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More from Alice Raw

Joan of Leeds: A classic tale of boy meets girl, girl fakes death to escape nunnery.

Joan was forced to enter a nunnery by her parents. In 1318, she faked her own death and ran away to live a life of ‘carnal lust’ in Beverley. We’ve all been there.

Further Reading:
The Northern Way Research Project: https://thenorthernway151149306.wordpress.com/joan-of-leeds-her-own-story/

Before Cards of Humanity: Games for Medieval Women

It’s winter in Suffolk, and you and your friends are bored of sewing. What next? Why, a round of ‘Have Your Desire’, of course! In this quick fire dice game, you roll to reveal your fortune. Spoiler alert: you’re probably going to have sex.

Further Reading:
Nicola McDonald, ‘Fragments of Have Your Desire: Brome Women at Play’, Medieval Domesticity, ed. Kowaleski & Goldberg (Cambridge, 2008)

Eleanor Rykener: On reading a trans life, and the long view of queer public sex.

In 1394, a sex worker and a Yorkshireman are arrested in a stable for public sex, and specifically for ‘committing that detestable unmentionable and ignominious vice’, sodomy. The ensuing deposition reveals that Eleanor has been known as John at various times in their life, and has had sex with both men and women. This episode places Eleanor in conversation with other cases of queer public sex, in particular that of Simeon Solomon in 1873.

Further Reading:
For Kadin Henningsen’s article on Eleanor Rykener: https://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2189&context=mff
For the work of Simeon Solomon: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O126681/the-bride-bridegroom-and-sad-drawing-solomon-simeon/
For Neil Bartlett’s A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep: https://www.simeonsolomon.com/documents-online.html

More in United Kingdom

Sir Ashton Lever’s Lost Museum

In the eighteenth century, Leicester House was transformed to a since-lost museum. Among its curiosities was a stuffed Hippopotamus and objects brought to Britain by the colonist Captain James Cook.