Reverend Henry James Prince was an Anglican priest who declared himself to be the Messiah in 1846. He built a mansion called Agapemone in Spaxton, Somerset for himself and his devoted followers.
In the style popular with cult leaders of the present century, Mr Prince advocated celibacy while apparently practising the reverse. In 1856, he was said to have dressed in ceremonial red robes and deflowered a virgin in front of an adoring congregation including his wife. He proclaimed the act a Great Manifestation, “the mystic union of flesh and spirit”, and denied responsibility for the girl’s subsequent pregnancy, naming the devil as the father instead. The rumours multiplied.
Proving mortal after all, Mr Prince died in 1899, but another wayward cleric, John Smyth-Piggott, took over his mantle and lived at the house with a number of “soul brides”.
Stories about the Agapemone are legion. In the Lamb Inn, Spaxton, everyone knows something of the strange sect. A favourite tale is how Mr Prince would choose his next female companion by sitting on a revolving stage and seeing who was in front of him when it stopped turning. The young ladies were said to have stripped naked to bathe him.
this image and an unrelated but interesting story found here
Popular legend also claims that the departed Agapemonites were buried vertically so they were prepared for resurrection when the moment came. When the last soul bride died in 1956, the gravediggers dug deep just to check on Smyth-Piggott who had passed away 27 years earlier. There were no obvious signs that he had risen again.