Anne Lister
(1791-1840)

woman and entrepreneur

Died aged c. 49

Anne Lister (1791–1840) was a well-off Yorkshire landowner, diarist, mountaineer and traveller.Throughout her life she kept diaries which chronicled the details of her daily life, including her lesbian relationships, her financial concerns, her industrial activities and her work improving Shibden Hall. Her diaries contain more than 4,000,000 words and about a sixth of them—those concerning the intimate details of her romantic and sexual relationships—were written in code. The code, derived from a combination of algebra and Ancient Greek, was deciphered in the 1980s. Lister is often called "the first modern lesbian" for her clear self-knowledge and openly lesbian lifestyle. Called "Fred" by her lover and "Gentleman Jack" by Halifax residents, she suffered from harassment for her sexuality, and recognised her similarity to the Ladies of Llangollen, whom she visited. She was a rural gentlewoman who directed the renovation and landscaping of Shibden Hall, near Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, which she had inherited from her uncle, James Lister.

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Commemorated on 4 plaques

Keith Seabridge on Flickr
Keith Seabridge on Flickr
Nick Harrison on Flickr
Keith Seabridge on Flickr

On Easter Sunday 1834, Anne Lister and Ann Walker had their marriage solemnised in Holy Trinity Church. Anne Lister - widely known as Gentleman Jack - recorded in her diary: 'The first time I ever joined Miss W[alker] in my prayers - I had prayed that our union might be happy'.

Holy Trinity Church, 70 Goodramgate, York, United Kingdom where they was married at (1834)

Anne Lister 1791-1840 Gender-nonconforming entrepreneur. Celebrated marital commitment, without legal recognition, to Ann Walker in this church. Easter, 1834.

Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate , York, United Kingdom where they was married at (1834)

Anne Lister 1791-1840 diarist, businesswoman, landowner, traveller and lesbian who recorded much of her personal life in a secret code. She lived at Shibden Hall from 1815 to 1840

Shibden Hall, Halifax, United Kingdom where they lived

Anne Lister 1791-1840 of Shibden Hall, Halifax Lesbian and Diarist; took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker Easter 1834

Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York, United Kingdom where they was