Sexuality & Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare


Banner Image for Sexuality and its%0D%0A  impact on history.pngSexuality & Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare

Learn of the scandals and romance that shaped Great Britain. This provocative collection of essays depicts the cultural and societal kinks of the British, from the Anglo-Saxons, Medieval, Tudor, Regency, and Victorian eras.

Discover the ménage that changed the course of the Anglo-Saxon throne, go undercover to explore Courtly Love, learn about the business of Tudor and Regency marriages. Read of a possible dalliance involving Queen Anne Boleyn, and the controversial marriages of Mary, Queen of Scots. Peek into the bedrooms of Victorian prostitutes.

Each story provides shocking detail about what was at the heart of romance throughout British history.

Would you swig a magic potion or plot to kill your husband in order to marry your lover? These are just two of the many romantic and sexual customs from British history that you will explore when seven authors take us through the centuries, revealing that truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to love. From bizarre trivia about courtly love, to techniques and prostitution, you’ll encounter memorable nuggets of provocative info that you’ll want to share with friends and co-workers.

It’s all here: Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom, ménage a trois, chastity belts, Tudor fallacies, royal love and infidelity, marriage contracts (which were more like business arrangements), and brothels, kept women, and whorehouses. Take a peek at what really happened between the sheets. Each story provides you with shocking detail about what was at the heart of romance throughout British history.

The Impact of Sexuality in History: The British Stripped Bare chronicles the pleasures and perils of the flesh, sharing secrets from the days of the Anglo-Saxons, medieval courtly love traditions, diabolical Tudor escapades—including those of Anne Boleyn and Mary Queen of Scots—the Regency, and down to the ‘prudish’ Victorian Era. This scholarly yet accessible study brings to light the myriad varieties of British sexual mores.


Pen & Sword Books:

Amazon UK:

1 + 2018 Sexuality in History Brits%0D%0A  Stripped Bare.jpg

Chapter 1

Godiva: Lady, Legend, Legacy

Emma Haddon-Wright

Chapter 2

Rioting in the Harlot’s Embrace: Matrimony & Sanctimony in Anglo-Saxon England

Annie Whitehead

Chapter 3

The Art of Courtly Love: The Ideal and Practice of Love in the Middle Ages

Jessica Cale

Chapter 4

The Tudor Marriage Game

Maryanne Coleman

Chapter 5 

These Bloody Days: The Relationship between Anne Boleyn & Thomas Wyatt

Judith Arnopp

Chapter 6 

The Marriages of Mary Queen of Scots

Gayle Hulme

Chapter 7

Succession, Confusion and Ramifications: Who Should Wear the Crown?

Dr. Beth Lynne

Chapter 8

Lips of Flame & Heart of Stone

The Impact of Prostitution in Victorian Britain and its Global Influence

Hunter S. Jones



Emma Haddon-Wright is a total Goth, and lover of all things macabre & mysterious. She has a BA (Hons) Medieval to Modern European History. She is devoted to her family, history and is thrilled to be included in Sexuality & Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare! You can find her in Plymouth, England.


Annie Whitehead spends her life researching and writing about Anglo-Saxon history; the kingdom of Mercia in particular. She is an editor for English Historical Fiction Authors, the winner of the Historical Writers’ Association/Dorothy Dunnett Award, and is a member of the Royal Historical Society. She’s written three novels set in Mercia, blogs at Casts Light upon the Shadow, and was a previous Independent Author Network Book of the Year Finalist. She is currently writing a history of Mercia to be published in the autumn of 2018.

Find her online at these sites:







Jessica Cale is a romance author, editor, and historian based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a B.A. in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. She is the editor of Dirty, Sexy History and you can visit her at


Maryanne Coleman lives in the English countryside and can be found mainly digging in archives, or her garden. Her passions are King Arthur, Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe. She has many degrees, mainly in English Literature, Tudor History, and Elizabethan Theatre. She isn’t online, so no need to look for her. Although she may often be found at Heathrow Airport waiting on a flight to the French Riviera.

