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Buggery and Parliament, 1533-2017

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JournalParliamentary History
DateAccepted/In press - 23 May 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 17 Oct 2019
Issue number3
Volume38
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)325-341
Early online date17/10/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Over nearly five centuries the UK Parliament, and its earlier incarnations, frequently legislated to ensure the regulation and punishment of buggery, a form of sexual conduct once generally accepted to constitute one of the most serious criminal offences known to law. In the early twenty-first century, Parliament abolished the offence of buggery and, subsequently, granted pardons to certain individuals previously convicted of it. Whilst some aspects of the history of Parliament’s approach to buggery are well known – particularly in respect of homosexual law reform – much of this history remains obscure. This article provides an in-depth consideration of the making of statute law in Parliament relating to buggery that reveals the dramatically changing attitudes of legislators towards this aspect of sexual conduct and highlights the significance and importance of the pardons granted to those convicted of the offence.

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© The Parliamentary History Yearbook Trust 2019. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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