Anne Lister – 1791-1840 / Mariana Belcombe Lawton

Written by: Leo Lawton

October 25, 2015

The daughter of a British soldier of Halifax, Yorkshire, who fought at Lexington and Concord in the colonial uprising, Anne was a confirmed open lesbian in her early teens, unheard of in her time. Her first love was Eliza Raine with whom she shared a room at boarding school. One of her next lovers was a young lady named Mariana Belcombe, daughter of a prominent local doctor. By this time she had become known as Gentleman Jack by the local population.

Meanwhile the Lawton family of Church Lawton, Cheshire had been established since about 1066 when William the Conqueror slew King Harold and declared himself King William. Hugh Lawton, as a soldier of William’s army, became a landowner in Cheshire.

Now, more than 700 years later, Charles Bourne Lawton was master of the estate. About 1800 he married Anne Featherstonehaugh who died in 1814. On March 11, 1816, Charles married the very same Mariana Belcombe previously mentioned, as his second wife. He had been quite smitten with her while his first wife was yet alive. Probably with Charles’ consent, and undoubtedly with his full knowledge, Mariana continued her relationship with Anne Lister until 1840 when Anne, traveling in Russia, suddenly died.

Miss Lister continued to keep diaries of her complete life with her entire lesbian lifestyle written in a self-determined code. Only in recent times was this code of Greek, Zodiac signs, and mathematical symbols broken. It is considered the first known written record of its kind.