Monday, 1 June 2015

Mrs Tiggy and the Hell Fire Club

Wow, that comment proved to be very interesting!

Mrs Tiggy left a comment on blog post “Night and Day”  in which she mentions one of the photos we took on 27 May appears to be of Medmenham Abbey and mentions “Mad Monks” and “Hell fire Club”.  Did that ever get me interested.

This is the photo and I can confirm it is Medmenham Abbey.

The original Cistercian abbey was built in the 12th century.  It was given to the Moore family during the dissolution of the monasteries (that guy Henry VIII again) before being sold on to the Duffields.  Apparently the latter were only interested in the land and the abbey gradually fell into ruin.

In 1755 Sir Francis Dashwood acquired the property and set about renovating and expanding it as a base for his “Hell Fire Club”.  Dashwood’s Hellfire Club was one of a number in England and it went on to become the most famous infamous.  The purpose of a Hell Fire Club was to establish a club for high society ‘rakes’ where they could meet and take part in immoral acts.  The members were often very involved in politics.  Dashwood established his club in 1746 and named it  The Order of the Knights of St Francis.  When the club moved to Medmenham Abbey it was renamed the Monks or Friars of Medmenham.  The members reputedly conducted pagan practices poking fun at Christianity.  They enjoyed a reputation for drunkenness and debauchery.  Eventually the activities of the club at Medmenham became too notorious and Dashwood moved it to a cave he had on his property at West Wycombe.  These were subsequently known as Hell Fire Caves.

Meanwhile, back in Abingdon it was time for the usual Sunday roast lunch.  Luck was smiling on us today because we happened to selected a pub which provided the best Sunday roast we've had since arriving in the UK.  We went to the Brewery Tap in Ock St.  The pub doesn't have much character, but the food was great.  Actually it was better than great!

Jan had the beef and I chose the pork.  They were both delicious and the vegetables were also tasty.  On the way back I stopped to take a photo of the buildings in Stratton Way. 

My eye had been attracted to the building on the left with it’s multiple gables on a curve.   Jan stopped to admire a pair of shoes in a shop window display.  She thinks Diane (nb Ferndale) might like them having seen the black and white pair Diane had bought a few weeks ago.

Abingdon County Hall Museum is situated on the southern side of the town square. 

Built in in 1683, It’s Grade I listed and constructed in the Baroque style.  Originally it was a court house where serious criminal cases were heard.  The open underneath area was used for markets and other public functions.  The museum on the upper floor opened in 1919 and in 2011 the last MG Roadster off the production line in Abingdon was placed there on display.  Approximately 9000 MGB Roaders were produced in Australia from CKD kits (completely knocked down) between 1963 and 1972.

On our way back to Waiouru Jan noticed this rather attractive setting and wanted a photo.


Diane and Ray said...

We have made a note of the pub as we love a good Sunday roast. Now if those shoes were blue or even better purple I would love them but green is not a favourite of mine !!!

Tom and Jan said...

Blue is duly noted!