Sir Francis Dashwood, 2nd Bt, 15th Baron le Despencer

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Francis Dashwood, 2nd 2nd Bt, 15th Baron Le Despencer

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England
Death: Died in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Francis Dashwood, MP, 1st Bt and Lady Mary Dashwood (Fane)
Husband of Sarah Dashwood
Brother of Rachel Austen
Half brother of Susannah Bridgeman; Mary Skipwith; Francis Dashwood; Lewis Dashwood; Sir John Dashwood-King, 3rd Bt and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sir Francis Dashwood, 2nd Bt, 15th Baron le Despencer

Founder of the Hellfire Club

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellfire_Club

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Dashwood,_15th_Baron_le_Despencer

Francis Dashwood, 15th Baron le Despencer (December 1708 – 11 December 1781) was an English rake and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762–1763) and founder of the Hellfire Club.


Early life


He was born in London, and educated at Eton College where he became associated with William Pitt the Elder. He was orphaned in 1724 at the age of 16. In 1726 he went on a Grand Tour of Europe, becoming one of the first Britons to include Russia on his itinerary.


He was too young to have been a member of the very first Hellfire Club founded by the Duke of Wharton in 1719 and disbanded in 1721, but he and the Earl of Sandwich are alleged to have been members of a Hellfire Club that met at the George and Vulture Inn throughout the 1730s.


In 1732 he formed a dining club called the Society of Dilettanti with around 40 charter members (some of whom may have been members of Wharton's original club) who had returned from the Grand Tour with a greater appreciation of classical art. William Hogarth drew Sir Francis Dashwood at his Devotions for dilettante Viscount Boyne.


Marriage


On 19 December 1745, he married Lady Sarah Ellys (née Gould) (d. 19 January 1769), the widow of Sir Richard Ellys, 2nd Baronet.


Early political career


In 1741 he was elected Member of Parliament for New Romney and subsequently abandoning his earlier Jacobite sympathies he joined the court of Frederick, Prince of Wales and sponsored alleged spy-master Lord Melcombe’s membership of the Dilettanti.


In 1744 he and fellow Dilettante the Earl of Sandwich founded the short-lived Divan Club for those who had visited the Ottoman Empire to share their experiences, but this club was disbanded two years later.


In 1747 he introduced a poor-relief bill that recommended commissioning public works, such as the caves he later had excavated at West Wycombe Park, to combat unemployment, but it failed to pass.


The Hellfire Club


Dashwood leased Medmenham Abbey on the Thames from his friend, Francis Duffield in 1751 and had it rebuilt by the architect Nicholas Revett in the style of the 18th century Gothic revival, at this time, the motto Fait ce que voudras was placed above a doorway in stained glass, and it is thought that Hogarth may have executed murals for this building; none, however, survive.


The first meeting of the group known facetiously as Brotherhood of St. Francis of Wycombe, Order of Knights of West Wycombe was held at Sir Francis' family home in West Wycombe on Walpurgis Night in 1752.


According to the 1779 book Nocturnal Revels, on the Grand Tour he had visited various religious seminaries, "founded, as it were, in direct contradiction to Nature and Reason; on his return to England, [he] thought that a burlesque Institution in the name of St Francis, would mark the absurdity of such Societies; and in lieu of the austerities and abstemiousness there practised, substitute convivial gaiety, unrestrained hilarity, and social felicity."


The initial meeting was something of a failure and the club subsequently moved their meetings to Medmenham Abbey (about 6 miles from West Wycombe) where they called themselves the Monks of Medmenham.


For his activities in the Hellfire Club, he was in his day widely regarded as being involved in devil worship.


Later political career


He was appointed Treasurer of the Chamber in 1761 and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1762 but was forced to resign the following year after announcing an unpopular budget and subsequently served as Master of the Great Wardrobe[9] After leaving that post, the Barony of le Despencer was called out of abeyance for him (in right of his mother Mary, eldest daughter of 4th Earl of Westmorland).


From 1765 until his death he served as joint Postmaster General. During this time he met and befriended Benjamin Franklin, his opposite number in the North American colonies, and agreeing that church services were too long, the two produced an anonymous Abridgement of the Book of Common Prayer in 1773.


He also served as an honorary vice president of London's charitable Foundling Hospital from 1777 until his death.


Family


Francis Dashwood's father, Sir Francis Dashwood, 1st Baronet, married four times; his second wife was Mary, the eldest daughter of Vere Fane, 4th Earl of Westmorland, Baron Le Despencer and Burghersh. Francis and Mary had two children: a son Francis and a daughter Rachael. Sir Francis also had two surviving daughters from his first marriage, and two daughters and two sons from his third. So Francis Dashwood had a sister Rachael, and six half siblings.


When the 7th Earl of Westmorland died childless, the Earldom of Westmorland passed to Thomas Fane a direct male descendent of the 1st Earl. The title of Baron le Despencer, passed through Mary to Francis.


Portrayal in popular culture


Literature


Francis Dashwood has appeared in literary works by the following authors:

Charles Brockden Brown in his 1798 novel Wieland describes the character Carwin as "specious seducer Dashwood."
Robert Anton Wilson in his 1975 The Illuminatus! Trilogy and 1980–81 Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy.
James Herbert in the 1994 novel The Ghosts of Sleath.
Eddie Campbell in the 1994 four-issue story arc Warped Notions for the comic book Hellblazer.
Kathy Reichs in the 2001 Novel Fatal Voyage.
Carrie Bebris in her 2005 Regency novel Suspense and Sensibility.
Mike Carey in the 2006 four-issue story arc Reasons to Be Cheerful for the comic book Hellblazer.
Kage Baker in her 2007 short story "Hellfire at Twilight".
Tom Knox in the 2009 novel The Genesis Secret.
Diana Gabaldon in her 1998 short story Lord John and the Hellfire Club. The story was originally published in Past Poisons: An Ellis Peters Memorial Anthology of Historic Crime, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Because of the character Lord John's popularity, Gabaldon reworked the story to be included with a set of Lord John novellas, in total being published as Lord John and the Hand of Devils.

Music

Received a name check from Vivian Stanshall at the end of side two of the original recording of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, as found in the Mike Oldfield Boxed collection (Virgin Records – CDBOX1).
The Inkubus Sukkubus song 'Hell-Fire' from the album Vampyre Erotica mentions him, the motto Do What Thou Will, and Breast of Venus.

Film and TV

Appears in the anime Le Chevalier D'Eon as the leader of a powerful cult – the Revolutionary Order – based in Medmenham Abbey, Medmenham, England, that seeks to manipulate Europeon powers using magical powers latent in the biblical Book of Psalms.
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Sir Francis Dashwood, 2nd Bt, 15th Baron le Despencer's Timeline

1708
1708
Westminster, London, England
1741
1741
- 1761
Age 33
1745
December 19, 1745
Age 37
Westminster, London, England
1761
1761
- 1762
Age 53
1762
May 29, 1762
- April 16, 1763
Age 54
1763
1763
- 1765
Age 55
1763
- 1781
Age 55
1765
1765
- 1781
Age 57
1781
December 11, 1781
Age 73
West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England