‘In 1778, two Irish gentlewomen put on men’s clothing and ran away together.  Lady Eleanor Butler had received several offers of marriage but was determined to share her life with her friend Sarah Ponsonby. […] They spent the rest of their lives in a black and white house called Plas Newydd outside Llangollen, cultivating their garden, improving their minds and filling the house with clocks, cabinets and “whirligigs of every shape and hue”.  [They also had] a little dog called Sapho.’

Graham Robb, Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century

An oil picture on canvas of the Ladies of Llangollen, circa 1880 by James Lynch.

The Ladies were Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, who became a subject of much debate when they both lived unmarried together in a house in Plas Newydd for over sixty years. They had many famous visitors and drew national attention, although they themselves remained secluded from society for most of their lives.

William Wordsworth met them in 1824 and composed this sonnet as a result, some of which is reproduced here:

In ours, the Vale of Friendship, let ‘this’ spot
Be named; where, faithful to a low-roofed Cot,
On Deva’s banks, ye have abode so long;
Sisters in love, a love allowed to climb,
Even on this earth, above the reach of Time!

michisaccount replied to your post “michisaccount replied to your post “Richard III was right in seizing…”

Yes. And it wasn`t done secretly at all. Also there is the fact that Eleanor Butler aquired lands from Edward at about the right time. Which could be a coincidence, but even only the evidence we have today taken together makes a pretty strong case.

Right. But Edward didn’t just gift lands to unwed women on the whim…and the evidence shows she did not inherit the land or acquire it through family. And so it had to come from the crown. So there had to be a reason for Edward to give her something valuable during the same period of time that he apparently contracted himself to marry her. Give in the fact that she wasn’t just some poor Lancasterian widow, but a lady of standing… who after the marriage of E4/EW became known either placed herself in a nunnery or was put there by someone…

And the fact that everyone thought that this was within Edward’s character is… how many women did he trick just so they’d have sex with him?

anonymous asked:

Okay I need your help since you post a lot about vintage lesbians. I need help explaining to my nan that there was lesbians back then but she says there wasn't no talk or no one knew what that was anyway to prove it to her ?

Aaah this is the ask I’ve spent my whole life preparing for, thank you, and I’m sorry for the length of my reply :)

Sappho is the obvious historical lesbian - I discovered last year that a couple of my friends didn’t realise she was a real person and not a mythological figure - but she was definitely real and definitely into women (we don’t talk enough about how ‘lesbian’ literally means ‘from lesbos’, as in women exclusively into women are friends of sappho I love it so so much). She and her poetry were so highly-regarded that Plato described her as ‘the tenth muse’.

My personal fave historical lesbians are Eleanor Butler and Sarah Posonby (aka the Ladies of Llangollen), and Anne Lister. All these women lived in the 17-1800s and were aristocratic members of British society, and their elevated class allowed them a freedom that would have been denied working-class women at the time.

The ladies of Llangollen are described as having scandalised society at the time and were rejected by some members of their family, but they were together for over 50 years, separated only by their deaths two years apart. They were visited by and probably inspired Anne Lister, a Yorkshire landowner who we know about through her coded diaries. Historians like to straightwash historical people who obviously displayed same-sex attractions, but Lister’s diary literally reads “I love and only love the fairer sex and thus beloved by them in turn, my heart revolts from any love but theirs”, so it’s not really open to interpretation. Her diaries were nearly destroyed on at least one occasion by a relative who was appalled by their contents, but they not only survived but have been added to the register UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

I love them specifically because we know that they were happy and, while obviously not totally unscathed from the judgement of their families or wider public, lived in ways that were entirely true to themselves. The idea that being gay in the past was just a tragic state of unending suffering is homophobic propaganda.

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West are two other faves also worth talking about - they both had husbands, but had affairs with each other and other women, of which their husbands and wider social group were aware. As above, their relationship means a lot to me because it shows that the cultural narrative about how attitudes to homosexuality have moved in a progressive upward trend as time goes forward is all wrong. Social class, geography, and the social circles in which women moved means that lesbians living in the 1700’s, under the right circumstances, probably had more freedom than girls living in extremely conservative households today.

