Fascinating read. I visited Shibden Hall during the early ‘80s while at teacher training college and Anne Lister is not amongst the first memories of the visit. Much more wholesome for our infants was a day at nearby Clarke Hall attending a clandestine catholic wedding and searching for priest holes.
There are many things about the current kerfuffle over Anne Lister that make me reach for a facepalm gif, but it’s one particular comment that tipped me over into writing this blog post.
In case you’ve never heard of her (and if so, you are missing out), Anne Lister was a Yorkshirewoman, born in 1791. She inherited the late-medieval house at Shibden Hall, where her manner of dress and her habit of seducing women earned the nickname ‘gentleman Jack’. Lister kept a diary, in code, which tells us a lot about her sexual exploits, but she was also devoutly Christian and in 1834 she organised a wedding ceremony to her partner Ann Walker, in Holy Trinity church in Goodramgate, York. Delightfully, Holy Trinity recently agreed to put up a blue plaque in honour of Lister and her marriage, which is both charming and rather daringly polemical, given the Church of…
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