The Society of Dilettanti (SoD) was set up in 1732 with 40 charter members as a “dining club” or, more accurately, a drunken orgy and cult. One of its key founders and members was Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-1781). In 1743, Horace Walpole condemned it and described it as “a club, for which the nominal qualification is having been in Italy, and the real one, being drunk.”
The society was alleged to be for “high-bred” individuals. It was likely represented with bisexuals and homosexuals, but that was kept in the closet and private. Clubs operated under sworn secrecy. The art print “Charity in the Cellar” (at left) gives a glimpse of SoD debauchery and shows some key members including Dashwood.
Its outward premise was a collection of antiquities and the study of ancient Greek and Roman art. As young, spoiled, ne’er-do-well assholes, they had the resources to embark on grand tours of Europe and in particular Italy. In this they had a “bear leader.” The reality was that the SoD was an instrument of art speculation and self-promotion by a group of British nobility, most of whom were wild men and degenerates.
As a secret society these men were also promoting and advancing each other. Accordingly, the society (cult) members became wealthy and more influential. As such, it is a prime study of how closed, secret groups of perverts infiltrate and corrupt. [See “Freemasons, Pedophilia and the Case Of Keith Harding”]
Dashwood as a key figure became Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762–1763). Dashwood was also a close of friend of Benjamin Franklin, who was rumored to have been a participant in whatever perversions the club had to offer. Even spinners of the conventional narrative, like the History Channel, acknowledges this.
By 1750, Dashwood was ready for more vigorous debauchery. He built a new home in West Wycombe Park, in a grotto built to imitate the shape of a vagina. There, the most influential libertines of the day gathered for “Eyes Wide Shut”-type depraved sexual orgies, drunkenness, Satanism and black masses.
Dashwood and friends also engaged in anti-Christian rituals and carried on in a like manner at the ruins of Medmenham Abbey. Eventually a political scandal broke out in 1763 and the boyz had to go more underground — and by that time Dashwood was getting more elderly and low-T.
There had been earlier iterations of Hellfire Clubs, but Dashwood’s cult adopted the name. It was rumored to have also been involved in the Rosicrucian Movement and Freemasonry. It contained extensive libraries of erotica, and used extreme rituals.
Dashwood himself loved hoaxes and dirty tricks — almost in the manner of an occult black magician. As a young man he used his connections to gain entrance into the Court of the Tsar in St. Petersburg. There, he impersonated Charles XII the King of Sweden and attempted to seduce Tsarina Anne. He was expelled from the Papal States for skulduggery. Dashwood would have been right at home using modern CGI technology to run media-staged deception “shootings” and “vehicular attacks.” The spirit of Dashwood lives on: see “Mass Shootings: What a F’ing Coincidence.”
The erotica library itself contained lewd writings from Hellfire members and other notorious British degenerates. Clues about various Hellfire activities are revealed in these books. There is evidence that sadomasochism was practiced. There are hints of ritual murder. Women involved needed to have “a cheerful, lively disposition.” Popular themes were girls’ schools, nuns and flagellation. “Girl-on-girl” sex was an extremely popular subject. Women (and boys) become objects to be bought and sold, playthings of the “elites” — straight out of Epstein’s Lolita Express.
The term “rake hell” was in common use between 1550 and 1750 to describe someone who was a thorough knave, an utterly vile debauchee. The heyday of the Dashwood Hellfire Club lasted to the mid-1760s. It would later fold into Brooks, which was a gambling and tasteful vice house for society “gentlemen.” Brooks has continued this club function for the “best of British elite” to the present day. Hellfire Clubs spread to Ireland as well, where it was especially blasphemous.
Meetings occurred twice a month, in June or September. The members addressed each other as “brothers” and the leader, which changed regularly, as “abbot.” During meetings, members supposedly wore ritual clothing: white trousers, jacket and cap, while the “Abbot” wore a red ensemble of the same style. Satan or demon worship was attached to the club. Female “guests,” referred to as “nuns,” were in attendance. Although there were members who revealed other details later, no names of the women were ever stated.
Besides Dashwood, the best known participant was the First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. There were several dozen MPs and leading Tory political figures. Frederick, Prince of Wales, may have checked in on occasion. Many were members of the Royal African Company — a slave trading firm — or at least their families were. It is well beyond the scope of Winter Watch, but a deep genealogical research of Hellfire “rakes” progeny might prove most enlightening.
For more documentation and citations on how deep those rabbit holes go, including ties to secret societies and psychopathic control, see “The Hell-Fire Clubs: A History Of Anti-Morality” by Geoffrey Ashe.
Ashe examined a lurid strain of anti-morality in an almost continuous line through history. Predating Medmenham and Hellfire are the figures of Rabelais and John Dee, both expounding philosophies of “do what you will,” or “anything goes.” This extends to the libertine cruelty of the Marquis de Sade, the birth of Gothic literature and the antics of Lord Byron, right into the 20th century, with Aleister Crowley, and Anton Lavey.
When one reads over modern-day anthropology on this era, it seems to be overly focused and misdirected as a study of gossip and rumor. In other words, the familiar call it “conspiracy theory” deflection.
The larger question though is what are the implications of this about the British elite? Would Jimmy Savile, Edward Heath and Lord Grenville fit well into the Hellfire Club and vice versa? [See “Police Investigation Concludes, Points to Edward Heath as Pedophile Prime Minister of UK] Are Savile and the British pedo and buggery tendencies merely an extension of Hellfire Club culture? Was the Hellfire Club an outlier of the norm? Or are Hellfire clubs the norm for entry into British power? Inquiring minds would like to know.
Listen as Prime Minister David Cameron jokes about his elite club experience of inserting his penis into a pig mouth. The second “60 Minutes Australia” video from 1989 covers satanic or Hellfire-like activities in the modern age.
Winter Watch takeaway: Perverts and degenerates and much worse rule. It’s the systemic nature of the beast.