This is only a handful of examples, but the reason historical lesbians and wlw are important to me is that their records have survived; how many women lived like Anne Lister but whose diaries were destroyed so we’ll never know about them? The vast majority of the women we know about were wealthy, famous writers whose diaries and letters were preserved. Sarah Waters wrote in an article for the National Trust “and what of the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender experiences of the less visible residents of Trust places - the servants, the gardeners, the chauffeurs? Most of their stories, alas, like other working people’s, have gone unrecorded” - I’m not a historian, but I like to imagine working-class lesbians and other lgbt people managing to eke out satisfactory existences throughout history, and lack of records shouldn’t render their experiences invisible or considered impossible.

Best of luck talking to your nan about this - I think the two important points are that there are clear, documented examples of vintage lesbians not just existing but living happily, and that just because lesbians weren’t talked about definitely doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Good luck! 💛

On this day in history, 17th August 1473, birth of Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York in Shrewsbury. Richard was the 6th child and 2nd son to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville.

Prince Richard was created Duke of York in May 1474 and made a Knight of the Garter the following year. From this time on, it became a tradition for the second son of the English sovereign to be Duke of York. On 15 January 1478, in St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, when he was about 4 years old, he married the 5-year-old Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk, who had inherited the vast Mowbray estates in 1476. Because York’s father-in-law’s dukedom had become extinct when Anne could not inherit it, he was created Duke of Norfolk and Earl Warenne on 7 February 1477. He was created Earl of Nottingham on 12 June 1476. When Anne de Mowbray died in November 1481 her estates should have passed to William, Viscount Berkeley and to John, Lord Howard. In January 1483 Parliament passed an act that gave the Mowbray estates to Richard, Duke of York and Norfolk, for his lifetime, and at his death to his heirs, if he had any.

His father died on 9 April 1483. Thus his brother Edward, Prince of Wales, became King of England and was acclaimed as such. Under the orders of Lord Protector, Richard duke of Gloucester the young king was transferred to the Tower of London to await the coronation. With her younger son Richard and daughters, Elizabeth Woodville sought sanctuary. On the 16th of June 1483 Elizabeth Woodville was persuaded to send her son Richard to the Tower to join his eldest brother in preparations for coronation. In an act of Parliament, the Titulus Regius, on 25th of June 1483, the eldest children of Edward IV and  Elizabeth Woodville were declared illegitimate on the grounds that Edward IV had a precontract with the widow Lady Eleanor Butler, which was considered a legally binding contract that rendered any other marriage contract invalid. The act also contained charges of witchcraft against Elizabeth Woodville, but gave no details and had no further repercussions.

Edward V, who was no longer king, and his brother Richard, Duke of York, remained in the Tower of London. They were sometimes seen in the garden of the Tower, but there are no known sightings of them after the summer of 1483. What happened to the two of them—the Princes in the Tower—after their disappearance remains unknown.

Pictured: The marriage of Richard of Shrewsbury and Anne de Mowbray by John Northcote, c.1820


♔  T H E  W A R S  O F  T H E  R O S E S  ♔

1478 - 1487: THE END

And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

Richard III (1.1.1)


