The Hellfire Club Of West Wycombe

Pete Younger

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Does anyone have any info on the infamous Hellfire club, is it true that at one meeting a monkey was presented and most of the members thought it was a devil, having never seen one before?
 

carole

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That sounds like a variant of the Hartlepool monkey story!

Carole
 
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Anonymous

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a certain top poster who wishes to remain nameless says
"the hellfire club has no connection with the town"
but i dont know who this top poster is

:rolleyes:
cas
 

JamesWhitehead

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I am sure the story of the monkey at the Hellfire Club is one
I have read. Whether it is true would be more difficult to decide.

Given the debaucheries and drunkenness of those flakey old
aristos, I think the monkey may have been grateful that his arse
was just kissed. :eek:
 

harlequin2005

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James Whitehead said:
I am sure the story of the monkey at the Hellfire Club is one
I have read. Whether it is true would be more difficult to decide.

Given the debaucheries and drunkenness of those flakey old
aristos, I think the monkey may have been grateful that his arse
was just kissed. :eek:

Indeed, the little blighter could have been 'raddished' - thats where they get a raddish and stick it up... you can guess the rest

8¬D
 

Spookdaddy

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harlequin said:
Indeed, the little blighter could have been 'raddished' - thats where they get a raddish and stick it up... you can guess the rest
I'm getting a little worried about this. First of all James plucks a monkey's arse out of nowhere and then, totally unprovoked, harlequin shoves a radish up it. What's going on?

Er, anyway. Sir Francis Dashwoods club “The Order of the Friars of St Francis of Wycombe” which met at Medmenham Abbey near West Wycombe from the 1750’s is always thought of as the Hell-Fire Club when in fact it was one of many. These clubs did witness the debauchery, blasphemy and occasional violence we associate with them but there was a little more to them than just the clichés. Some took them devil worship seriously and some were obviously just in to it for the shagging and fancy-dress but there was a general pattern of rebellion against what was a stagnating social and political system.

Edinburgh, London, Oxford, Limerick and Dublin all had Hell-Fire Clubs. Although outright devil-worship wasn’t as big a part of the proceedings as we might assume Killakee Dower House where the Dublin club convened apparently still boasts a disquieting aura and a host of old ghosts

The Hell-Fire Clubs by Geoffrey Ashe is probably the best book available on the clubs origins and history. It covers the gory details but if they are all you are after you will have to trawl through a lot of contemporary politics, sociology and literature to get to them. But don't let me put you off.

I don't recall the monkey story from the book but it does sound a bit similar to the monkey hanged for being a French spy. Although I don't recall it being said that the good citizens of Hartlepool inserted salad vegetables into the poor primate prior to suspension.
 

harlequin2005

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I was always a fan of Sir Francis, at least since my teens anyway.

Anyone who could be that casually witty was pretty good in my book

The 'It depends on if I embrace my honorable friend's policies, or his mistress' put down is a classic

When I finally pass, always assuming that heaven want's me or hell with take me,I'd like someone to say of me what a friend said of Sir Francis. 'He'd go to almost any length to be nasty...'



8¬)
 

JamesWhitehead

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The Reader's Digest volume of Folklore, Myths & Legends of
Great Britain, 1973 has it that Dashwood produced a baboon
at one of the services and the members stampeded in terror,
believing it to be the Devil.

The line about principles and pox is usually attributed to John
Wilkes, 1727 - 1797, in conversation with Lord Sandwich.

[I was going to say "I hate quotations" but I see Emerson said
it first - in May 1849. :( ]
 
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Anonymous

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They probably shaved or waxed the baboon (the full body, brazilian wax and so on). Then if you let it loose in a room full of little tipsy to drunk men, naturally, they'd run away from a hairless-red-skinned creature with black eyes, a tail and sharp fangs. I would.

:madeyes: :devil: :madeyes:
 

harlequin2005

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James Whitehead said:
The line about principles and pox is usually attributed to John
Wilkes, 1727 - 1797, in conversation with Lord Sandwich.

[I was going to say "I hate quotations" but I see Emerson said
it first - in May 1849. :( ]

Yup, I stand corrected... leaking memory... too much bovine spinal column content in my diet when a youth....

The 'great lengths to be nasty' remark was about Sir F, following the construction of a garden in the shape of a naked woman when veiwed from above, then allowing the the church to have a children's party in it, simply to upset the local parson.

