The Lost Companions and John Ruskins Guild of St George
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Incorporating a wealth of unseen material centred around the remarkable stories of William Graham and other ‘lost companions’, this work provides a new authority on the Guild of St George.

This important work in Ruskin studies provides for the first time an authoritative study of Ruskin’s Guild of St George. It introduces new material that is important in its own right as a significant piece of social history, and as a means to re-examine Ruskin’s Guild idea of self-sufficient, co-operative agrarian communities founded on principles of artisanal (non-mechanised) labour, creativity and environmental sustainability. The remarkable story of William Graham and other Companions lost to Guild history provides a means to fundamentally transform our understanding of Ruskin’s utopianism.

List of Illustrations; Preface; Frequently Cited Sources; Introduction; I. Roots; II. Glimpsing Eden: 1867–70; III. ‘At Least A Beginning’: 1871–75; IV. Opportunities: 1875–77; V. Dreams and Nightmares: 1878–81; VI. The Long Decline and the Great Dispute: 1882–1900; Afterword; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index



Publié par
Date de parution 01 août 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783082841
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0076€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Lost Companions and
John Ruskin’s Guild of St George

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

The Anthem Nineteenth-Century Seriesnar egb a daorrporates inco
of titles within the fields of literature and culture, comprising an excellent collection
of interdisciplinary academic texts. The series aims to promote the most challenging
and original work being undertaken in the field, and encourages an approach that
fosters connections between areas including history, science, religion and literary
theory. Our titles have earned an excellent reputation for the originality and rigour
of their scholarship, and for our commitment to high quality production.

Series Editor

Robert Douglas­Fairhurst – University of Oxford, UK

Editorial Board

Dinah Birch – University of Liverpool, UK
Kirstie Blair – University of Stirling, UK
Archie Burnett – Boston University, USA
Christopher Decker – University of Nevada, USA
Heather Glen – University of Cambridge, UK
Linda K. Hughes – Texas Christian University, USA
Simon J. James – Durham University, UK
Angela Leighton – University of Cambridge, UK
Jo McDonagh – King’s College London, UK
Michael O’Neill – Durham University, UK
Seamus Perry – University of Oxford, UK
Clare Pettitt – King’s College London, UK
Adrian Poole – University of Cambridge, UK
Jan­Melissa Schramm – University of Cambridge, UK

The Lost Companions and
John Ruskin’s Guild of St George

A Revisionary History

Mark Frost

Anthem Press
An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company

This edition first published in UK and USA 2014
75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK
or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK
244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA

Copyright © 2014 Mark Frost

The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above,
no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into
a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means
(electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise),
without the prior written permission of both the copyright
owner and the above publisher of this book.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Frost, Mark, author.
The lost companions and John Ruskin’s Guild of St George : a
revisionary history / Mark Frost.
pages cm. – (Anthem Nineteenth­Century Series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978­1­78308­283­4 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1. Ruskin, John, 1819–1900. 2. fo .tSGdliueg.eGro e. iTltI .
PR5263.F76 2014

ISBN­13: 978 1 78308 283 4 (Hbk)
ISBN­10: 1 78308 283 6 (Hbk)

Cover image: Gravestone of William Graham, St Leonard’s Church,
Ribbesford, Bewdley, courtesy of the author.

This title is also available as an ebook.

To my wonderful family, and most especially to Becky, whose love, patience, and support
since I started out on the old road with Ruskin cannot be measured; and to all lost
companions, past and present.




Chapter Four

Chapter Three

Chapter Five

Dreams and Nightmares: 1878–81

List of Illustrations















Chapter One


Chapter Six


Companions of the Guild of St George: Early Lists




Frequently Cited Sources





Opportunities: 1875–77


The Long Decline and the Great Dispute: 1882–1900


Glimpsing Eden: 1867–70

Chapter Two

‘At Least a Beginning’: 1871–75

Fig. 1.

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 4.


Timeline of Guild Schemes, 1871–91 (Mark Frost and Rob Worrell).

John Ruskin, Saint George and the Dragon, after Carpaccio. 1872. Sepia, pencil, and
ink with white highlights on paper. Guild of St George Collection, Sheffield.