Judith Arnopp’s life-long passion for history eventually led her to the University of Wales where she gained a B.A. in English and Creative Writing, and a Masters in Medieval History.

Her first novel, Peaceweaver was published in 2009, quickly followed by two others. Her best-selling Tudor novel, The Winchester Goose lead her to create five more novels covering the lives of Anne Boleyn, Katheryn Parr and Elizabeth of York. The King’s Mother is the third book in The Beaufort Chronicles a trilogy following the fascinating life of Margaret Beaufort. She is researching her eleventh novel.

Judith’s non-fiction work has been published in various historical anthologies and she is active online. Follow her on social media:  

Gayle Hulme was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland and after many years of soaking up island life in Jersey, Channel Islands she returned to Scotland via historic Warwickshire, England.  Back in bonnie Scotland she now enjoys hanging out with husband Paul, son Jamie and two silly, but adorable dogs, Millie and Spot. Weekdays are spent motivating women as a group fitness instructor.

She spends weekends travelling the UK investigating dusty corners of historical castles, palaces and museums.  Her passions and fascinations are hugely diverse.  In the morning she could be reading about her favourite royal heroine Queen Anne Boleyn and by the afternoon she might be at Ibrox Stadium cheering on the Glasgow Rangers FC.  By evening she could be away with the fairies or learning about ancient Hawaiian wisdom.


Find her at:


Dr. Beth Lynne is a freelance editor and author. She has worked with writers in a range of genres since 2011, including dissertations. She has a Bachelors in English (SUNY Albany), Masters in Elementary Education, Special Education (LIU/CUNY Queens), Education Administration, and a doctorate in Education Leadership (Rowan University).

Originally from New York, Beth worked as a teacher in the New York City Public Schools before moving to New Jersey, where she worked teaching social studies, science, math, and English to a variety of grade levels. She decided to pursue her passion and self-published four books on Amazon. During this time, she discovered her forte was editing. Thus, BZ Hercules, named after her pets at the time, was born! Beth devoted herself to the art of examining the work of others, creating e-books and print books. This venture has been so successful it enabled her to retire from teaching in 2017.

Beth currently lives in sunny Florida with her husband, daughter, and several pets. She spends her spare time walking her dogs, exploring amazing restaurants, watching movies, shopping and writing whenever possible.

Contact her at these sites:


Hunter S, Jones is passionate about the history of romance, science and music, a.k.a. sex, drugs and rock & roll. She has a popular history blog, and is a historian for Past Preservers Casting. When she isn’t writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, she’s living the dream in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband.

Look for her first collection of historical essays, The Impact of Sexuality in History: The British Stripped Bare, available March 2018 from Pen and Sword Books. She is delighted to work with the talented team of Emma Haddon-Wright, Annie Whitehead, Jessica Cale, Maryanne Coleman, Judith Arnopp, Gayle Hulme, and Dr. Beth Lynne.

To find out more, follow her on social media:

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Part I: THE DAY oF STORMS by Stuart S. Laing

Layered Pages

The Day of Storms Final Photo by Maxine Stewart

I’ve challenged Author Stuart S. Laing to write a story inspired by this photo shared on Facebook a few weeks ago and he accepted my challenge and wrote a short story called The Day of Storms that takes place in The Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, February 5th 1794. In this story, you will meet Sarah, Rebecca Hopkins and a band of ruthless smugglers.

The Day of Storms Story coverThe Kingdom of Fife, Scotland.

February 5th 1794.

