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Leadbeater's birthdate - why ask?

Nov 03, 2008 09:20 AM
by danielhcaldwell

Gregory Tillett in July 2007 published on
Theos-Talk the following helpful summary
concerning when Leadbeater was born:

Leadbeater's birthdate - why ask?

Arguments suggesting some "mix up" or inadequacy in documents 
relating to Leadbeater's birth date are patently nonsense which can 
only be peddled by the profoundly ignorant or the manifestly 

The evidence for the birthdate of 1854, in summary, consists of:

1. the registration of the birth at the Stockport Registry Office
[information provided by Leadbeater's Father];
2. the birth certificate subsequently issued [information provided by
Leadbeater's Father];
3. the registration of the Baptism in Stockport Parish Church 
provided by Leadbeater's Father];
4. the information reported for the census return submitted by
Leadbeater's father in 1861;
5. the information reported for the census return submitted by
Leadbeater's father in 1871;
6. the age for Leadbeater included on the death certificate for
Leadbeater's father [information provided by Leadbeater's mother];
7. the information provided to Anglican Diocesan authorities when
Leadbeater applied for ordination [information provided by 
8. the information reported for the census return submitted by 
in 1881;
9. the age for Leadbeater included on the death certificate for
Leadbeater's mother [information provided by Leadbeater].

I note that sources 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 involved the submission of
information to an official source as required by law, and with severe
penalties applied for providing false information. Thus, in sources 8 
and 9 Leadbeater himself made a formal declaration under penalty of 
law declaring himself to be of an age which required that the year of 
his birth was 1854. He either then committed perjury ? or 
subsequently lied about his age.

The TS (Adyar) position on Leadbeater's birthdate now seems ambiguous.
Some of his books reproduced by the TPH include the dates 1847-1935; 
some simply refer to the date of his death (1934).

Hugh Shearman of the (Adyar) TS and a Priest of the Liberal Catholic
Church, in a pamphlet biography also reproduced as an introduction to 
a Liberal Catholic Church publication of Leadbeater's "The Christian
Gnosis", accepted the 1854 date.

Peter Michel (a Leadbeater defender) in his "Charles W. Leadbeater. 
Mit den Augen des Geistes. Die Biographie eines grossen Eingeweihten"
(Aquarian Verlag, Voglherd: 1998), undertook detailed research 
intended to prove the false date, but accepted the 1854 date.

Robert Ellwood (of the Adyar TS and a Liberal Catholic Priest) seems 
to accept the 1854 date for his biographical entry on Leadbeater in 
the recent "Theosophical Encyclopedia" (2006:367).

Pedro Oliveria (an employee of the TS(Adyar) in Australia and a 
Liberal Catholic bishop) accepts the 1854 date on his website about 
Leadbeater [] declaring that 
Leadbeater "was born in Stockport, Cheshire, England, on 16 February 
1854, to Charles and Emma Leadbeater. This date of birth was given in 
the English census of 1861, 1871 and 1881. After his mother died, in 
May 1882, his date of birth was given as 17 February 1847 and it 
appears in the 1891 census. This was also the date he used in his 
passport. His reason for using a different date of birth is not 
known, although research about it continues."

The Liberal Catholic Church, after having resolved at its General
Episcopal Synod meeting in Sydney in the latter half of 1996 that
Leadbeater was born in 1847, despite apparent evidence to the 
contrary, in the "Table of Apostolic Succession in the Liberal 
Catholic Church including Relevant Episcopal Consecrations, 
Appointments and Jurisdiction 1719 ? 2002" (The St Alban Press, 
London, 2003) bearing the imprimatur of the then Presiding Bishop, 
Ian Hooker, now states that Leadbeater was born on 16 February, 1854.

Dr Gregory Tillett

See also Dr. Gregory's work at:

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