William Harrison Riley, June 1902. Yale Sterling Memorial Library. MS417.

Opening page of letter, William Buchan Graham to William Harrison Riley, 23
January 1888. Yale Sterling Memorial Library. MS417.

Fig. 5. John Guy c.1870. Figures 5–10 are from Howie and Leyland, A Gu yaFimyl
Historyimreoissik yp dnudcl bedan, ind . tsdnnaseecgnd ilivy’s n Gu John of

Fig. 6.

Fig. 7.

Fig. 8.

Fig. 9.

Mary Eliza Hey c.1870.

John Guy with his children, Lottie, Nellie, George, and John Beecher, Leeds,

George, John, John Beecher, Nellie, and Lottie Guy, Auckland, c.1895.

George, Nellie, Mary Elizabeth, Lottie, and John Guy, Haslett Street, Auckland,

Fig. 10. John Guy, 1920s.


The production of this book has been a remarkable and long adventure. It was given life
because of archival discoveries, and archival research has sustained it, leading me into a
maelstrom of conflicting voices, perspectives, and ideas. Making sense of it all has been
difficult and exhilarating, and I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to bring
to light much that has for too long remained shrouded in secrecy. I can only endorse those
suggesting that as academics we neglect archives at our peril. Errors in what follows are
all my own. The work has meant much dogged solitude, but has relied upon much kind
assistance. Not least amongst those deserving thanks are the archival staff I encountered
between 2009 and 2013. Particular thanks should go to the excellent Ruth Rogers and
Mariana Oller at Wellesley College Special Collections. On a single, speculative day
visit there, Ruth unexpectedly placed in front of me the remarkable (and at that time
only partially catalogued) Mss 1887–89, the manuscript containing William Graham’s
‘article’ that alerted me to the startling story that gave this book its purpose. Ruth’s
kindness in humouring a frantic academic desperately transcribing the end of the article
fifteen minutes after closing time (and at a moment when she sorely needed to leave) will
never be forgotten. On subsequent visits Ruth and Mariana made me extremely welcome
and permitted me to fully mine the Mss, and I hope to work with them again in the
future. The incomparable Stephen Wildman, Rebecca Finnerty, and staff at the Ruskin
Library, Lancaster University; and Elizabeth Fuller at the Rosenbach, Philadelphia were
also particularly helpful during my travels. Everyone in Ruskin Studies owes much to the
precise, painstaking work of James Dearden, and to his role in preserving Ruskin’s traces,
but I am also indebted to him for quietly pointing me in the direction of a reference
in Anthony Harris’s 1985 Guild lecture to Sylvia Baynes, an untraced New Zealand
descendant of Guild Companion, John Guy. I am grateful to Anthony too, and to Cedric
Quayle who first tried to contact Sylvia in the 1980s, but am particularly indebted to
Angie Summersgill, a wonderful New Zealand friend who successfully traced Sylvia,
who very kindly provided me with information, support, and an invaluable copy of the
privately printed A Guy Family Historyby apetmiS .J aber elycos idnsw ym krocirn deh
sending me James Burdon’s now obscure account of his Guild experiences, and deserves
gratitude for his kindness and energy. Many people have assisted in various ways during
the project, including my father and mother, Ron and Rose, whose genealogical skills
have been extremely valuable in tracing various obscure lives, and who deserve too many
other thanks to be listed here. I am extremely grateful to Mike and Frances Thompson,
whose generosity permitted me an entry back into academia after some years in the
backwoods, and who made everything that followed possible. Stuart Eagles, Sara Atwood,



Carmen Casaliggi, Andrew Russell, and Anthem Press’s readers have provided support
and invaluable feedback. The Guild of St George, and its present Master, Clive Wilmer,
have granted permission for the inclusion of an image within the present volume, and
have been quietly supportive in many ways. Under Clive’s leadership the organisation
now exemplifies the best of Ruskin’s social vision. It has been a pleasure to spend time
in the company of John and Linda Iles, the present occupants of the Guild’s Uncllys
Farm on the Bewdley estate, and to connect with lands so important to the study that
follows. The compassionate, enthusiastic work at Uncllys represents the finest practical
inheritance of the Guild. It has been an honour to spend time with Ce

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