William Longchamp

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William Longchamp
William Longchamp (died 1197), sometimes known as William de Longchamp or William de Longchamps, was Bishop of Ely, Lord Chancellor, and effectively ruler of England while King Richard I was away on the crusades.

Of Longchamp's homosexuality, Giraldus Cambrensis claims that “the more outrageous the sexual act, the more he liked it; that he made homosexuality so common that heterosexuals were ridiculed at court - “If you don't do what courtiers do, what are you doing in court?”; that a woman brought her daughter to him dressed as and trained to imitate a young man, but when the bishop undressed her and found she was a girl he would not touch her (“although she was very beautiful and ripe for the pleasures of the marriage bed,”); and that his homosexuality was so great that even descendants of his family were suspected of homosexuality".[1]

Boswell warns that Giraldus' claims are so exaggerated, they may be based on little more than the standard English animus against the French overlords - but also notes that unlike other English diatribes against the invaders, his complaints against Longchamps are not about general sexual depravity, but concerned only with homosexuality. It is also important to note that male sexual relationships appear to have been commonplace at the court of the bisexual King Richard I.

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References

  1. http://queerhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/bishop-william-longchamps-of-ely-regent.html