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The British Society of Dowsers was founded in 1933 by Colonel A H Bell. As one of the oldest dowsing societies it attracts a considerable number of overseas members, particularly from the Commonwealth and from English speaking nations, and it welcomes membership from anyone interested in dowsing.

  • 2015

    • Appointment of Interim Manager

      Appointment of Interim Manager

      Fay stepped down as Vice President to work within the BSD office as an interim manager in April 2015.

      As an experienced professional dowser, since 2006, in the fields of Geomancy and Health, Fay is also a BSD Registered Practitioner and Registered Tutor. Awarded the BSD ‘Services to Dowsing’ award in 2012, Fay regularly delivers BSD training courses. Her previous experience has involved media liaison, editorial support, event management and accountancy support. Managing education projects on behalf of the DfES she was responsible for 50 support centres throughout the UK; developing two educational websites; organising conferences and working with partner organisations. Fay brings her relevant commercial experience; running the family farm, and her dowsing passion to the BSD Council.

  • 2012

    • New BSD Director appointed

      New BSD Director appointed

      Appointed in November 2012 following the retirement of John Moss, the Society Trustees are confident that Peter Farrall has a range of skills that will be of great benefit to us.

      Peter has considerable experience in the charity and not for profit sector including: Marketing and Communications Director for the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus; Head of Fundraising for the British Horse Society and latterly as Chief Executive for a Benevolent Fund for Nurses, The Cavell Nurses Trust.

  • 2009

    • Hanley Swan

      The Society office is moved to its current location in Hanley Swan.

  • 2008

    • Grahame Gardner

      Grahame Gardner

      Grahame taught himself to dowse as a teenager, and in later life trained in Western geomancy with Sig Lonegren and Patrick MacManaway amongst others. He joined the Society in 2001 and was co-opted onto Council in 2003. He was elected President in 2008.

  • 2004

    • Director John Moss

      Director John Moss

      Following Ian Clement’s departure in 2004, John Moss was recruited. Although he came from a financial background, John had already been running a local group for several years, and he was also a member of the Professional and Tutor Registers. John served as Director for eight years, during which time the Society rapidly changed to become a more open and outward-looking organisation.

    • Archaeology Dowsing Group

      Formation of the Archaeology Special Interest Group

  • 2003

    • Dr. Patrick MacManaway

      Dr. Patrick MacManaway

      Son of the renowned healer Bruce MacManaway, Patrick took over the Presidency in 2003.

      Training first with his parents at their Healing and Teaching Centre in rural Fife, Scotland, Patrick studied Medicine at Edinburgh University before taking apprenticeships in both Western and Eastern approaches to landscape energy and traditional Geomancy.

    • Office moves to Malvern

      Office moves to Malvern

      In a bold attempt to give the Society more of a 'High Street'presence, the centre of operations was relocated to a shop in St. Ann's Road, Malvern, where the office was run under the guidance of newly-appointed Director, Ian Clements.

    • Health Dowsing Group

      Formation of the Health Special Interest Group

  • 2002

    • Water (& Site) Dowsing Group

      Formation of the Water Dowsing Special Interest Group.

  • 2000

    • Beulah Garcin

      Beulah Garcin MA became the first female President in 2000 and served for 3 years.

  • 1995

    • Earth Energies Group

      The Earth Energies Group, the first of the Society's Special Interest Groups, was set up by Billy Gawn in 1995.

  • 1993

    • 60th Anniversary Congress

      The 1993 International Congress was a tour de force for the BSD. Held at the College of Ripon and York, around 300 delegates attended talks by speakers from a number of countries - including one by Professor Dubrov from the USSR.

    • Major-General Bill F Cooper

      Major-General Bill F Cooper

      Major-General Bill Cooper CBE, MC became President in 1993 and served for seven years, taking the Society to the close of the 20th Century.