 Sarah Hopkins rolled her eyes in annoyance as she watched the dwindling figure of her coachman being swallowed up by the driving wind lashing across the frozen quayside. With a barely suppressed sigh her hazel eyes turned towards the broken wheel which had brought her journey to a sudden halt here in the small fishing village of Anstruther on the East Neuk of Fife. Losing a wheel had been bad enough, but the coach…

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Courtesy of Layered Pages.

via A Glance at a Southern Story: My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella

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Book Spotlight: Close To Shore by Michael Capuzza

Source: Book Spotlight: Close To Shore by Michael Capuzza

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The view across the Forth towards Edinburgh at 4.40 this morning IMG_20170603_043959.jpg

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Coming home to roost

Wee Ginger Dug

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Today’s the day we saw betterthigitherness coming home to roost in all its pooling and sharing glory. Are we surprised that a Tory government finally came for you where you live? ‘Forward together’ with ‘strong and stable’ government in the national interest. “Stronger, fairer and more prosperous than ever before” is the claim. And if you don’t agree with that leadership? Presumably yer agin’ the national interest I suppose.

Today was Tory manifesto day and it’s a helluva document for yer average Joe Public to peruse. Full of the usual policy wonk doublespeak (as are most manifestos tbf), and robbing Peter to pay Paul economic waffle, which basically means we’re still skint and I’m passing round the hat to those who can least afford it. There are however, subjects that stand out to almost everyone who takes an interest. Even if you don’t understand…

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The Devil’s Assembly – chapter 1

Unedited and raw, this is from my current WIP

Chapter One

Monday 23rd May 1746

“Aye, well it looks as though we’ll no’ be getting our heads laid down in a cosy bed the night after all.” The speaker, Hamish McLeod, a heavily bearded man of middle age dressed in the garb of a Highlander, turned to face the young woman who lay alongside him among the heather of a hillside twenty miles south-east of Fort William. “If I’m any judge,” he added quietly, “the man on that fine white horse is the Devil himself.”

Her dark narrowed eyes dangerously as she stared with utter hatred towards the redcoated officer at the head of thirty infantrymen as they fanned out to surround the lonely croft she and the party of fugitives had been heading for. Had they not been forced to take a detour due to a collapsed bridge over a narrow gorge they would already have been resting in the whitewashed cottage standing alone on the open moorland below. “So that is Captain Alisdair Mackenzie then?” she said, the loathing plain in her educated voice. She may be dressed in the simple garb of a Highland woman but her accent and bearing marked her out as lady of quality.

“Aye, that’s him, m’lady Murray,” her companion replied as he gestured for the half dozen heavily armed men to sink deeper into the cover of the heather. “Give thanks to our Lady Mary and all the saints that we were late getting here. If we had made better time, we’d be down there caught like rabbits in a snare.”

“Is it just simple chance that has brought that creature here?” she pondered aloud. She knew there was a price on her head. £30 for whoever delivered her, Lady Margaret Murray into the clutches of the hated British. She doubted if many of her former friends and acquaintances would recognise her if they passed her in the street these days. Long gone were the days when she been at the very centre of Jacobite high society. The balls held in the Royal palace of Holyrood House at the foot of the Mile in Edinburgh when the cause had been in all its glory were but a distant memory now. She had been at the very heart of things in those glorious days when it seemed that the restoration of Britain’s true monarch was only days away. The dreams of Restoration had withered and died on the long retreat to Scotland from Derby. Only 150 miles had stood between an undefeated army of loyal Highland warriors and London but all were gone now. Gone too were the beautiful gowns and dancing slippers she had worn at Royal balls and social gatherings. Now it was rough, homespun dresses and stout leather brogues she wore. Her long hair of the deepest black, once artfully crafted into the latest fashion with flowers and ribbons entwined, was now filthy, lank and held back from her thin face by a simple ribbon of cloth cut from a dead man’s shirt. She was tired, dirty, hungry and slowly falling ill with a chest infection exacerbated by too many nights sleeping under the stars or in byres. Such had her life become since that fateful day on Drumossie Moor where the hopes of the Jacobite cause had finally fallen before the cannon, muskets and bayonets of the British Army. She had escaped the field of battle only to be forced to take to the hills as the victorious redcoats spread out across the Highlands on the hunt for all those they considered worthy of special attention. Her role as wife to Prince Charles Edward Stewart’s private secretary, and her self-appointed role to act as recruiting sergeant for the cause, had marked her as an enemy of King George. Now her husband was a prisoner, rumoured to be busily betraying his former comrades to save his own skin. She had heard these rumours but could not accept them as fact. So many lies had already been spoken by the British that she would not trust them if they said the sky was blue and the grass was green.

