Just to round off a thoroughly magical Easter weekend, I also paid a visit to the Hellfire Caves!
|Drink! Sex! Fancy dress! Wheeeee!|
Dashwood was a notorious libertine with a notable private library of pornography. It was said of him: "he has the staying power of a stallion and the impetuosity of a bull".
The aim of the excavations was to provide chalk for road-building, supposedly...
|Sure, this definitely looks like the layout of an ordinary chalk mine....|
|Also, not claustrophobic|
|That's his ghost, right there|
Of course, from this distance it's impossible to say whether they were nasty Satanists or genuine Pagans or just hardcore party-animals. Dashwood and Franklin, btw, produced an abridged Book of Common Prayer, professing a need to make services shorter and so less boring for young people, and more survivable for the elderly!
|Dashwood's mausoleum on top of the hill (caves lie directly below). The man was, quite literally, a monumental show-off.|
The caves are reputed to be haunted, for what that's worth, and here are some of the spooky faces carved into the chalk walls...
The best-attested story of the Club was the famous BABOON INCIDENT ... in which a baboon was secretly hidden in a box, and jumped out upon an unfortunate club member who totally wigged out and lost it - screaming
“Spare me gracious Devil, spare a wretch who never was sincerely your servant. I sinned only from vanity of being in the fashion, thou knowest I never have been half so wicked as I pretended, never have been able to commit the thousandth part of the vices which I have boasted of, leave me therefore and go to those who are more truly devoted to your service. I am but half a sinner.”Which is quite an impressive speech for someone busy wetting his pants.