Sunday, 26 July 2009

James Bond and the Bond family of Dorset who were Catholic recusants and Jacobites

Commander Sir James Bond, KCMG, RNVR, was the fictional creation of British journalist Ian Fleming who portrays him as an officer of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, commonly known as MI6).

He was created in January 1952 by Fleming while on holiday at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye.

Fleming, a keen birdwatcher, had a copy of a book on ornithology at Goldeneye by an American named Bond. This partly gave him the idea. However, he already had the name in his mind because it was the name of a Dorset family whom he had known of when at school.

In the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond's family motto is found to be Orbis non sufficit ("The world is not enough").

In fact, however, there was another family called Bond who had their country seat in Dorset, only some miles from Durnford House, in Langton Matravers, the prep school where Fleming spent an unhappy few years of his childhood.

Their family motto was, indeed, Orbis non sufficit.

One of the family, John Bond, had been a spy for Sir Francis Drake in Elizabethan times.

William Bond
, the current head of the family, had his ancestor's journal transcribed after rediscovering it in the family archives. He says Fleming would certainly have been aware of the family and its unusual motto.

The Bonds of Dorset, despite having had a family member who spied for Drake, were Catholic recusants and, later, Jacobites.

Their country seat is Hulme Priory, Wareham, Dorset, an old Cluniac priory later turned into a country house and not too far from the Weld family at Lulworth Castle, another recusant and Jacobite family. They are also both not far from the Royal Armoured Corps Training Centre at Bovington outside Wareham and the Royal Armoured Corps Gunnery School at West Lulworth.

The fictional James Bond may thus have been unconsciously based upon a Dorset Catholic family who supported King James II and VII and the Catholic Stuart dynasty.

Perhaps one can imagine James Bond being another "black sheep" of the family like his notional ancestor, John Bond, who spied for Drake.

Even renegade Catholics are often more interesting than those of other religions!



Ian Fleming, the British journalist who created James Bond.
He seems to have subconsciously had in his mind the Bonds of Dorset whose family motto, Orbis non sufficit ("The World is Not Enough"), appears in a Bond book, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
This family were Catholic recusants and Jacobites.


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15 comments:

Oliver said...

The motto is also pointed out, and Bond's arms shown, in the film of O.H.M.S.S. by a herald when Bond visits the Collge of Arms.

Interesting that you have a picture of Pierce Brosnan at the top of your post! Brosnan is himself a Catholic. He returned to the Faith when his wife died of cancer. (He is also, of course, an old boy of the London Oratory School CCF.)

Tribunus said...

Thanks Ollie! Nice bit of info. I'd no idea he was an old Oratorian.

Shepherd said...

Dorset also hosted a sequence in Geoffrey Household's 'Rogue Male' when a James Bond type character (albeit a shade more gentlemanly) took shelter in a chapel at Chideock (Our Lady and The Martyrs, I believe).

Anonymous said...

hmm - being in the Combined Cadet Force doesn't necessarily mean PB attended the Oratory school itself.

berenike said...

The Oxford Joint Catholic Societies thought of doing a Bond-themed publicity campaign for the Christianity booklet in the late nineties. I made a (very bad) mock up of a poster on this theme some years later.

Prudentius said...

Thanks for another great little interesting article!

Just dropped by to say that I love this blog. I am also impressed by your focus on peace and non-violence. I am pleased to see that it is not just the liberals and modernists who have exlcusive rights to our justice and peace tradition.
Well done and keep up the good work!
Prudentius
Scotland

Tribunus said...

Thanks prudentius!

Anonymous said...

I served as a lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) between 1965 & 1967. A brother officer was Michael Bond from Dorset and owner of the Corfe Castle Estates. Michael was an amateur boxer and very James Bond-like.

Tribunus said...

Nice story!

Also, three cheers for the DLI, a very fine regiment.

Like many another regiment the RGJ and LI have now, alas, been chopped up by a government which has no sympathy for the heroes of the past and present who preserve our freedoms.

But there are still plenty of us who remember them.

I wonder if there are any Bonds serving today?

Chris Deeley said...

I am the DLI "anonymous". I didn't think my comment would generate any interest, but as it has, my name is Chris Deeley and I now live in Wagga Wagga, Australia. Michael Bond from the DLI would now be well-retired. At least two DLI officers emigrated to Australia and served in the Australian Army. I also think it sad that so many of the old British county regiments have disappeared from the Regular Army.

Tribunus said...

Dear Chris,

Excellent! I know Australia pretty well and met Bishop Brennan of Wagga a few times. Good, old-fashioned sort of bishop. Not sure if he is still alive.

This appalling government of rascals, rogues, cheats and liars that currently rule us would rather spend money on a white-wash enquiry into the Iraq war than on properly equipping our front-line troops.

Thank God we shall be rid of them in May next year.

Tribunus said...

Dear Chris,

Excellent! I know Australia pretty well and met Bishop Brennan of Wagga a few times. Good, old-fashioned sort of bishop. Not sure if he is still alive.

This appalling government of rascals, rogues, cheats and liars that currently rule us would rather spend money on a white-wash enquiry into the Iraq war than on properly equipping our front-line troops.

Thank God we shall be rid of them in May next year.

Anonymous said...

Michael Bond now lives in Corfe Castle and runs a holiday letting business, and is a throughly decent chap.

Tribunus said...

Excellent! Glad to hear it.

beachhutman said...

A submariner lent me a book called Operation James Bond and if memory still serves it was about how secret agents boated into Berlin to get Boorman out, furnishing a lookalike as a body substitute. It read welland I said It might even be true, giving the name before the Master himself. Wish I could remember more, busy fighting the next war, with Monarch Programming...see http://web.mac.com/beachhutman mind you, this might have saved lives or will save lives in the future but it seems about the biggest threat to Himan Rights since Mengele, who I say in my blob I have met.