Scotland , Fife, Anstruther, Beggars Benison Club
The Times article of 2011 reporting of the sale of George IV's membership diploma gives some good background information concerning the club.-
"It was perhaps the closest that 18th-century Scotland ever got to a lap-dancing club and, in its day, it attracted the cream of the aristocracy and even members of the Royal Family. The Beggar's Benison, tucked away in a discreet mansion on the outskirts of the small town of Anstruther, Fife, was the regular haunt of dukes, noblemen and Highland chiefs.
It also caught the interest of George IV.The future monarch was still George, Prince of Wales, when he was presented with his diploma ten days before his 21st birthday. " is to be received as a "Knight Companion of the most Ancient and most puisant Order of the Beggars Bennison and Merryland".
It grants the future monarch full rights and privileges to the club's "territories of Merryland" - a reference to the female form - and is branded with the club's seal, which depicts the male member, a leather bag and an anchor.
The gentlemen's club, founded in 1732, has been described as a cross between the Masons and a sex club and its membership was taken from the noblemen of the 18th century.
They would gather to read erotic literature, tell bawdy jokes and - on occasion - stare at local women who had been brought in for their viewing.
Historians say that there was nothing to suggest the women were paid for sex. A "look but don't touch" policy, similar to today's lap-dancing bars, was adhered to.
The benison - or blessing - from which the club took its name was said to have been bestowed on King James V by a local maid. She carried him over a burn and was paid for her services with a gold coin. Accepting the tip, she told him, "May your purse ne'er be toom [empty] and your horn aye in bloom". The club's motto thus became: "May prick nor purse never fail you".
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