I will now continue outlining the story in GMYGH.Some time passes with Axford Daigle, oldest child of Hannah Lightfoot and George III, safely hidden among the Quakers.This would not last though, for there were men of power who wanted this boy captured, one of them being Lord Bute, the Princess Dowager's lover [mother of King George III, Prncess Augusta].As the founder of the Brotherhood of the Friars of Saint Francis, Sir Francis Dashwood states:
"Lord Bute says if it is found alive, we may have it [Axford Daigle] at Medmenham.The one ingredient lacking in our rites," he added thoughtfully, "and do but consider…a strain of royal blood!It should be prodigious."
And Lord Bute himself proclaims that the Princess Dowager is pleased with "The little bastard by-blow…" His companion asks, "Whose, Sir?"He responds:
"His Majesty's, with the Quaker girl, Hannah Lightfoot, or Axford as she styles herself.The Princess has always worried lest the King remember that he has a son and want to have it recognized, or lest anyone make matter of it.There are enough pretenders as it is."… "He disappeared the day after the wedding.My informant said the mother is distraught, accusing her enemies of taking him.There is logic in her reasoning.But we have not got him.Either he has strayed into the streets, or she lies, pretending to her grief, and has smuggled him away.The servants report a man came to see her the night of the King's wedding.We are looking for him.I have given orders to reduce the pension.There is no need to cosset her with only the girl left…we might refuse to recognize him.Now that the example has been set us, he might disappear again, this time in a definite direction."
His companion responds with:
Lord Bute nodded.
Lord Bute is relentless in his search for the boy, torturing seventeen Quakers to learn of his whereabouts.In the end Axford Daigle is brought to Medmenham.When I first read chapters five, six, and seven in GMYGH (the ones dealing with Medmenham), I thought that Evelyn Eaton had really let her imagination run away with her.She spoke of a certain Sir Francis Dashwood, who had acquired Medmenham, which had at one time served as a monastery, to "perform the black rites which he had learned in Italy."She describes the ceiling of the chapel as being "painted with frescoes of unspeakable indecency, the walls decorated by lewd grotesques" and"…on occasions when black mass was celebrated special arcana appeared on the walls and on the altar." and that "the abbey was solemnly dedicated to Satan in 1752.As for what went on there she writes, "Some of the friars may have gone to Medmenham chiefly for the company of the nuns in those cells especially prepared for lasciviousness, but the principle twelve, known as the Apostles" went there for, "the more secret rites"…"performed and libations poured forth", "to the Lord of Evil."
All it took was a simple search of the net to discover that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.Medmenham Abbey certainly did exist.Cistercian monks had founded it in 1145.It was located on the banks of the Thames River near Marlow in Buckinghamshire.Somewhere between 1752 and 1755, Sir Francis Dashwood (later Lord Le Despencer) opened his society.Described as a "cross between the Dead Poets Society" and a risqué Playboy club.Dashwood, a Member of Parliament, joined with other "apostles" who were very powerful members of society at that time.
I was to learn in Evelyn Eaton's autobiography, how she came to be at West Wycombe Park, Medmenham Abbey.Her sister Helen married the premier baronet of Great Britain, Sir John Dashwood, who used it as his summer place.Also by coincidence, Evelyn was friends with Helen Dashwood, Sir John's sister, whom she met while taking a course at the Translation and Secretarial Transcription Bureau.Sir John Dashwood was not descended directly from Sir Francis Dashwood, but from his half brother, a John Dashwood to whom the estate and the title passed, since Francis had no legitimate sons.At the time Evelyn stayed there, West Wycombe Park belonged to the National Trust, but the family was still allowed use it.
Most are in agreement that there were wild parties held at Medmenham.It is the apocryphal traditions about the activities that went on there that speak of darker things.One is that John Wilkes, a political rival of Lord Sandwich, secretly dressed a baboon in the image of Satan, and during one of the ceremonies, timed the release of the baboon onto the shoulders of Wilkes making him believe that the lord of evil was upon him.This incident is used in Give Me Your Golden Hand, except in the book, Axford Daigle is present at this ceremony.Kidnapped from his place of hiding, he was brought to Medmenham to be part of"the invocation of evil".They needed "The blood of an innocent child in due proportion."The ceremony is interrupted by the release of the baboon and by the death of a Mr. George Wentor, literally scared to death."It was the last time that the friars met in any number or with any privacy within the abbey."Axford is sent to live with his "uncle" who went by the name Michel d'Aigle (I will speak more on this the next time I write.)
One thing that does seem very likely to me is that if King George III, or Princess Augusta or Lord Bute did want Hannah's son hidden or out of the way, then these men in power were in position to do it.Also, it seems likely that he might have been brought to a place such as Medmenham.Perhaps Evelyn Eaton learned something during her stays there.She related in her autobiography while she was there, a painting had been discovered in one of the unexplored corners of the third floor. When it was carried into the room in its massive gilt frame she noted, "We all knew it was the portrait of the barbary ape to which Sir Francis administered the consecrated Host when the Black Mass was celebrated at Medmenham, or later in the caves beneath the hill…"
Some excellent photos of the West Wycombe Caves, where folklore has it that Sir Francis moved his operations to after Medmenham, can be viewed at: