Menu The Buggery Act The Buggery Act made sodomy a capital offence for the first time in English law and was subsequently exported to all of the British colonies, where some of the worst anti gay laws still exist today. I have read a lot of the history of persecution of LGBT people and one thing seems clear. Apart from a few isolated periods of extreme persecution, same sex relationships were not just tolerated, but seem to have been largely accepted as normal until the reign of Henry VIII. Thomas Cromwell Even the Bible overall is not overtly opposed to homosexuality.

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Why is the Buggery Act such a big deal! The Buggery Act wove a tangled web that stretches throughout history. The Buggery Act was the brainchild of Henry VIII who had a fun habit of lumbering the UK with laws that came out of him wanting to make a point during a hissy fit…yet inexplicably stuck around for hundreds of years at a major human cost e.

But lets take it back to pre-Henry for a second. Prior to there were no set laws to persecute homosexuality in England. In the 13th century two legal codes called for men caught having same sex relationships to be buried alive or burnt, which is horrific! However, these were suggestions, not actual laws and there is no evidence that these punishments were ever carried out.

For the most part, the then frowned upon act was dealt with in the ecclesiastic courts so basically it was left with god and his earthly servants to deal with either after death or in the realm of the church As such, the sudden decision to make homosexuality criminal was a big deal.

In fact it was such a big deal that this sharp turn to criminalisation actually had to be addressed in the original statues outlining the act. Because why create The Buggery Act and criminalise same sex relationships at this particular moment in time? To persecute the Catholic Church of course! The Buggery Act was just part of this plan. It was solely designed to take away a little bit of the power away from The Catholic Church, not to actually persecute homosexuality.

And yet this law was about to take its first victim. By the Buggery Act had done its job. Thomas Cromwell had played Cupid for these nuptials, hooking Henry up with his new wife, Anne of Cleves. On the 29 June Thomas Cromwell was beheaded for treason and his mate, Walter Hungerford, became the first person to be executed under The Buggery Act among other allegations.

So, we can all agree that thus far, The Buggery Act is a very bloody farce. And from there it started to truly transform into a law for persecution. For much of the 15th and 16th centuries arrests and executions under the Buggery Act were few and far between.

One of the huge issues of The Buggery Act being a law, was that Britons leaving the country took it with them. Take for example those plucky puritans who set sail for the brave new world of America — alongside terrible hats and a smattering of racism, they made sure to also pack legal persecution!

And so the legal execution of people for homosexuality began in a new country. Two years later, Massachusetts hung William Plain on allegations of sodomy that took place in England so before he even moved to America! If you thought things were bad, they are about to get even worse. Back in Britain, a more vocal queer community was starting to appear, thanks to the underground popularity of Molly Houses places where queer men could be free to openly show their sexuality , kind of the great great great grandfather of the small town gay bar.

But this emerging light in the dark attracted the worst kind of people and they dedicated themselves to eradicating what they saw as the gay scourge. Determined to rid London of its LGBT subculture, they worked undercover to infiltrate Molly Houses, gather evidence against its users and then together with the police, raid them.

One such raid was that of Mother Claps house in Dozens of men were rounded up and arrested, with several fined and pilloried. Trials for men accused under The Buggery Act sprung up across England.

The pair then got chatting with an older man, William Bonill and went back to his rooms. William Bonill soon left to get another drink at the pub, leaving James and John alone. Neither James Pratt or John Smith stood a chance in court. Of seventeen others sentenced to death at the same time as John and James for crimes including attempted murder all had their sentences commuted to transportation to Australia.

All expect John Smith and James Pratt. A huge crowd gathered outside Newgate Jail to watch their deaths. Watching his possible partner, John Smith, being blindfolded and his noose put on, caused James Pratt an understandable level of anguish. This is indeed horrible. Which I think summarises the pointlessness and brutality the Buggery Act had on all those who feel under its wake. In the laws around homosexuality as an illegal act were dropped. All of this, because in a pissed of King set up a law that he hoped would bring down a religion — the persecution of thousands if not millions, was just secondary.

The Peter Tatchall Foundation , a human rights charity with an amazing section of history of laws that sought to persecute The British Library , where you can look at so many of the original documents I mention in this, digitally wherever you are in the world! Share this:.


Talk:Buggery Act 1533

The Act defined buggery as an unnatural sexual act against the will of God and man. This was later defined by the courts to include only anal penetration and bestiality. And that no person offending in any such offence shall be admitted to his Clergy So it is also possible that he or his advisers may have had this use in mind when the bill was drafted. He was also accused of buggery. In his case, the sentence was commuted to imprisonment and he was released in less than a year.


Buggery Act

And that no person offending in any such offence shall be admitted to his Clergy So it is also possible that he or his advisers may have had this use in mind when the bill was drafted. He was also accused of buggery. In his case, the sentence was commuted to imprisonment and he was released in less than a year. He went on to become headmaster of Westminster School. However, it was re-enacted by Queen Elizabeth I in Although "homosexual prosecutions throughout the sixteenth century [were] sparse" and "fewer than a dozen prosecutions are recorded up through


Why you have to know about the 1533 Buggery Act

Edward ii[ edit ] How about the punishment for Buggery in Elizabethan times: the insertion of a red-hot poker into the area in question, or is this merely legend? In any event, legend has it that Edward ii, known for his gay preferences, suffered death in this manner. In any event several of them confessed to this "crime," at least under torture! Paragraph chopped around a bit. It is the Buggery Act of It was introduced in the House of Lords in January , and expedited passed on 7 February

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