❀ Edward IV of England - Edward IV’s later reign was relatively uneventful compared with its beginning as the only Lancastrian threat left was Henry Tudor who was in exile in Brittany; this uninterrupted peace meant that Edward was increasingly driven by his hedonistic tendencies and overindulged in wine, women and food; Edward fell fatally ill with a mystery illness during Easter 1483 and he used his remaining days to add important codicils to his will which would have a significant impact on events to come; Edward finally died on the 9th of April 1483 and was initially succeeded on the throne by his son, Edward; it is not known what exactly caused Edward’s death but his unhealthy lifestyle could have been a significant contributing factor in conjunction with an illness which may have been survivable; claims of poison bringing his downfall are generally dismissed as laughable but pneumonia or typhoid remain genuine possible causes.
❀ Edward V of England - In 1480 whilst still Prince of Wales a marriage alliance was arranged with Brittany that would’ve meant that Edward married Anne, Duchess of Brittany upon reaching his majority; Edward heard the news of his father’s demise on the 14th of April 1483 whilst at his home in Ludlow, Wales; Edward set out with a party of knights including his uncle and guardian, Anthony Woodville, older half-brother, Richard Grey and his chamberlain, Thomas Vaughan to London shortly after; Edward’s party converged with his uncle and Lord Protector, Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s at Stony Stratford where Richard met and dined with Edward’s party; on the 29th of April, Anthony Woodville, Richard Grey and Thomas Vaughan were arrested by Richard and sent north as he accused them of plotting against him as Lord Protector; Edward was then escorted to London by Richard and on the 19th of May took up residence in the Tower of London where he was later joined by his younger brother, Richard of Shrewsbury; the royal council had hoped for a speedy coronation Richard, however, postponed the coronation; on the 22nd of June it was preached by Robert Stillington, the Bishop of Bath & Wells that Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville had been illegitimate due to a previous marriage contract, thus making Edward and all his siblings from this marriage, bastards; as a result of this, the Titulus Regius later passed through parliament declaring Edward a bastard and his uncle Richard as the rightful King of England; Edward and his brother Richard then went missing after being seen infrequently within the Tower in 1483, eventually leading them to be known as the Princes in the Tower; word eventually spread that they had died, it is still not known how they died or whether they were murdered and if they were murdered, who did it; the main suspects in the possible murder of the Princes are: Richard III, Henry Stafford or Margaret Beaufort and Henry Tudor.
❀ Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham - In 1483 with Edward IV’s death Henry sided with Richard of Gloucester over the Woodvilles in the struggle for control over Edward V, despite his marriage to Catherine Woodville; he was with Richard when they took possession of the young king at Stony Stratford in April 1483; after these events, Buckingham supported Richard’s claim to the throne possibly due to his antipathy towards the Woodvilles, whom he saw as beneath him and due to his wanting to claim the Bohun estates which Edward IV had rendered Crown property; Buckingham was then granted these lands pending parliamentary approval from Richard III; sometime in late 1483, he became disillusioned with Richard’s reign and began working with John Morton, Bishop of Ely to depose him and place Edward V back upon the throne; when rumours emerged that the Princes were dead, Buckingham suggested Henry Tudor be the natural rallying point for the rebellion and conspired with his mother, Margaret Beaufort, to execute the rebellion; ultimately Buckingham’s plans failed due to the poor weather which prevented Tudor from sailing from Brittany to join him, whilst most of his forces deserted him when faced with Richard’s army; following his failure Buckingham attempted to escape in disguise and sought sanctuary at Beaulieu Abbey; Richard III then put a bounty on his head and Buckingham was betrayed, arrested and convicted of treason; Buckingham was then publicly executed in Salisbury on the 2nd of November 1483
❀ Richard III of England - Before becoming king, Richard was Duke of Gloucester and controlled the north of England for his brother, Edward IV as Lieutenant-General of the North; from 1480 onwards with the ever present threat of war with Scotland, Richard worked with the Earl of Northumberland to repel Scottish raiders and when war was officially declared, led the English army against the Scots; on the 24th of August 1482, Richard along with several others retook Berwick-upon-Tweed for the English throne; upon Edward IV’s death in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector for his nephew Edward V’s minority and engaged in a power struggle with the Woodville faction over this; Richard shortly journeyed south where he met up with Edward V’s party at Stony Stratford, the next day he accused Edward V’s party of plotting against him as Lord Protector and had them arrested and sent north; Richard then escorted the young Edward south to London; throughout May and June of 1483 Richard remained convinced of plots against him and postponed Edward V’s coronation; at a council meeting on the 13th of June, Richard accused William Hastings amongst others of plotting against him and had Hastings summarily executed; following this, sermons were preached declaring Edward IV’s children with Elizabeth Woodville as bastards due to an alleged pre-contract between Edward and Lady Eleanor Butler and petitions were drawn up asking Richard to take the throne; Richard officially ascended the throne on the 25th of June 1483, which was later ratified by the passing of the Titulus Regius through parliament; in late 1483 Richard had to contend with his former ally, the Duke of Buckingham’s rebellion against his reign in favour of Henry Tudor; the rebellion was ill-fated from the start due to bad weather and Richard defeated it easily, he then had Buckingham publicly executed after he was found guilty of treason; at this time Richard also had to contend with rumours of the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, in which he was the primary but not the only suspect; Richard’s reign was made further insecure by the death of his only legitimate son, Edward of Middleham, in April 1484 leaving him without a direct heir; his wife Anne Neville, then died in March 1485 and Richard was left without a direct heir and a wife; Richard sought to secure his position on the throne by arranging a marriage treaty with Portugal, which would ultimately not come to fruition; he also publicly categorically denied any intentions of marrying his niece, Elizabeth of York, following his wife’s death; Richard’s reign finally ended with his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field on the 22nd of August 1485 where he was defeated by Henry Tudor’s forces of Lancastrian loyalists and disaffected Yorkists; it is said that Richard died in the thickest of the fighting.
❀ William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings - During the second half of Edward IV’s reign, Hastings served as Lord Chamberlain and Lieutenant of Calais as well as having lordship over a significant portion of the English midlands; Hastings also had notable active feuds with the Woodville family at this time, especially with his step son-in-law, Thomas Grey; following Edward IV’s death in 1483, Hastings sought to circumvent the Woodvilles monopoly over the young king Edward V and wrote to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, informing him of the Woodvilles movements; Hastings then supported Richard as Lord Protector and worked with him as a member of the royal council; on the 13th of June 1483, Hastings was accused of plotting with the Woodvilles to overthrow Richard as Lord Protector, using his mistress, Jane Shore, as a go between; Hastings was then immediately taken from the council meeting within the Tower of London and was summarily executed in the courtyard; it is still not known whether there was an actual plot or not against Richard that was formulated by Hastings; he was not attainted and his wife was placed under the protection of her cousin, Richard III of England.
❀ John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk - After the death of Edward IV in April 1483, Norfolk bore the royal banner at Edward IV’s funeral; in the following political clashes between factions, John supported Richard of Gloucester’s claim to the throne and as a result, bore his crown at Richard III’s coronation; Norfolk was then appointed Lord High Steward to Richard III; on the 28th of June 1483, he was created 1st Duke of Norfolk, he was later also created Earl Marshal, and Lord Admiral of all England, Ireland, and Aquitaine; Norfolk commanded the vanguard at the Battle of Bosworth Field; he is said to have been killed when a Lancastrian arrow struck him in the face after the face guard had been torn off his helmet during an earlier altercation with John De Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford.


