Wife Betty May

Queer Places:
112 Barry Rd, East Dulwich, London SE22 9DX, UK
University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PA
2 London Pl, Cowley, Oxford OX4 1BD, UK
50 Walton Cres, Oxford OX1 2JG, UK
31 Wellington Square, Chelsea, London SW3 4NR, UK
Abbey of Thelema, Contrada Santa Barbara, 90015 Cefalù PA
Camberwell Old Cemetery Camberwell, London Borough of Southwark, Greater London, England

Raoul Loveday aka Frederick Charles Loveday (July 3, 1900 - February 16, 1923) was a member of the Hypocrites' Club.

Frederick Charles Loveday was born in Rangoon on 3rd July 1900 and he was christened sixteen days later. He was one of three children to George Loveday (born 1859) a Royal Navy Petty Officer and Amelia Ann Lewendon (born 21st January 1859) in Newington, Surrey. George and Ann were married on 1st October 1882 at St Saviour’s Church, Denmark Park, Middlesex. Frederick had two sisters named Nellie and May.

As a child in Rangoon, young ‘Raoul’ caught malaria and when the family moved to England, they lived at 112 Barry Road, East Dulwich, South London.

On 2nd August 1918 eighteen year old ‘Raoul’ enlisted in the Officers Training Corps at London’s Inns of Court, a volunteer battalion and part of London’s Territorial Force in Berkhamsted, Berkshire, from September 1914-June 1919.

Following this he became an undergraduate of St John’s College, Oxford where he studied History and enjoyed writing poetry and playing football. It was here that his interest in the occult began. He was also a member of the Hypocrites' Club, a philosophical discussion group at Oxford University and Raoul became the club’s secretary. The club was founded in 1921 and they met at rooms in a house in St Aldates; the club was closed in May 1925. On one occasion while Raoul was out of college after hours he tried to climb back in but slipped and impaled his thigh on an iron gate railing. He left Oxford in 1922, graduating with a 1st Class Degree in History. According to Arthur Calder-Marshall in The Magic of my Youth. The Adonis of Cefalu, "Loveday, when he was a scholar of St John’s College, Oxford, was a stocky, untidy, carelessly dressed young man. Beneath his short hair, which was cut en brosse, he had a merry rather than a good-looking face, with bright blue eyes of incredible innocence. He was a good soccer player and a spectacular climber. After the college gates were closed at midnight, he regularly climbed in and out. His feat of climbing the Martyrs’ Memorial and cementing an enamel chamber-pot to the top won him a romantic fame throughout the university."

In Oxford Raoul was living at 2 London Place, St Clemente and in 1922 he married Betty May; they had met at Soho's 'Harlequin Club' some weeks previous to their marriage. Betty May was born Bessie Golding in 1894 in London’s Limehouse and she was the daughter of George Golding. Betty became an artist’s model and she had been living in Paris and was frequently using drugs, mostly cocaine. Her first husband, Miles L Atkinson (they married at St Marylebone, London in the summer of 1914) was a drug addict and after he died Betty married George D K Waldron at St Martin’s in London during the autumn of 1916. George divorced Betty because of her drug use.

Betty and Raoul were married at the Registry Office in Oxford in September 1922 and a photo of the couple was taken in St John’s College gardens. In October 1922 the young couple were living in Fitzroy Street.

At Oxford, Raoul had been studying The Equinox from 1920 until he graduated in 1922, the same year that Raoul met Betty Bickers, the wife of Sheridan Bickers who contributed to The Equinox. It was through Bickers that Roaul met Aleister Crowley as he was staying with Bickers at her home 31 Wellington Square, London. Raoul called on Crowley alone and did not return home to Beak Street, Soho and to his wife Betty, in fact he spent three days with Crowley, taking ether. Betty had already met Crowley in 1914 at the Cafe Royal and was decidedly unimpressed with the magician. It wasn’t long after the great meeting of Raoul and Crowley that the younger man lost all ambition in having an academic career and his mind became obsessed with Crowley and the study of magick. Seeing the huge potential Raoul had for magick, Crowley invited him (and Betty) to the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu.

In mid October 1922 Crowley departed for Cefalu, stopping off in Rome where he wrote to Raoul: 'I hope you will come p.d.q. and bring Betty. I honestly tell you that the best hope for your married life is to get out of the sordid atmosphere of 'Bohemian London...' By 4th November Crowley was at his Abbey.

