Talk:Buggery Act 1533

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Call for Early Citations[edit]

We have one person who was charged with buggery & treason & hanged, and one person who was charged solely with buggery, but the sentence was commuted. Is it known who or when the first person was hanged solely for violation of this Act? Who was the last, prior to 1861? -FZ 18:54, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Archaic Spelling[edit]

"sufficient and condigne punyshment"

Was a quote - so spelling error intentional?

16th century spelling was much more variable than today. It wouldn't've been a misspelling at the time Nik42 06:00, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Oscar Wilde[edit]

Wasn't Buggery the charge against Oscar Wilde, for which he was sentenced to the then maximum penalty of 2 years hard labour?--PeadarMaguidhir 18:00, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

According to the Wikipedia article on Oscar Wilde: "He was arrested for "gross indecency" under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 In British legislation of the time, this term implied 'homosexual acts not amounting to buggery', according to the scholar H. Montgomery Hyde.[1]
  1. ^ H. Montgomery Hyde, The Love That Dared not Speak its Name; p.5
That sounds right from memory. It would be hard to charge him with buggery unless there was some credible evidence he had engaged in anal intercourse. Even if he had been charged with buggery, it would have been under the Offences against the Person Act 1861 which had replaced the Bugger Act 1533 by Wilde's lifetime. --Legis (talk - contribs) 11:40, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

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.--PeadarMaguidhir 18:10, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Knights Templar[edit]

Wasn't the "medieval Bulgarian sect of the Bogomils," as well as the practice to which they gave their name, associated with the Knights Templar? In any event several of them confessed to this "crime," at least under torture!--PeadarMaguidhir 18:17, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Unusual anatomy[edit]

"the first to be charged for violation of the Act alone " Edison 20:08, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I completely missed that and strongly suspect it was accedental. 01:21, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


The Buggery Act was passed in 1533. The breach with Rome, according to the entries "Church of England" and "Henry VIII", was in 1534. So how exactly did the 1533 act *follow* the 1534 breach?

Well spotted, that reader. Paragraph chopped around a bit. Shimgray | talk | 20:59, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

No!! If you look at the Journal of the House of Lords [1] you'll see this article is grossly mistaken. It is the Buggery Act of 1534. It was introduced in the House of Lords in January 1534, and expedited (passed) on 7 February 1534. It would have been published sometime after 30 March 1534. I suspect your confusion is that the Tudors took the first day of the year to be in March, whereas we use 1 January, making for confusingly dated documents. Future confusion could be avoided if you use the Handbook of British Chronology by FM Powicke. Historical works regularly refer to this as the Buggery Statute of 1534, and this act did indeed "follow" (more accurately, coincide, since it was the same session of parliament) the Break with Rome. Since this requires major editing, I didn't want to just jump in. Feel free to look up my references or seek out more, but I assure you: 1534. 00:12, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Meredith

If this is so, can we fix this? -- SECisek 16:02, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not convinced it should be 1534. Until 1751 the legal year began on the 25 March instead of 1 January. So up until the 24th March, the year would have remained 1533. It depends on whether you take the date of the Act being expedited as its 'adoption' or the date of it being published. The catalogue of the Parliamentary Archives here gives the date as 1533 as does an article in the Times for Tuesday, Jan 14, 1958; pg. 9; Issue 54048; col F discussing "Homosexual laws in history" and virtually every on-line source I could find. I think a citation from one or two of the historical works is needed before the article is redirected or renamed. Mighty Antar (talk) 03:16, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Nonsense Removal[edit]

I removed: "– and in case that was probably a politically motivated –" from the sentence about Udall, since it's obviously a grammatical mistake... however I cannot tell whether the mistake was in inserting the article "a", for a correction of: "– and in case that was probably politically motivated –"; or in inserting a spurious space, for: "– and in case that was probably apolitically motivated –". The article on Nicholas Udall mentions nothing about the motivations of his prosecution. --Storkk (talk) 11:48, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Last Executions[edit]

There is a book reviewed on line, Nameless Offences By H.G. Cocks, which says John Smith and James Pratt were the last two people hung in Great Britain for buggery. This was in November 1835, not in 1836. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:38, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Scotland and Ireland[edit]

As the United Kingdom included Scotland from 1707 would anything have changed there? Presumably it would extend to Ireland also after 1801?--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 14:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Secular expression of political power[edit]

Currently the article says:

This meant that a convicted sodomite’s possessions could be confiscated by the government, rather than going to their next of kin, and that even priests and monks could be executed for the offence—even though they could not be executed for murder.[1] Henry later used the law to execute monks and nuns (thanks to information his spies had gathered) and take their monastery lands—the same tactics had been used 200 years before by Philip IV of France against the Knights Templar. It is likely that Henry had this in mind when he drafted the Act.[1][dubious ]

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Drummer's revenge was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

The problem is with the speculation "It is likely that Henry had this in mind when he drafted the Act." The source used for that is not a reliable source. It is more likely that as the state's statute and common law was taking over from the Canon law with the Reformation that this was one of many acts needed to cover "crimes" previously under canon law. Also I am not sure if by this date it is true that "priests and monks could not be executed for murder" by the time the Reformation took place because of the Submission of the Clergy Act 1533#Section 3.

For example this source

  • Johnson, Paul; Vanderbeck, Robert (2014), Law, Religion and Homosexuality, Routledge, p. 33, ISBN 9781135055189


However, by incorporating buggery into statute law the BA 1533 ended the near exclusive jurisdiction of the the ecclesiastical courts that had previously possessed the capacity to try and sentence a person convicted of buggery to death (a power commonly found in other European nation) and relinquish them to the state for execution. There is genral agreement that the enactment of BA 1533 was not motivated solely by theological ambition but rather, represented a secular expression of political power by by Henry VIII. As Hyde argues, "[i]ts primary objective was part of Henry's policy in general towards the Church [which] included the progressive reduction of the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts". ... Appearing at the critical point if teg English Reformation – it was enacted the same year as the Submission of the Clergy Act 1533 and one year before the Act of Supremacy 1534 – the BA 1533 can be seen to reflect a strongly anti-papist sentiment.

That seems to me a much better analysis of the facts than the wording from the article I quoted above. -- PBS (talk) 19:46, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Non neutral disparaging language[edit]

Several places in the article the disparaging words sodomy and sodomite are used instead of buggery. The article is about buggery law not sodomy. (talk) 07:12, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

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