The man by her side shrugged. “There’s a chance it is simple coincidence, aye, but more likely, they knew where to come looking for you, m’lady.”

“Who knew where we would be?” she hissed bitterly. “Surely it was only those here?”

“Secrets are like water in a broken bucket,” Hamish grumbled in reply. “Always pouring out when you don’t want them to. Since we left Kingussie and took to the hills, we’ve passed a dozen other groups of men trying to get home from the war. We’ve all told each other which houses are safe to visit and where we can find shelter. Anyone of them could have let slip that we would likely end up here.”

“Yes, but how could this creature Mackenzie know that it was today we were due to arrive?”

“M’lady, probably because the man is the devil incarnate…” His words died away as he pointed down towards the scene outside the croft several hundred yards below them. The redcoated infantry had forced the family who lived there out into the early evening sunshine and roughly lined them up against the wall. Captain Mackenize could be seen on his white horse as he slowly rode back and forth before the family, clearly addressing the two men, four women and half dozen children who did their best to stare defiantly back at his words and questions.

“What is he doing?” Margaret Murray asked as a feeling of sick apprehension poisoned her stomach.

“You’ve heard the stories about him, have you not?” her companion replied grimly. “He is likely demanding they tell him where you are.”

“But how can they answer that question? They don’t know that I am part of this party. He is terrorising those poor people for no good reason. Surely he cannot presume to punish them for being unable to answer a question when it is impossible to do so?”

“There is a reason why we Gaels call that man the Devil in Red.”

“Surely he cannot mean to commit an outrage against those poor people? They have done nothing wrong.”

“If Captain Mackenzie has heard tell that they have been offering fugitives a bed for the night, then that is reason enough for him to display his brand of British justice. God knows he has done worse to others simply because he wanted to see someone die. Men hanged for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Homes burned down, cattle stolen, women raped. Mackenzie knows no bounds of moral conduct. His word is law. He is judge, jury and executioner now. And he is doing it all in the name of his king. Aye, a true British officer and gentleman!”

She shook her head in frustrated anger. “Give me your musket,” she demanded. “I’ll shoot the dog down and put an end to him once and for all.”

“He’s too far away, M’lady,” he answered gently. “All you would do is bring us to his attention and we are badly outgunned. As much as it pains me to say this, we can do nothing but pray that that creature leaves the family in peace. That is all we can do.”

Margaret, her fists clenched in frustration, seethed with barely contained fury as she forced herself to watch the drama unfolding below her. The infantry who had earlier surrounded the croft had now gathered together to watch the family. Some entered the house and were obviously ransacking it as they emerged displaying the stolen property like trophies. Captain Mackenzie made no move to stop them as bedding, furniture and food were all taken to be placed on a wagon which had accompanied them. She watched as he rode forward until he was only a few feet from the helpless souls whose fate he held in the palm of his hand. A gasp escaped from between her lips as a shot suddenly rang and one of the women pitched headlong to the turf while children wailed and fell to their knees around the body.

“He’s killed her!” she uttered in disbelief. “He just murdered a woman in cold blood in front of her very children!”

“The Devil in Red,” the warrior by her side growled. “You had best look away, Mistress Murray. Things will only get worse now.”

“Worse? How can they get worse?”

He laid a comforting hand on her arm to feel it shaking with anger, fear and horror. “He still has the rest of the family to amuse himself with,” he said darkly.

redcoat10 It was more a determination to witness the man’s depravity to further stoke her hatred of the British that made Margaret force herself to watch as a dozen infantrymen formed themselves into a line before the grieving family. Mackenzie rode his white horse with utter nonchalance to one side and raised an arm.

