Plaque in York honours 'first modern lesbian' Anne Lister

  • Published
Anne ListerImage source, Calderdale Museums
Image caption,
Anne Lister has been remembered at the church where she married Ann Walker in 1834

A rainbow plaque honouring a woman described as "the first modern lesbian" has been unveiled in York.

The unveiling at Holy Trinity Church commemorates Anne Lister's "marital commitment" to Ann Walker in 1834.

Lister was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1791 and is known for her coded diaries which tell the story of her life and lesbian relationships.

The blue plaque with rainbow edging is the city's first LGBT history plaque and comes following a funding campaign.

York Civic Trust said it honours Lister, who has been called "the first modern lesbian".

Image source, Keith Seabridge
Image caption,
The plaques is in Holy Trinity Church, York

Lister's diaries tell the story of her life and lesbian relationships at Shibden Hall, where she lived between 1791 and 1840.

The journals, of more than four million words, were recognised as a "pivotal" document in British history by the United Nations in 2011.

A new BBC TV drama starring Suranne Jones which is based on Lister's diaries, Gentleman Jack, is in production.

Some of the diaries have been decoded for the first time for the drama, which is due to be screened on BBC One in 2019.

Image caption,
Suranne Jones (Anne Lister) and Sophie Rundle (Ann Walker) in costume for Gentleman Jack

Lister's diaries, which had to be decoded, included love letters to a woman named Eliza Raine, who she shared a bedroom with at the Manor boarding-school in York.

The plaque was unveiled at in Goodramgate, York where on 30 March 1834, Lister received the church's blessing to privately contract a marriage to Ann Walker.

The couple lived together until Lister's death six years later.

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