Gentleman Jack, Anne Lister

Anne Lister

I was sorry to see the end of the recent BBC drama Gentleman Jack. Bringing to life excerpts from Anne Listers diaries.

With the excellent Suranne Jones cast as Anne Lister the famous lesbian and diarist she was an educated, strong and confident woman who stood out around Halifax. She was so different from all the other women around at the time. Always dressed in black with a boyish look she would attract attention and often was mistaken for a man.

Different from a young age she was sent off to boarding school where she lived a secluded life, often feeling isolated and alone she would write down her thoughts and feelings, this is where her journals started.

These journals continued throughout her life, with her darkest secrets and desires written in code, shocking those who were to later decipher them.  During the 1800’s homosexuality was illegal, sexual relationships between women was unheard of and the word lesbian certainly didn’t exist. Anne had always loved the fairer sex and other women were often captivated by her.

After a series of lovers and her heart broken by Marian, who could not commit or give Anne what she wanted, ultimately to be able to marry another woman, Ann was to meet the young heiress Ann Walker, the two had met a number of years earlier and shortly after their reacquaintance Anne made it clear to Ann that she wished for her to become her wife and for the two of them to live together at her family home of Shibden Hall.

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After a some what turbulent and troubled relationship Ann finally gave Anne the answer she was looking for, she agreed to take the sacrament, to show their commitment to each other and in their own way the closest thing they could be to being married, they exchanged rings, with Anne having a simple band of gold, while Ann had a beautiful onyx ring and on the Easter Sunday of 1834 they travelled together to York where their wedding took place in Holy Trinity Church.

Not a wedding that we would recognise today but one that meant everything to the two of them.  Anne and Ann paved the way for same sex weddings and why I started my Gay Wedding Celebrant business.  They are an inspiration to us all. We are lucky enough for same sex weddings to be recognised now and, in most cases, can show our love freely.


For more details on a unique, personal wedding or commitment ceremony, please contact me.

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