“Please, Mistress,” her companion urged her. “Do not look,”

She could only shake her head then stifle a scream as the arm fell and the muskets roared. In utter horror she watched the family be smashed from their feet as the heavy musket-balls stole their lives away. As tears came to her dark eyes she watched Captain Mackenzie lay a comforting hand on the neck of his horse. His concern for his mount far outweighed his concern for the lives of the women and children he had just destroyed.

“They missed a bairn,” one of the other warriors hissed. “Look at him run. Go on, boy, run!” he urged the small figure who had risen from the pile of corpses and now ran for his life. The redcoats nearby made no attempt to stop him, it was clear they were too busy laughing to do anything else allowing their officer to nudge his horse into an easy canter in pursuit of the young boy.

“Do something to help!” Margaret all but shouted, her fist beating the shoulder of the man by her side. “For the love of God, help the child!”

He chewed his lip, his brow furrowed deeply as he contemplated what he could possibly do that would be of any use. With a muttered curse he signalled for two of his men to join him while Margaret willed Mackenzie’s horse to fall and prayed for the boy to get to safety. Even as the trio of Jacobites began to rise from the heather they knew it was already too late. The redcoated officer had overtaken the child and forced him to a halt. It was clear he was speaking to the helpless figure who had fallen to his knees and wept for his slaughtered family.

“He’s going to kill that child, isn’t he?” Margaret asked in an empty voice. Her companion could only nod as he, and the others, sank back into the cover of the heather and bracken. After only a moment Mackenzie could be seen leaning down from the saddle, his arm outstretched as though to offer the hand of friendship. When the weeping child refused it his rolling shoulders, even at this distance, revealed his laughter. Seconds later his pistol barked again and the child was gone.

“Monster!” Margaret spat. “They are all monsters!” Her eyes blazed with the light of battle as she rounded on her companions. “Are you men at all?” she said furiously. “How can you let this go unpunished? Our countrymen and women are murdered before our eyes and you sit here and do nothing! If you lack the courage to fight them, someone give me a musket and I’ll do it myself. I won’t allow this crime to go unavenged.”

The men looked uncertainly towards their leader who gave a helpless shrug. Below them thick smoke had begun to billow from the croft as the soldiers set fire to everything that would burn. With a resigned shake of his head he finally said, “You’ll be the death of all us, Mistress Murray, but you are right. We have to strike back at Mackenzie. Not here though. We would be shot down before we had the chance to get him.”

“Where then?” she demanded angrily.

He ran a scarred hand through his beard as his mind worked. “I have it,” he said grimly. “They will likely head back towards Fort William now. They must stick to the track with that wagon they use to carry away their plunder. We can move over the hills to get ahead of them. We cannot beat them in open battle, but we can give them a bloody nose from ambuscade, and that is just what we shall do.”

Finally Lady Margaret Murray could allow herself to smile. It was a smile bereft of joy for it held only the promise of death for Captain Alisdair Mackenzie. “Someone fetch me a spare musket, I need it loaded for I am going to put a shot through that villain’s black heart!”


*          *          *


Two hours later as the sun slowly sank behind the towering mountains to the west, the small party of Jacobites burrowed down among the rocks and broom atop a small hill fringing the narrow track that Mackenzie and his men must travel. Already they could be heard singing a crude song as they celebrated the day’s events. It was clear that whisky and ale had been among their stolen booty and this heartless killer of women and children was now allowing his minions to make merry. Lady Margaret listened to them sing and wondered whether they were trying drown their consciences in liquor. She doubted it. More likely their hearts were as equally tarnished and without any human pity as the man who commanded them. As the British came into sight she could finally see the face of the man she already loathed with every fibre of her body. He was not what she expected. Mackenzie was no more than thirty years of age, well formed with an athletic build and broad shoulders. This monster had a very human face, darkly handsome with wideset eyes and a mouth lifted into a pleasant smile as he encouraged his men to sing. It was only the knowledge of what lay beneath that seemingly human exterior that steeled her nerves to act as assassin.

The road ran less than seventy feet below where they lay and drawing the butt of the musket firmly into her shoulder, she sighted down the long barrel at the smiling face.

