Agapemone – Henry Prince

Rev. Henry Prince

The Rev H J Prince was born in Bath, he trained first as an a apothecary but then he decided he had a calling to be a minister in the Church of England. He first came to the Quantock area in 1840 and was curate to the parish of Charlynch. The rector of the parish was the reverend Samuel Starky who had neglected his parish for many years, he lived on the Isle of Wight. Starky returned to Charlynch and fell under the spell of Prince, who had now decided that he was God:

“In me you see Christ in the flesh, Christ in my flesh”


Prince ruled over his disciples for 53 years until he surprisingly died in1899, as he was supposed to be God and immortal. All was not lost for standing in the wings another manifestation of The Almighty was waiting, The Reverend John Hugh Smyth-Pigott. He took up the reins and the sect continued. Unfortunately he also died in 1927, the community continued to exist but without it’s god-head. The sect did gain a certain respectability under the leadership of Douglas Hamiliton who was a secret but respectable man with puritanical leanings. He, together with Sister Eve (the result of the biggest scandal involving the rape of her mother in the chapel by the Rev Prince in the 1860’s), ran the sect and it actually became a private reformatory for delinquent girls!

The sect died out on Sister Eve’s death and the buildings were auction off in 1958.

– Source: Spaxton, The Quantock Online Community

View the rest of the story, including photos of the Abode of Love, at Quantock Online [The Quantock Hills were the first place in England to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Quantock Online is for residents, businesses and visitors to this beautiful part of Somerset.]

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This post was last updated: Jul. 10, 2010