England Travel

Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Caves are known as West Wycombe Caves due to its location near the village with the same name. These caves are a network of man-made chalk and flint caverns which extend 260m underground. The caves were excavated in the mid-1700s. They served as a location for the Hellfire Club, which was established a couple of decades earlier in London.

The caves run into the hillside directly beneath St Lawrence’s Church and Dashwood Mausoleum. These two were built at the same time. It was cloudy, so I didn’t take pictures of the mausoleum, but it looks spectacular and I will visit it in the future. Now the caves are family friendly and they stage a Santa’s Grotto for children in the next weeks, but I imagine it was quite exciting for the members of the secret society to meet in these caves all those centuries ago.


The men employed to dig up the cave system were unemployed, so this was a social project at its heart. Benjamin Franklin was a friend of the owner, Sir Francis Dashwood, and he visited the caves a few times. Do read more about the caves on their website.


Hellfire Caves


There are some decorations such as these ones in the caves and tunnels.



Hellfire Caves


room in the caves

Hellfire Caves

Hellfire Caves

Hellfire Caves temple

statue in temple

The members of the society were pagans, worshipping Bacchus and Venus. The club was not named Hellfire, this is a later name for it.

I enjoyed visiting the caves very much. It has a fascinating history.

5 Comment

  1. I enjoyed these photos! I’ve never heard of this place and will have to follow your link to learn more. It doesn’t surprise me that Benjamin Franklin had a connection to the project. He got around. 😄
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