Moonday: The Hellfire Club

Regency Hunks is this month’s theme for Moonday’s Heroic (and not-so-heroic) Hunks. The Hellfire Club and Sir Francis Dashwood predate the Regency by a couple decades. The Club (or Clubs since there were several) were exclusive clubs for especially naughty rakes in the 18th century. These rakes, whose names are uncertain, met to take part in immoral acts, the nature of which is unknown.

The first Hellfire Club was founded in 1719 by Phillip, Duke of Wharton, with a group of his friends, male and female. They met around London in taverns and private homes to ridicule religion, drink excessively, and, at times it is claimed, practice Satanic rights. Wharton’s club was disbanded under King George I.

The Hellfire Club was officially resurrected in 1749 by Sir Francis Dashwood. It was also known as The Brotherhood of St. Francis and other variations. The club’s motto was “Do what thou wilt.”  The twelve members, with additional members added periodically, intended to do just that. Benjamin Franklin, American patriot and possible spy, was reported to have been a guest or member.

Dashwood leased and refurbished Medmenham Abbey in 1751, to provide a meeting place for the Club and its activities (See pic). Caverns beneath the Abbey where the darkest rites were rumored to have occurred contain erotic art and graffiti. None of the erotic pagan statuary in the gardens survive.  The Club lasted until 1766. It was replaced in the 1780s by the Phoenix Society, under Joseph Anders, which survives to the present as a dining group.

Until next week, when we meet a real Regency hero and his mistress.  Rita Bay

NOTE:  The Chocolate and Roses Blog Hop is on through May 9th. There are 20+ participants giving away books, gift certificates, and such for the price of a comment. Since I’m not in to Chocolate and Roses, my post is about the Language of Flowers used in Regency Britain to communicate with lovers, prospective lovers and milquetoast misses. Check it out at ritabay.com which has a Blog Central button to continue the hop.

Also blogging today at The Writers Vineyard about nonverbal cues and differences in behavior by gender and cultures. I share some particularly disgusting observations about men’s behavior that I’ve seen at a primitive shooting range out in the woods. Here’s the link: http://thewritersvineyard.com/2012/05/its-not-what-you-say.html.  Rita

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve read quite a bit about this club and it’s very intriguing. Very!

    • HA! There’s a lot out there. Hard to say what is true. Interesting, for sure. Stuck with the info that’s was supposed to be fact. Rita Rita Bay ritabay.com “His Obsession”Siren BookStrand,April 12, 2012 “His Desire” Siren BookStrand,May24, 2012 “Into the Lyon’s Den”Champagne Books,August, 2012

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