Archangels & Archaeology

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More About This Title Archangels & Archaeology


Tracing J. S. M. Ward’s extraordinary life and career—from Edwardian Freemasonry and wartime spiritualism to his apocalyptic visions—this biography of the famed spiritualist, mystic, historian, and lifelong collector of antiquities embodies the cultural turmoil of an age of collapsing empires, religious fragmentation, and world war. The work discusses how, in 1934 just outside of London, Ward started the Abbey Folk Park, an innovative history museum where his interest in esoteric heritage, world cultures, and the occult attracted much attention. The book then goes on to show how he was unfairly disgraced in a sensational court case in May 1945 whereupon he and his followers departed England for Cyprus in self-imposed exile, along with his stunning collection of artifacts. After Ward’s death, both the community and his collection moved to Queensland, Australia, where a new Abbey Museum now thrives just north of Brisbane, and Archangels & Archaeology details how his lively museum fused a passion for Britain’s disappearing heritage with a conviction that Western civilization would shortly collapse.


Geoffrey Ginn teaches modern British history and heritage studies at the University of Queensland. He is a member of the board of the Queensland Museum and his research interests include cultural and urban history in British and colonial settings.