♔ Buckingham’s rebellion - 24th of September 1483
♔ Battle of Bosworth Field - 22nd of August 1485
♔ Battle of Stoke Field - 16th of June 1487

anonymous asked:

Why did Henry VII and Elizabeth of York have a long engagement after Henry conquered England? He could marry her very quickly but he didn't.

If my memory serves me well, there was the five month gap between Henry VII’s victory at Bosworth Field and his wedding to Elizabeth of York. 

On 15th September 1485, writs were issued for Henry VII’s first parliament to be held on 7th November; at the same time, Elizabeth was living with Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry’s mother. Henry’s coronation followed shortly after the battle of Bosworth and his triumphal arrival in London – on 30th October 1485, a week before the assembly of his first parliament.

Henry couldn’t marry Elizabeth when she was still considered illegitimate. So the first thing he had to deal with was the legitimization of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville’s children and the cancellation of Titulus Regius, the pivotal act passed by Richard III that declared Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville null and void on the grounds of his secret pre-contract to Lady Eleanor Butler (I don’t believe that this pre-contract existed). Henry’s first parliament repealed Titulus Regius. At the same time, Henry and Elizabeth were already communicating, trying to get to know each other better.

There was another important thing – they needed to procure a papal dispensation to go ahead with the marriage. Elizabeth and Henry were related by blood: they were distant cousins as they both descended from John of Gaunt. So they needed a dispensation, and it took some time to get it. Once they received it, they were officially married on 18th January 1486, in Westminster Abbey. If they consummated their relationship before the exchange of marriage vows, Elizabeth could have already been pregnant at that time of their public marriage.

Actually, Henry VII didn’t have much time to revel in the laurels of his victory. He had much work to do in England after Richard III’s defeat: peace had to be established, he wanted to be crowned before marrying Elizabeth, and he had to eliminate the obstacles to his marriage, making sure that his union Edward IV’s eldest daughter would be indisputable. He couldn’t marry her immediately after his victory, and so Elizabeth had to wait for several months; I think she enjoyed the moment of quietude after the two uncertain and unhappy years of her life during the reign of her uncle Richard.  

There is one interesting post explaining why Elizabeth of York, who had a stronger blood claim to the throne of England, would have never been accepted as a queen regnant. If you wish, you may check it. The link is here.

lazylaziel  asked:

Fun fact about Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. Sarah (I believe) kept a diary and there was no mention of sex in it. However, she -did- write that she suffered from severe headaches that kept them in bed. Both of them. Aaaaaaaall day long. Frequently.

omg those saucy minxes. 

they must have just been cackling at the world like “u dumb”