8¬)
 

Spookdaddy

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James Whitehead said:
The Reader's Digest volume of Folklore, Myths & Legends of
Great Britain, 1973 has it that Dashwood produced a baboon
at one of the services and the members stampeded in terror,
believing it to be the Devil.
The mundane truth seems to be that Sir Francis’ mob at Medmenham were more interested in women and booze than serious blasphemy and who can blame them. The baboon story is based on a story that one was sent from India presented to the club and maybe employed in a bit of anti-religious japery. The story stuck and grew. The baboon dressed as the devil story was invented by an Irishman called Charles Johnstone who included it in a work of fiction called Chrysal written in the 1760’s. Ashe states in his book that “Johnstone’s version of the baboon yarn has been solemnly repeated as if it really happened.”
I never did trust Readers Digest researchers.
 

JamesWhitehead

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Thanks Spook. The RD is an iffy source. Mind you, I suspect that
solemnly repeating things as if they really happened is what
keeps us all going. ;)
 

lucydru

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It is interesting to find that some of you think it is a veriant of the monkey hanging myth.

As someone who knows the monkey hanging myth well I see no real similarities (sp?). The one thing is that they both include monkeys.

The people of Hartlepool certainly didn't put anything at all into any of the monkeys orafices.

Thats all I have to say (I think).


luce
 
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Anonymous

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she wasnt the top poster i was refering to ....................honest lol





cas
 

Spookdaddy

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lucydru said:
As someone who knows the monkey hanging myth well I see no real similarities
Actually I think in a way there is a connection here. Both stories use the image of a primate to illustrate the alleged ignorance of people in the past. In one it is interpreted as the devil, in the other as a French sailor or some variant of that theme. Monkeys appeared in art and literature as well as menageries well before the 1700’s so certainly the rich, educated and in some cases well-travelled members of Dashwood's club would have known what one was even if they hadn’t seen one in the flesh. I find it difficult to believe that the people of Hartlepool, which may have been a port since Roman times, would have been so unfamiliar with foreigners that they could mistake a monkey for one. These stories may say more about later attitudes to people in the past than they actually do about those people.
 

lucydru

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Hartlepool, one time second bigest port/harbour in the country second only to the Thames River. Considering it was a merchant ship (french) you would asume the people of the town would of realised. If it wasn't a monkey then it was most likely a frenchman. Maybe they did know he was french but for some reason thought he was a spy. All I have to say is that Hartlepuddlians of today are not stupid unlike the people of days gone by.


luce
 

Pete Younger

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As I understand it a French sailor was captured and it transpired that he was what was known as a powder monkey and this is how the misunderstanding came about.
 

Spookdaddy

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lucydru said:
All I have to say is that Hartlepuddlians of today are not stupid unlike the people of days gone by.
You're kind of illustrating the point I was trying, obviously unsuccesfully, to make.
 

lucydru

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Powder monkeys where usually young boys who put the gun powder into the cannons on ships.


luce
 

lucydru

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The people of Hartlepool (many moons ago) probably did. It is said they hung a horse, 2 pigeons and some fish wives too.


luce
 
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Anonymous

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did they have some kind of hanging fetish?

shaved monkeys
horses
pigeons
their wives

or did they have lots of rope?





cas
 

lucydru

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No I don't think they did. I just think they where very strick about rules and such.


luce
 
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Anonymous

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strict!!!! your not kidding what did they do wrong to be punnished with the noose?




cas
 

lucydru

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I don't know cas I read about it on a 100 things about the town in the local paper a few years ago. It never said why they were hung.


luce
 

harlequin2005

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casio said:
strict!!!! your not kidding what did they do wrong to be punnished with the noose?




cas

Spare the rod and spoil the child, Cas old thing!

8¬)
 
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Anonymous

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The HFC

There are still splinters of the HFC around.

When I was in 6th Form (many years ago) and displayed interest in the Occult I was asked if I would like to join by a supply teacher (Mr Venner) from Bristol. I declined.

He was a spooky sod and used to answer questions before you even started to ask them. You always got the feeling he was watching you even when he wasnt in the room. One day he touched up one of the Girls and she went to the headmaster, we thought bye Venner, but nothing happened. How the hell did he get away with that seeing there were witnesses ?????

As I said spooky sod. :eek:
 
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