The John Sebastian Marlow Ward Website

Early Life of J.S.M. Ward

About John Sebastian Marlow Ward
Early Life of J.S.M. Ward
Ward as a Medium & Spiritualist
Ward and Freemasonry
JSM Ward as a Historian
J.S.M. Ward as an Author
J.S.M. Ward and the Abbey of Christ the King
The Abbey Church in Barnet
The Folk Park
Ward and the Anglican Church
Ward and the Masonic Research Society
Churchill Sibley and the Orthodox Catholic Church
Ward and the Orthodox Catholic Church
The Abbey and the War
The Dorothy Lough Case
Mar Georgius and the Katholicate of the West
The Consecrations
The Consecration of Bishop Chamberlain
Ward driven from England.
The Community in Cyprus
Death of J.S.M. Ward
Ward's Work survives his Death
Key Associates of J.S.M. Ward
His Mystic partner, Jessie Ward
Life of John Churchill Sibley
Last of Ward's priests; Peter Gilbert Strong
Ward's son; John Reginald Cuffe
Other Individuals Associated with JSM Ward
The Spiritual Journey of J.S.M. Ward
Ward as a Mystic
Ward and the First Apocalypse
Other Key Apocalypses
Ward and the Return of Christ
The Legacy of J.S.M. Ward
The Basic Theology of J.S.M. Ward
WARD'S THEOLOGY; The Nature of God
WARD'S THEOLOGY: The Work of Salvation
WARD'S THEOLOGY; God's Great Plan
The Mystical Theology of J.S.M. Ward
Ward's family had long been staunch Anglicans, and in the years before his birth they generally supported the Anglo-Catholic party during the controversies that took place within the Anglican Church in the mid 19th century. At that time many members of the Church of England felt drawn to the Church of Rome, and when the Church of England as a whole proved intractable some of the most active of these Anglo-Catholics actually converted to the Church of Rome. The best-known of these was John Newman, later Cardinal Newman, who converted in 1845 and whose personal story was published in 1864 as The Apologia pro Vita Sua, which still remains in print.
Most Anglo-Catholics, however, remained within the Established Church and this included Ward's grandfather and father, who were both Anglican clergymen. Thus John Sebastian Marlowe Ward was born into a staunchly Anglo-Catholic family and this background clearly set the stage for his later exploration of spiritual values.

John Sebastian Marlow Ward was born in Belize, British Honduras, on 22 December 1885 and clearly the service of God was in his blood, for both his father and grandfather were priests within the Anglican Church


His grandfather, the Reverend Horatio James Ward, (called “Old Horatio” in Gone West) had been vicar of Morville in Shropshire and was also headmaster of Bridgnorth Grammar School. His father, the Reverend Herbert Marlow Ward was a staunch Anglo-Catholic, though unlike Cardinal Newman he never went over to Rome. e ha He had married Alice Carver in      and when their first son, John was born, they were in Belize City, the capital of what is now Belize in Central America, where his father was at that time a missionary attached to the Church of St. Mary, Belize City. Herbert Ward then became Rector of that church from 1886 to 1888, after which he returned to England and was appointed Rector of the Church of St. Andrew, Fulham, until 1893 when he became diocesan Inspector of Leicestershire and Rutland. He moved back to Fulham in 1895 then to Wath-on-Dearne in 1897. He remained there for twelve years and then moved to London, to St. Mary the Virgin Church in Soho.


Thus it was that John and his younger brother Reginald, grew up in and near London where the two boys attended the Merchant Taylor’s School. Although three years apart in age, the brothers were close; Reginald was rather plump, whilst Ward himself was always tall and relatively slim. Within the family John was always known as "Jack" and Reginald as "Rex", but in this article, we will continue to call John Ward, "John", the name by which he was known to the world.


John had extremely poor eyesight and wore thick glasses from about six years of age and when he first started wearing them he found them very strange. After leaving the optometrist’s wearing them for the first time his father proposed to send John home alone on the bus and gave him a half-penny for the bus-fare home. “Oh, father,” John apparently said, “the fare is ha’pence and you have only given me a farthing”. Not until his father had shown him what a farthing now looked like, did he begin to realise that his new glasses made everything look small.


As the family followed the Reverend Herbert Ward from post to post, John Ward’s childhood was a little unsettled, but nevertheless happy.   Later, he was to write of his father, `Truth to tell, the author learnt the foundations of his faith from a most excellent father, a clergyman of the Church of England, who saw to it that he understood what the church stood for without leaning too much to any extreme part." (The Psychic Powers of Christ- Prologue, p. 7).[1].


From the Merchant Taylor’s School John gained an Open Scholarship to Trinity Hall Cambridge and went up in 1905 to read History. He gained his BA in 1908, graduating with honours and majoring in History. He was granted an MA in February 1925, by which time he was also a Fellow of the Royal Economic Society (F.R.E.S.) and Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. (F.R.S.S.)


Three months after going down from Cambridge on 18 December 1908, he was married by his father in Weybridge Parish Church to Eleanor Caroline Lanchester, or 'Carrie' as he called her. She was his second cousin and several years older than he and they had one child, a daughter, born in October 1909 (Gone West, p. 24), whom they named Blanche[2].


From 1908 to 1914 Ward lived a simple family life as a teacher in English secondary schools and also lectured in Cambridge, but the latter year marked the end of his youth and the beginning of his real Quest. Two major life-shaping changes occurred during that year - his twenty-ninth. The first came early in the year, when his uncle Henry Jones Lanchester, (H.J.L.) died, and soon afterwards contacted Ward from the Afterlife. This was Ward’s first intimation that he was mediumistic and the resulting communications showed him that the rather vague teachings about life after death, which is all that his traditional Anglicanism provided, were very far from accurate[3]. The second incident came late in the year, shortly after the outbreak of World War I, when Ward was appointed headmaster of the Anglican Diocesan High School in Rangoon, Burma and it was whilst in the Far East that Ward began to understand the idea of reincarnation.


Together these two discoveries were sufficient to start him on a life-long quest that became his personal voyage of discovery .

[1] In 1934 when Ward finally told his father about his belif in reincarnation, he was astonished to receive the reply 'My Boy, I have known it for a long time"  (Father Peter's Diaries) 

[2] She had a serious illness in 1932 which left her paralysed down one side. Ward later is said to have described her as `a bitter atheist' (Evening News - 10 May 1945, p. 4)

[3] Although Anglicanism is a broad Church and individuals express different views, its Thirty-Nine Articles include one that specifically condemns the "Popish Doctrine of Purgatrory" and officially at least, it believes that after death we pass to either  Heaven or Hell, without the possibiity of any intermediate state. Ward found this to be manifestly incorrect.


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Christ is Coming
For Further information
Contact:  Rt. Rev. John Cuffe
               St Cecelia's Orthdox Catholic Church
               Caboolture Qld 4510 Australia.
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