The Hellfire Clubs: Sex, Satanism and Secret Societies by Evelyn Lord

By Evelyn Lord

The Hell-Fire golf equipment scandalized eighteenth-century English society. Rumors in their orgies, recruitment of prostitutes, large libraries of erotica, severe rituals, and initiation ceremonies circulated largely on the time, merely to turn into extra sensational as generations handed. This completely researched booklet units apart the exaggerated gossip in regards to the mystery Hell-Fire golf equipment and brings to mild the 1st actual portrait in their club (including John Wilkes, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Prince of Wales), ideals, actions, and the explanations for his or her proliferation, first within the British Isles and later in the USA, in all likelihood lower than the auspices of Benjamin Franklin.

Hell-Fire golf equipment operated below numerous titles, yet all attracted related members—mainly upper-class males with ample rest and the will to surprise society. The booklet explores the social and fiscal context within which the golf equipment emerged and flourished; their a variety of levels, which first concerned violence as an statement of masculinity, then spiritual blasphemy, and later sexual indulgence; and the countermovement that at last suppressed them. Uncovering the proof in the back of the Hell-Fire legends, this ebook additionally opens a window at the wealthy contradictions of the Enlightenment period.

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Sedley was a militia officer. All three served as MPs: Killigrew for Stockbridge and St Albans, Savile for Newark, and Sedley for New Romney, thus showing that scandal and public life could go hand in hand in the seventeenth century. They entered into Restoration court life with gusto. Killigrew became known as a hard-drinking man whose claim to fame was sleeping with one of the King’s former mistresses. Savile entered the Duke of York’s household, and stayed there until he fell out with the Duke and was dismissed in 1675.

Although the country felt relief that a Protestant king would follow a Protestant Queen, the fear of a return of Catholicism remained, as the memory of the brief but bloody reign of Queen Mary was still fresh in people’s minds. The Gunpowder Plot showed that this fear was justified, and that there were fanatical papists who were willing to kill to restore the country to Rome. In 1602 ‘A profane company . . called the Damned Crew, men without fear or feeling either of Hell or Heaven, delighting in that title were shipped down the Thames and never seen again’, John Manningham wrote in his diary in March 1602; ‘there was a company of young gallants which called themselves the Damned Crew.

They were ordinary people (usually but not always men) who served without payment or training for a year at a time. 21 With the night watchmen they formed the night patrol, and this brought them into close contact with the gangs of young men who roamed the city looking for mischief. Constables were often the gangs’ targets, and these unfortunate men were the butt of numerous assaults and indignities. Not surprisingly, many were reluctant to take up this unpaid post and would willingly pay a fine to avoid it.

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