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History of the 1734 Tradition

by Doug and Sandy Kopf

Robert Cochrane was born in London on January 26, 1931. At times, he claimed to be an hereditary Witch, speaking of his  Great-Grandfather practicing in  Warwickshire and of an aunt, "Mrs. Bromfield", who had an impressive collection of "Witch Things". At other times, he simply spoke of ancestors who had been executed for  Witchcraft. The truth may be somewhere in between.

What we do know (from a British source) is that he was born to a Methodist family, he sought out and found a teacher (non-Gardnerian), formed a Coven he called The Clan of Tubal Cain(this was a reference to his work as a blacksmith),  read books, did research and did the best he could to recreate what he believed to be The Old Religion. The first time we can document his Craft  connection is his attendance at a Circle in 1953.

Cochrane was a poet and a philosopher who  loved to write in a cryptic and mystical manner. He delivered poetry, riddles and folksongs more often than facts and he inspired  research and evolution rather than a strict adherence to dogma. He said "A driving thirst for knowledge is  the forerunner of wisdom" and that driving thirst seems to be a hallmark of the Covens that have come into  existence as a result of his sharing of that knowledge.

During the mid-1960's, a correspondence developed between Cochrane and  an American, Joseph Wilson. As time went by, Wilson and several other Americans worked together  to solve Cochrane's puzzles and fill in the gaps in the letters. Wilson eventually gave copies of those letters to quite a number of people who, in  turn, did their own research and came up with their own answers. As a result,  different Covens formed, no two exactly alike, and Lines developed. Each Line today is completely autonomous and there is no central authority.

Although our  Tradition was rather obscure until the 1980's, in the last decade  it seems to be growing at a great rate. Covens are springing up everywhere and new Lines seem to be surfacing regularly.

Robert Cochrane died at Summer Solstice, 1966. He  left a wife and one son. Sadly, he never knew the  impact his teaching would have on the Craft community in the years to come. It is unfortunate that we can no longer question him. He left many things unanswered.

"We teach by poetic inference, by thinking along lines that  belong to the world of dreams and images. There is no hard and fast teaching technique, no laid down scripture or law, for wisdom comes only to those who deserve it, and  your teacher is yourself seen through a mirror darkly.  The answers to all things are in the Air---Inspiration, and the winds will bring you news and knowledge, if you ask them properly........There is no secret in the world that cannot be  discovered if the recipient is ready to  listen to it, since the very Air itself carries memory and knowledge."

- Robert Cochrane, 1931-1966.

Flags, Flax and Fodder, Robert. We thank you.

Written by: Doug and Sandy Kopf
Updated: December 2, 1997
Document 1734HIST ©1997, Doug and Sandy Kopf

Here are some other things to look at:

Contact information, for 1734 Tradition groups.

You may also return to:

A brief description of the 1734 Tradition of Witchcraft
The index of English Traditions of the Craft.
The Beaufort House home page.