William Alexander Ayton
William Alexander Ayton (28 April 1816 – 1 January 1909) was a British Anglican clergyman with an interest in alchemy. He was Vicar of Chacombe (in Northamptonshire) from 1873-1894. In 1894 he retired on a small pension, and he died at Saffron Walden (in Hertfordshire) in 1909. He translated from Latin the life of John Dee written by Thomas Smith.
He is generally thought to have been a member of the shadowy Society of Eight founded in 1883. He became a member of the successor Order of the Golden Dawn. He was a supporter of the reforms of Arthur Edward Waite, which split the Order as the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn and the Stella Matutina.
- The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn, The Letters of Revd. W. A. Ayton to F. L. Gardner and Others 1886-1905 (1985) edited Ellic Howe
- Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett, A History of the Occult Tarot 1870-1970 (2003) p.62, 'a clergyman of the Church of England and well known in occult circles as an alchemist'.
- The Reverend William Alexander Ayton was one of the oldest initiates of the original Golden Dawn, joining (along with his wife Anne) among William Westcott's earliest recruits just a few months after the founding of the Hermetic Order in 1888. As G. H. Frater Virtute Orta Occidunt Rarius (those rising by virtue rarely decline), Ayton achieved the grade of 5= 6 a year later, at the age of 74. He was at the time still active as a priest, and as the Vicar of Chacombe in Oxfordshire; he had been a freemason for twenty years, and was also associated with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. He retired on a pension in 1894 and lived into his 92nd year, dying in 1909 in Hertfordshire.
- William Alexander Ayton (1816-1909), Vicar of Chacombe, Northamptonshire. He had an alchemical laboratory in his cellar and was afraid that his Bishop would learn of its existence
- First published 1908.
- Founded by Frederick Holland, or Kenneth Mackenzie. Decker-Dummett p.45 makes Holland the founder, and members F. G. Irwin, Benjamin Cox, Frederick Hockley, Mackenzie, John Yarker, William Wynn Westcott, as well as Ayton.
- In July 1888, as Virtute orta, occidunt rarius. R. A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn Companion (1986), p.140.
- Modern Rosicrucian groups at www.alchemywebsite.com