my love agape

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.


Published in: on August 23, 2010 at 8:16 am  Comments (36)  
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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hm, kind of like “spin the bottle,” only on a larger scale.

  2. Another great story from the seedier side. Prnce had an interesting take on spin the bottle.. or perhaps it was just a big lazy Susan…

    • “a large scale Lazy Susan” oh that’s too funny

    • Even better if he chose Susan.

      • And if Susan was a bit on the lazy side.

  3. I should have had that Great Manifestation baloney in my seduction arsenal. What a lost opportunity! Trying to convince women that semen tastes like birthday cake never worked.

    • you have to be specific about what sort of cake. Sponge doesn’t interest me, but chocolate does….

  4. the vertical burial idea is pretty practical – unless you’re the one digging the hole.

    • daisyfae, you don’t have to dig holes, you’ve got minions to do that for you

  5. I’m glad that no-one has said “resurrection erection” ………

  6. Funny how religious leaders are so wont to preach one thing and practice another. Lately in this country, it is stunning how many congresspeople who were adamantly anti-homosexual turned out to be ….. gasp…….homosexuals. Hypocrisy is everywhere.

  7. Those sexy sects always seem to derive inspiration from the Greeks (the ancient ones) – referring to the name Agepamone: I wonder if the translation is “Gotcha”?

    • Supposedly Abode of Love…. but “Gotcha” is very apt

  8. Banging virgins in front of crowds that include your wife… risen Christ or not that guy is damn smooth. I think I need some red robes and a revolving stage.

    • couldn’t have put it any better.

  9. Sounds like rising again was what he did all his life.

    • haha…. his one good point

  10. Those who know The Quantocks, where Spaxton is, also know that there are only two things to do in the evening: fishing and f***ing……and fishing is out of season for half the year!

  11. I met my husband while spinning around on a giant Lazy Susan surrounded by zombie-like followers with glazed eyes holding out champagne glasses laced with hallucinogens. It was really romantic.

    • beats the story “we had matching profiles on”…

  12. Stripped naked to bathe him, eh? Now, that’s what IO call “room service”!

    • oh I do that all the time. my maid’s outfit is “dry clean only”

  13. Rev. Prince may have been speaking the truth. I’ve met several children that are most definitely the spawn of the Devil.

    • Yes indeed. Almost everyone’s except my own. Perfect angels they were.

  14. You’d expect there to be no obvious signs he’d risen again. He probably had people in, out of respect for his recent passing.

  15. Thanks for the Archie link. Anyone who hasn’t yet clicked is missing a laugh.;-)
    I see the last Soul Bride died nearly 30 years after Smyth-Piggott.Wonder what was on the death certificate?And if she left a memoir?

  16. I see the last Soul Bride died nearly 30 years after Smyth-Piggot. Wonder if she’d kept the flame alive?

  17. It’s unbelieveable what you can get away with if you have charisma.

  18. Good Nurse, you use a lot of syllables, which is challenging for Denny, but the photos bridge the gap to my hindbrain.

  19. “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”

    This would make a totally hot porn scene.

    I’m sorry. what way were the Agapemonites buried?

  20. Those Reverends! They get up to all kinds of mischief.

  21. “Advocated celibacy while apparently practising the reverse”?

    I seem to do the exact opposite. Sigh.

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