“Mind, aim low, for the gun will kick,” the bearded figure instructed her. “We’ll only have time to fire once so make sure it counts.” She gave a tight nod but did as he said. Moving the barrel down to aim at his stomach as he drew nearer with every second. “And wait until I fire first,” he added. “We need them where they are most vulnerable to our shot.”

With clammy hands and her heartrate thundering painfully in her chest she felt sick to her stomach with anticipation. Her whole body seemed to shake as she swallowed again and again in an attempt to soothe her scattered nerves. Almost distantly she was aware of her companion telling all to make ready while the enemy were now almost directly below them.

“FIRE!” he bellowed. His gun roared out as his shot sent one redcoated soldier tumbling to the track. The other Highlanders fired as one and several other infantrymen cried out as the heavy balls tore through their bodies. Lady Margaret’s finger had frozen for an instant as she flinched at the explosion of noise and smoke. Below her she saw Captain Mackenzie’s eyes stare up at her in complete shock. For an endless second their faces were locked upon one another before she regained control of her body. “Die!” she spat, and jerked the trigger.

The recoil of the gun was sufficient to send her tumbling backwards from where she knelt and forced her to drop the gun in pain and surprise. Ignoring the throbbing from her abused shoulder she threw her eyes back towards the track to see Mackenzie lying trapped below the body of his horse. He screamed out orders to return fire even as he tried to extricate himself from beneath the corpse of his mount.

“I killed his horse,” Lady Margaret exclaimed in horror. “It was meant to be him I killed, not his poor horse.”

“Never mind his bloody horse,” the bearded Highlander shouted as he grabbed her arm and pulled her away. “We need to get out of here before they get organised enough to come up here and have their revenge.”

Numbly she allowed herself to be half-led, half-dragged through a narrow spur in the rocks behind them and then in a reckless race through the pine trees beyond. All the while every ear was turned for any sound of pursuit. Although none could be heard, it was several miles later before the exhausted party could finally rest as night began to fall in earnest, in a small cave deep in the depths of a sheltered glen far from the scene of the ambush.

“We’ll be safe enough here, Lady Murray,” Hamish said as he gathered twigs to build a small fire. “The redcoats won’t come wandering after us in the dark. We can rest only a few hours though. No doubt they’ll be hot on our trail come the morning. I want to make sure that we put a dozen miles between us and them before then.”

Lady Margaret nodded as exhaustion crushed down upon her. Her chest felt like it was tearing itself apart as a hacking cough tore through her. Gasping for air she accepted the waterskin Hamish offered her. The cold water eased the cough for the moment as she said, “I should have killed him.”

“Ach, it wasn’t his time, that’s all. Never fear though, Mistress. His time will come. In any case we did send at least six of his men back to Hell from whence they came.” Hamish offered her a kind smile. “You did well today. You have the heart of a warrior even if you are a Lowlander, but I think that it might be time for you to think about returning to your own land now.”

“Never!” she responded hotly. “This is my land.”

He nodded. “Aye that it is, lass, but you weren’t made for this life. God knows we find it hard enough at times, far less a fine lady such as yourself. No, you have played your role in this war. We are defeated. The Prince is in the heather and will soon fly off back to France. I think we must look to find means to get you aboard ship as well. Scotland is getting too risky for you. Mackenzie and his kind will not rest until they see you on the gallows. In any case, you need a warm bed and a doctor. All these nights sleeping rough have taken their toll on you.” He knelt closer to add in a whisper, “and this life is doing nothing for the bairn growing in your belly either. If you won’t seek escape for your own sake, do it for your child.”

“You knew?” she asked in surprise.

“Aye, I might be just an auld man, Mistress Murray,” he smiled, “but even auld men have eyes in their head. Now rest. We have an early start and we need to get you safe to France.”

She gave him the merest hint of a smile. “I won’t be leaving Scotland until I see that man dead!” she vowed. The look in her dark eyes was confirmation of her determination. “Whatever it takes, Hamish, I’ll make sure he draws his last breath before I seek exile.”

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