    • Dowsing Research Group

      1993 saw the first instigation of the Dowsing Research Group by Guy Hudson and Jim Lyons. It is a small, but influential, part of the BSD, which is researching the practical basis of dowsing in the realm of consciousness, by drawing together physicists, physiologists, psychologists and philosophers from across the spectrum.

  • 1987

    • Sir Charles Jessell

      Sir Charles Jessell (bart), President from 1987-1993

  • 1981

    • Clive Thompson

      Clive Thomson Dipl. Arch. RIBA took over as President in 1981 and served until 1987. A prominent water dowser, perhaps his best-known contribution to the field is the invention of his double-V rod.

  • 1978

    • Michael & Deirdre Rust

      In 1978 Michael and Deidre Rust took over the administration of the BSD, and continued to run the Society from their home in Hastingleigh, Kent for the next 25 years.

  • 1975

    • Dr. Arthur Bailey

      Dr. Arthur Bailey

      Arthur Bailey PhD, MSc, FIERE, MIEE was an engineering scientist and chartered engineer. Whilst working as a Senior Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Bradford University in the UK, he became interested in the field of dowsing, healing and flower essences and joined the BSD, becoming President in 1975.

      He had the reputation of being “a rogue elephant”, being very clear about simple true facts which could be proved, rather than pseudo-scientific theories.

  • 1966

    • Major-General J. Scott Elliot

      Major-General J. Scott Elliot

      Major-General Scott Elliot CB, CBE, DSO, retired from the Army at the age of 54 and developed an interest in archaeology and dowsing. He lived in Dumfriesshire, and took over the BSD Presidency from Col. Merrylees in 1966, serving until 1975.

  • 1964

    • Col K W Merrylees, President

      Colonel Kenneth W Merrylees OBE, MI Mech. Eng. took over as President in 1964, serving only 2 years. During WW2 he was employed by the Army to dowse water supplies for Allied troops at the front, and also worked as a bomb disposal expert back home, when he used his dowsing skills to find unexploded bombs with delayed-action fuses that had penetrated deep into the ground; famously locating one 500-pounder under the swimming pool at Buckingham Palace. Col. Merrylees died in 1994 at the age of 97.

    • Bernard & Edith Smithett

      In 1963, and at the age of 85, Colonel Bell handed over the running of the Society to Bernard and Edith Smithett - having completed an astonishing 30 years at the helm.

  • 1956

    • First Congress

      The first proper Annual Congress (now called Conference) of the BSD is held at Moor Park College.

  • 1935

    • First Local Group

      The first Local Group, the North East of Scotland Group, formed in Aberdeenshire. President George Abercromby, Scots Guards (ret'd), Earl of Caithness; Secretary Miss M. E. Macqueen. 70 people attending. The Group formally affiliated on Nov. 1, and subsequent meetings were held at Fyvie Castle, the home of Sir Ian and Lady Forbes Leith during 1936

    • First regular meeting

      The Society starts to hold lectures in the meeting rooms of the Royal Asiatic Society at 74 Grosvenor Street, London. The first lecture on 7 February was given by Mr. E. S. Shrapnell-Smith on 'The Life-Wave Effect in Photography'.

  • 1934

    • 1934 Congress

      A 'mini-Congress' was held on June 1 and 2, 1934, with the first day of lectures in the meeting rooms at Grosvenor Street, followed by a second day of practical dowsing in Col. Bell's garden at Lindfield, with over 100 people attending.

  • 1933

    • The BSD is founded

      The BSD is founded

      The British Society of Dowsers was founded in 1933 by Colonel A H Bell DSO, OBE, MRI to promote dowsing in the British Isles. The first meeting took place on May 4, 1933.

      Col. Bell was the Chairman of the publishing company G Bell and Sons for over thirty years, and was the grandson of its founder. He attended Charterhouse public school and the Royal Military Academy, becoming a commissioned officer in 1898. He retired in 1928, following a distinguished military career (which included active service postings to South Africa and India) and founded the British Society of Dowsers six years later.

      Col. Bell remained the President of the Society until 1964.