Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Bucks

Jewel of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Bucks, which flourished between the 1770s and the 1820s. An account of the society published in 1770, evidently by a member, includes a long mock-scholarly description of how the society was founded by Nimrod, the ‘mighty hunter’ of the Old Testament, and modelled on Nimrod’s government of the empire of the Assyrians. Extensive regulations are given on the appointing of officers, founding new lodges, and subscriptions for the benevolent fund. Moral exhortations follow, in favour of virtue and brotherly love and against drunkenness and taking the Lord’s name in vain. The author makes the (presumably) tongue-in-cheek claim that ‘The greatest monarchs in all ages, as well Asia and Africa as of Europe, have been encouragers of our noble order, and many of them have presided as grands over the Bucks in their respective dominions’. However, after all this solemn and virtuous discourse the book ends with a selection of hunting and drinking songs – and in fact the Bucks were noted at the time for rowdy and drunken behaviour. Their members must have all have been fairly well-off as their surviving jewels are of very high quality, with fine enamel and paste work.

Society of Bucks Jewel