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Revenge of the Worp

Cult archives contain many claims of dubious origin. But reliable documentation exists for a brief but intense rivalry with the Hertfordshire village of Furneaux Pelham.


The trouble began in the 1770s when an attractive woman from the distant westward village took lodgings above the brewery tap on Howe Street, then run by Timothy Netherworp and his wife Elspeth. 


The interloper, later revealed as one Nancy Pelham, expressed interest not only in secrets of the trade, but in Timothy himself. One evening, as Elspeth was searching for her husband to take out the kitchen waste, she discovered Nancy attempting to undo the buttons on his trousers. 


Both of the disturbed parties insisted Nancy was merely fixing a loose thread, but Elspeth commanded the woman to return to Hertfordshire immediately. Elspeth’s emotional hurt was exacerbated by the pride she held in her own skills at haberdashery and tailoring emergencies.

In her distress, she called on the Brigandage of Worp for assistance and urged them to follow Nancy in secret, and use their famed subterfuge to exact a fitting revenge.


The Brigandage discovered that Nancy was married to a scion of the Hertfordshire gentry, Sir Lancelot Pelham, who planned to set up a brewery in Furneaux Pelham and had sought the secret recipes of the famed ale-makers of the Cult of Ffynche.

The devious couple lived in a grand house opposite the Hertfordshire church, and the Worpers set about sending a message that Nancy and her

husband would be unable to ignore.


They climbed the church tower at night and hoisted up painted signs facing onto the marital bedroom, reading: 'Tim’s flies: Mind your business'.


Tittle-tattle spread rapidly around nearby Hertfordshire villages. While the gold signage was admired, its message suggested a scurrilous impropriety.


Quite by chance, Pelham was playing host to the legendary revolutionary American anglophile Benjamin Franklin, shortly after one of his famous addresses to

Parliament. Franklin’s literary wit quickly fell upon the felicitous alteration we now see. The bright artwork could be retained, but rumour put to rest.


Franklin remained pleased with the simplicity of his solution and later used the concept for the first coinage of the new Republic, the 'Fugio cent'.

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