Document: Passages from Anne Lister's will - Wills proved during April 1841, surnames H-L, Catalogue Ref: PROB 10/6000
Description: 'I give and devise all my estate called Shibden Hall...unto my friend Miss Ann Walker who is now living with me at Shibden Hall. ...'
Anne Lister (1791 – 1840) has famously been dubbed the 'first modern lesbian' due to her extensive diaries that documented her multiple relationships with women throughout her life. In these excerpts from her will, held at The National Archives, we can find hints of her marriage to Ann Walker (here referred to as her 'friend'). We can see that the two lived together at Anne's estate, Shibden Hall, and that she left her entire estate to Ann.
Near the end of the will, Anne included the condition that, if Ann Walker was ever to (legally) marry, her entitlement to the estate would disappear, 'as if the said Ann Walker should have then departed this life'. Many of Anne Lister's former partners had married men and this shows that she must have been worried that the same thing would happen to Ann after her death.
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Learn more about our records related to Anne Lister in this blog post:
This is the last will and testament of me Anne Lister of Shibden Hall in the township of Southowram in the parish of Halifax in the county of York, spinster, made the ninth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty six. I give and devise all my estate called Shibden Hall and all and singular the messuages farms lands tenements and real estate whatsoever and wheresoever which I am in anywise seized of or entitled to or have power to dispose of unto my friend Miss Ann Walker who is now living with me at Shibden Hall. …
Provided lastly and I do hereby declare that in case of the marriage of the said Ann Walker all and singular the trust estates monies and premises and all the trusts proven and authorities whatsoever hereinbefore given to as or reposed in her shall thenceforth cease and determine in the same manner to all intents constrictions and purposes as if the said Ann Walker should have then departed this life. …
Owner: The National Archives UK
Source: Flickr Commons