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LGBT People of History 91 - Anne Lister

Updated on April 24, 2012
Anne Lister.
Anne Lister. | Source
Shibden Hall
Shibden Hall | Source

Anne Lister


Anne Lister (1791–1840) was a diarist and prominent landowner from Yorkshire, England. She also was interested in outdoor pursuits and travelling. She was openly Lesbian and kept coded references to her relationships in her diaries. The time at which she lived was not noted for its tolerance of homosexuality and she suffered some harassment. She was responsible for the renovation of Shibden Hall near Halifax. She is often called ‘the first modern lesbian’ because of her self-awareness and openness.

Anne was the eldest daughter of Jeremy Lister and Rebecca Battle. She was educated at home initially before being sent to Ripon and then to York to continue her education. She developed a love for classical literature. At York, she met her first love, Eliza Raine.

In 1826 she inherited Shibden Hall from her uncle and proceeded to renovate and add to the house. She also landscaped the grounds. Her income derived from the estate and she became quite a wealthy woman.

She was described as having a ‘masculine appearance’ and even one of her lovers, Marianne Lawton, was initially embarrassed to be seen in public with her. They were lovers for years. She would dress in black and undertook ‘masculine’ activities like opening a colliery.

In 1832, Anne met Ann Walker and they were extremely close eventually getting ‘married’ in 1834.

Anne kept diaries for nearly 40 years. The parts about her relationships with women were written in a code derived from algebra and Greek. It was deciphered by her descendant, John Lister, who hid them behind a wall in Shibden Hall due to their explicit nature. They were later discovered and published.

Anne died at Kutasi, Georgia of a fever in 1840. Ann Walker had her body returned home, embalmed and buried in a church in Halifax. She inherited Shibden Hall.



Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks for your visit, katyzzz. It was indeed very difficult in the past.

      Ian.

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Interesting hub, you wonder how they found each other back then, strange business, not one I understand very well.

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thank you, cherriquinn!

      We do have quite a number of Hubs now and are both also learning so much in the process. We have plans for many more! We write together as Cal says and alternate publishing on his page and mine.

      Anne was quite a character by all accounts - she must have been a very strong lady.

      Ian.

    • cherriquinn profile image

      cherriquinn 6 years ago from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne

      ah,ok! I didnt realize you write together. I was a little confused when I saw you there. Will look forward to reading more.

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thank Cherri, Ian and me write together and have nearly made 100 so far, but stick around cherri as there lots more to come who I know you will love x

      Take care xx

    • cherriquinn profile image

      cherriquinn 6 years ago from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne

      Great hub Ian! Love reading about Anne Lister and her diaries. One of my many heroes.You have a great collection of hubs out there congratulations! .

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Well, thank you, young Callum.

      I just hope she was happy.

      Ian.

    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      So sad about her Ian

      Am glad I found her on the list when I was looking for people, you have done a great job writing about her x

      Callum.

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Well said, Dexter - we may think we live in enlightened times and to a certain extent we do - but there's still a long way to go - until people are just - well - people and accepted for what thay are.

      Thanks again, Dexter - I just wish everyone was like you - you are a gem!

      Ian.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      Isn't it ironic that back then and still today, a persons desire to love and be loved in a way that may be different than others, has to be hidden or is frowned upon? Yet, hatred and ugliness seems to live on right in the open.

      Another great life story hidden - behind a wall.

    working

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