A magician named Robinson Smith, a retired concert agent whom Crowley met at Austin Harrison's house at Seaford, paid the Loveday's fare to Cefalu. After Raoul and Betty visited Nina Hamnett in Paris, they travelled to the Abbey, arriving on Sunday 26th November 1922. The next day, Monday 27th November, Crowley assisted Raoul and Betty as they climbed the Great Rock of Cefalu.

For the next few weeks Raoul studied his magical work performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual daily and some visionary work which he showed great progress in. At the Abbey, Raoul acted as the High Priest during ritual work.

Raoul became a Probationer of Crowley’s Magical Order the A∴A∴ and he took the magical name Frater Aud (Magic Light) at the winter Solstice [Friday 22nd December]. Betty didn’t enjoy life at the Abbey, finding it dirty and she could not get on with Crowley or Ninette Shumway.

One day, Betty and Raoul went for a long walk to visit a nearby monastery and after Crowley told them not to drink the water but Raoul with great thirst drank from a spring. During the beginning of February, Raoul was struck by malaria and was very weak. 'On Saturday morning, 10th February, the Virgin Guardian of the Sangraal [the Scarlet Woman, Leah Hirsig] returned from shopping in the town and found Crowley, Betty, Ninette, Jane, and Raoul assembled in the courtyard. A violent quarrel between Betty and Ninette was in progress. Crowley took Betty's side. Jane listened in silence. Raoul was too ill to say anything. Finally, the row, which had risen out of Betty's calling Ninette a slut, simmered down, and everyone fell in with the Beast's call for greater discipline in the Abbey.' [The Great Beast. John Symonds]

The next day, the evening of Sunday 11th February, Betty left the Abbey and asked Raoul to send her passport the following day. Crowley had found her reading a newspaper which was strictly forbidden at the Abbey. Betty went to Palermo. Raoul wrote a letter to Betty to persuade her to return. Also on the same day, Sunday 11th February, Raoul wrote a letter to his parents which Betty posted for him, the letter explained that he had been suffering from malaria for 'about ten days now and it has left me as weak as water. As you see I have had to get Betty to write this letter for me. The doctor here is giving me various things but I do not seem to be making much headway. I trust, however, that by the time you get this letter I shall be quite well. Betty, herself has been unable to keep anything in her stomach for the last week but I think she is just on the turn now. I believe that the air or the water or something here, perhaps the place, does not agree with me.'

Jane [Wolfe] called on Betty at the Hotel in Cefalu the next day, Monday 12th February, and a little later at 11 a.m. Leah Hirsig turned up with Raoul's letter and so Betty returned to the Abbey that day sometime after noon to be with her husband, Raoul.

On Tuesday 13th February Crowley recorded in his diary that he felt 'a current of Magical Force - heavy, black and silent - threatening the Abbey.' [The Great Beast. John Symonds] But the next day [Wednesday] Raoul became much worse and Dr Maggio was called for and he diagnosed acute enteritis. Crowley sent a telegram to Raoul's parents explaining his condition. Raoul Loveday, ‘Frater Aud’ died of enteritis on Friday 16th February 1923 at 4 p.m. at the Abbey of Thelema. He was swiftly placed into a coffin, about an hour after his death and that night the coffin was placed in an outhouse while Crowley kept vigil over it all night, uttering prayers for the young Thelemite. He was buried the next day [Saturday 17th February] outside the Catholic cemetery in non consecrated ground. Crowley led the proceedings for Raoul’s ‘Greater Feast’ with Betty, Jane [Wolfe], Ninette [Shumway], Leah and Leah's son Howard in attendance. Raoul was the first Thelemite to die in the Aeon of Horus. His parents later had his body exhumed and brought back to England for re-burial. Following the funeral, Crowley retired to his bed where he remained for a month suffering sickness and fever.

Betty May left Cefalu on Tuesday 20th February and returned to England. Her fare was paid by the British Consul at Palermo.

