Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Johannes or Eleanor?

John Rykener, known also as Johannes Richer and Eleanor, was a 14th century transvestite prostitute working mainly in London (near Cheapside), but also active in Oxford. In 1395, he was arrested for cross-dressing and interrogated. The records have survived, the only surviving legal records from that age which mention same-sex intercourse.

During his interrogation, Rykener claimed to have had many clients including priests, monks and nuns; he said that he preferred priests because they paid better than others. He mentioned a Franciscan friar, who had given him a gold ring, a Carmelite friar and six foreigners, "of whom one gave Rykener twelve pence, one twenty pence, and one two shillings".

This link has a record of his trial - plus an image of the original record!

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