LGBTQ history has often been hidden from view, but many individuals throughout history have lived radical private lives outside the accepted sexual norms of the time.
Find out more about the lives of England’s LGBTQ people, and their important place in the stories of English Heritage sites.
Stories of England’s LGBTQ Past
Find out about LGBTQ individuals associated with English Heritage sites, and how the laws and norms of the time affected their lives.
Piers Gaveston, Hugh Despenser and the Downfall of Edward II
Discover how Edward II’s reliance on his ‘favourites’ and possible lovers, Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser, led to his abdication and death.
Sir Walter Hungerford and the ‘Buggery Act’
Find out how Sir Walter Hungerford, owner of Farleigh Hungerford Castle, came to be the first man in England to be executed under the ‘Buggery Act’.
‘Romantic Female Friendship’ and Chiswick House
Explore the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and the fashion for ‘romantic female friendships’ in 18th-century England.
Lord Beauchamp, Walmer Castle, and Homosexuality
William Lygon, Lord Beauchamp, was a known homosexual in the 1920s and 1930s, leading to a dramatic fall from grace. Read more about the man whose misfortunes inspired Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’.
Seely and Paget at Eltham Palace
Discover the story of John Seely and Paul Paget, who ran one of the most noteworthy architectural firms of the interwar period, and completed their masterpiece at Eltham Palace in 1936.
Of the hundreds of individuals honoured with a London blue plaque, many have lived radical private lives outside the accepted sexual norms of the time, from Oscar Wilde to Virginia Woolf and Alan Turing. Some were persecuted for it and some helped to challenge public perceptions of gender and sexuality. Explore the stories of some of London’s famous LGBTQ residents through our blue plaques scheme.
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England’s LGBTQ Heritage
Explore places of LGBTQ heritage across England, ranging from the frontiers of Roman Britain to the gay pubs that remain important in our lives today. Part of Historic England’s ‘Pride of Place’ project.
Image: A wedding party at the Streatham Derby and Joan Club in the 1960s
© Private Collection
Top image: William Lygon, Lord Beauchamp, who lived at Walmer Castle from 1913 to 1931
© National Portrait Gallery, London