On Friday 23rd February Crowley writes a letter to his friend and follower, Frank Bennett - Frater Progradior, saying that he has 'been quite seriously ill for 6 weeks or more, only on one or two days able to leave my bed. My principle assistant here, Frater AUD, a boy of 22, the most brilliantly promising magician I ever even dreamt of, came here on Nov. 26 and died last Friday. It is an absolute knock-down blow. I had built the greatest hopes on him as a helper. He had just come down from Oxford with First Class honours in History, he understood the Law, the principles of Magick and Yoga almost, as it were, by instinct.'

On Sunday 22nd April 1923 following the arrival of Norman Mudd that day came two Oxford undergraduates named John Pinney, of Christ Church and Claud Bosanquet of New College. They came to investigate the Abbey following the death of their friend and fellow student Raoul Loveday, whom they believed may have died under suspicious circumstances. They stayed for three nights and had a delightful time climbing with Crowley and found no truth in the claims of wickedness at the Abbey. On Wednesday 25th February 1925 the front page of the Sunday Express had the headline: 'New Sinister Revelations of Aleister Crowley' and Betty May was laying the blame for Raoul's death at Crowley's door! "

In 1929 Betty May published her autobiography ‘Tiger-Woman: My Story’. Sometime in the nineteen-thirties Betty married again and was Betty May Sedgwick living in Hampstead and in the nineteen-fifties there was a fifth and final marriage to a gentleman named Bailey.

In the 1911 census the Loveday family are living in Camberwell, East Dulwich. The head of the household is George Loveday, aged 50, born 1859 in Lambeth, London, a ‘Naval Pensioner’. His wife, Amelia Loveday nee Lewendon, is also 50 years old, born 1859 in Newington, London (although she is entered as ‘Southwark’ on the census). Daughters Nellie, aged 15, born 1895 in ‘Portsmouth’, ‘an apprentice’, and May, aged 14, born 1896 in ‘Portsmouth’ and is a ‘pupil attending school’. Then we find young Frederick Charles Loveday, aged 10, born in Rangoon, Burma, also a ‘pupil attending school’. The Lovedays have two boarders staying with them: Alice Hardy aged 40, a widow born in Mogi Japan listed as a ‘visitor’, and Cecil H Hardy aged 17, born in Ivybridge, Devonshire, who is a ‘boy clerk’.

In the 1861 census we find the family living at Forty Acres, Kingston, Surrey. Charles Lewendon, the head of the household is 33 years old, born 1828 at Whitechurch, Oxfordshire and he is a bricklayer by profession. His wife Sarah is 30 years old, born in 1831 in Kingston, Surrey. They have three daughters: Elizabeth aged 9, born in 1852 in Kingston, Surrey and she is a ‘scholar’; Emma aged 7 born in 1854 in ‘London’ and Amelia aged 4, born in 1857 in ‘London’.

In the 1871 census they are still living in Kingston, Surrey, Charles is 37, still a bricklayer and he is born in ‘Hill Bolton, Oxfordshire’ – the census is not reliable for accuracy of birth details! His wife Sarah is 37, Amelia Ann is a scholar born 1859, and there is also Rose Lewendon, 10 years old, Alice aged 6, Charles aged 3 and Alfred aged 1, all born in Kingston, Surrey.

Ten years later in the 1881 census the family have moved to Ulverscroft Road in Camberwell, London. Charles, the head of the family is 46 and a bricklayer, his wife Sarah is also 46 and a laundress; the children all born in Kingston, Surrey, are: Elizabeth aged 26 born in 1855 is a ‘Cook (domestic)’, Amelia is 21and a ‘Barmaid (Inn Servant)’, Alice is 16 and a ‘Nursemaid (domestic)’, Charles is 13, Alfred is 11, George is 8 and Clara is 4. Also living at the address is Charles Lewendon’s father (Amelia’s Grandfather and Raoul’s Great Grandfather) George Lewendon, a widower aged 60, born in 1821 in Oxford and a bricklayer by profession.

Raoul and Betty were married at the Oxford Registry Office on Sunday 3rd September 1922. Raoul, or Frederick Charles to give his birth name, is 22 years old and he gives his profession as ‘author’; he is living at 50 Walton Crescent, Oxford and his father, George Loveday is described as a ‘civil servant’. Betty May Golding is 25 years old and living at the Golden Cross Hotel, Cornmarket Street, Oxford; her father George Golding (deceased) is stated as an ‘artist’ under father’s profession.

My published books:

See my published books