These are a few of my favourite things . . . Hellfire Club living it up . . .
They were devils who played near the banks of the Thames at Medmenham Abbey as monks with their nuns.
They were blasphemers whose amusements occasioned mock sermons to cats and arcane rituals in the names of Bacchus and Venus.
They were known as the Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe, Mad Monks of Medmenham, the Brotherhood, and lastly, simply, a hell-fire club helmed by Sir Francis Dashwood and his 12 disciples.
The Club’s Origins
The genesis of Sir Francis Dashwood’s club may be lost to the bowels of history, but the intermingling of Satanism and sex, of profane intellectualism and creaturely delight was hardly a new idea. The Duke of Wharton’s hell-fire club of 1719 satirized religion, encouraged equality of the sexes, and expressed an intent to rankle the zealous. Active until 1721, the club was a hiccup, driven out of existence by George I’s Order of…
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