The rules

Articles of Association

  1. To meet at Mr Joseph Sunton’s House every Thursday night, and to pay Six Pence for Each Night’s absence, payble (sic) at their first Appearance at the Club.
  2. Whereas an opposition may possibly happen at a future Election, it is agreed that if any Person shall give Occasion to any Dispute relating to Elections he shall be deem’d an unworthy and disagreeable member.
  3. When the reckoning is call’d for Each Stranger shall pay his proportion of the whole and the Members present shall only pay so much amongst them as together with the Forfeit makes up the Rest of the Reckoning.
  4. That the numberof Members shall not exceed Eighteen
  5. Every Member, who is a single Man (and has not been married) shall at their first Appearance at the Club after his having commit-ted Matrimony, pay a Crown Bowl of Punch.

That members had to pay a fine for getting married would perhaps indicate that the club was considered to be mainly a benefit to single men.

28 July 1743 Dr Allen declar’d in the presence of 10 members, that if ever he marries again, he will pay 2 Bowls of Punch value 5d Each. An Example worthy the Imitation of the rest of the Secondhand Members of the Club.

17 Sept 1747 Yesterday in the afternoon died after a few Hours illness, Mr Henry Tireman, a Worthy member of this Club, a friendly sociable good natur’d man and a good Neighbour – May his Sudden Death be a Lesson of Repentance to the Surviving Members of this Club – Amen.

17 Nov 1748 Mr Nares having enter’d into the happy state of Matrimony this night he gave a Crown Bowl of Punch and an elegant supper at which were present all the members except the above…

Neither do the extant minute books record any other activity except for election and resignation of members. The promotion of good humour may also be indicated by the fact that the members were invariably referred to in the minute books with the honorific of ‘Dr’ when only a small proportion of them had any medical qualifications. Of course it might refer to the other academic form of doctor in Literature, Laws and Music. Only one member, Dr James Nares (Minster Organist) achieved this eminence as a Doctor of Music (Cambridge).

The members were, however, concerned that the civic authority was not fulfilling its legal duties.

11 Jan 1753 On Thursday the 28th of December last, Dr Peter Cass begg’d Leave to resign his Place in the Club, on account of his great Age and Infirmities, and by reason of the Streets not being properly illuminated as the Laws require, whereby he was put to great Difficulty to find his Way home (a Complaint too justly grounded, but when it will be remov’d Nobody knows)

The room in which it met in Mr Sunton’s house is described as the club room

June 15th 1749 This Day there having fallen a very heavy Shower of Hail, and the Weather being extremely cold, and the Garden covered with Snow, it was Unanimously resolved that a good Fire should be lighted in the Club Room, and the Table, after Supper, was appropinquated to the Chimney as near as is usual at Xmas.
NB. Tho it was Hail that fell it was unanimously agreed by the Club that Hail is Snow – Liquifacted.

Officials of the Club

Until 1781, the start of MB4, and with only two exceptions, the only official mentioned is the secretary, John Busfield to 28 August 1748, and Isaac Newton thereafter. The only other official mentioned is on 22 January 1745 when the absent Mr Busfield is described as President and on 22 November 1750 when the unnamed president is absent.

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