Hellfire Club

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Group.png Hellfire Club  
(Dining club?)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
FounderFrancis Dashwood
Exclusive English club(s) that met during the mid 18th century. Depending on the source these existed to drink, mock traditional religion and have orgies - or went further and held satanic rites and sacrifices.

Hellfire Club is most commonly used to refer to Sir Francis Dashwood's Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe, established around 1751.


Hellfire Club was the name for several exclusive clubs for high-society meetings in Britain and Ireland in the 18th century. Such clubs were rumoured to be the meeting places of "persons of quality" who wished to take part in socially perceived immoral acts, and the members were often involved in politics. Neither the activities nor membership of the club are easy to ascertain. The clubs were rumoured to have distant ties to an elite society known only as The Order of the Second Circle.

The first official Hellfire Club was founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton and a handful of other high society friends. The most notorious club associated with the name was established in England by Sir Francis Dashwood, and met irregularly from around 1749 to around 1760, and possibly up until 1766. In its later years, the Hellfire was closely associated with Brooks's, established in 1764. Other clubs using the name "Hellfire Club" were set up throughout the 18th century. Most of these clubs were set up in Ireland after Wharton's had been dissolved.


Kerry Ann, interviewed for the BBC in 2009 on Dashwood's club relates:[1]

"There are suggestions of some types of sacrifice, and the use and abuse of women in some instances, but none of these things are proven. It really is just an extension of literature that was published in the 1750s not necessarily based on fact."


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The British Occult Secret ServicearticleApril 2008Michael Howard (Occultist)On the occult connections and practices of the British Secret Intelligence Services from their origins in Medieval England through to the present day.


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