments professional legal team, Hargrave prepared and conducted his own defence.  Sadly however, while the enquiry conceded that Hargrave’s invention had indeed been copied and developed to create a modern equivalent for Concorde, they disallowed any monetary award on a trivial point of technicality.


After the stress of the enquiry Hargrave, now 82 years of age, was undoubtedly tired and deflated, but his spirit was rekindled later that year when a Rock Musical called The Kibbo Kift was staged at the now famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Written by Christopher John Judge Smith in collaboration with composer Max Hutchinson, it related the story of his early movement.  Hargrave himself was invited to the Traverse Theatre for the “First Night Performance”, which proved to be well received, so much so that it was staged again in the following year at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.


Old memories die hard they say, for the effect of the musical brought many old comrades back together.  Inspired by this, Hargrave spent his last few years setting up a Foundation of the Kibbo Kift, this he dedicated to maintaining an historic record of events and preserving some of the regalia worn by members of the KKK and its successors, The Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit and The Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Today the Foundation’s extensive paper records are held by The British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, while their substantial collection of costumes, robes, banners and other physical artefacts are housed in The Museum of London.


On the 06th June 1981 to mark his 87th birthday, a reunion of Kibbo Kift Kindred and members of the Green Shirts was held at Ashton-Under-Hill, Warwickshire, after which his health began to fail.  Having led such a colourful and extraordinary life, just a year later at the age of 88, Hargrave died in London on the 21st November 1982.



Burial site at Hampstead Cemetery in London, England


 May he rest in peace?

A select bibliography:


Lonecraft (1913)

At Suvla Bay (1916)

The Wigwam Papers (1916)

The Totem Talks (1918)

Tribal Training (1919)

The Great War Brings It Home (1919)

The Confession of the Kibbo Kift (1927)

The Alberta Report (1937)

Words Win Wars (1940)

Social Credit Clearly Explained (1945)

The Life And Soul Of Paracelsus (1951)

The Paragon Dictionary (1952)

The Suvla Bay Landing (1964)

The Facts of the Case Concerning the Hargrave Automatic Navigator for Aircraft (1969)





Plus to many others to mention.



Written and compiled on the 09th November 2011 © George Knowles


Best wishes and Blessed Be


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About me:

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Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /  Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /    


Sabbats and Festivals:


The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:


Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:

(Our Ancestors)


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagorasParacelsus /  Abramelin the Mage Archimedes AgrippaSocrates  /  AristotleAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” /  



A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Aidan A KellyAleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen DuncanHermann Löher /  Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /  Lambert Daneau /  Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithPatricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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