Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Men Sleeping Together.

Just catching up on yesterday's newspapers. Interesting story about Richard 1 (Lionheart) sleeping with Phillip 11, the King of France. Today, these words imply that they were engaged in homosexual activity, but there is no reason why this should be. When I was a boy living at home on the family farm, there was nothing unusual about men sleeping together - certainly not in our house anyway. It certainly didn't follow that they were gay. I'm sure that in Richard's time, he was only doing what many of his subjects were doing.

Our farmhouse had four bedrooms, plus one room downstairs for an Italian lady named Carmella, who helped my mother look after the children. One of the bedrooms was accessed by a separate flight of stairs. There were six children, and farm workers also slept in the house. And it was common practice then, to employ live-in young men from the cities who came to work under some Government sponsored scheme. It was Rodney from Manchester who taught me to play cricket. He was a Brian Statham fan, while I was in the Freddie Trueman camp. Anyway, the logistics meant that I slept with one, sometimes two men in the separately accessed bedroom. To the best of my knowledge there was never any homosexual activity in our house - and no-one thought the sleeping arrangements were anything but normal. Today, we all expect our own individual bedrooms, but then, it was not unusual for the family home to accommodate three generations, bigger families and employees. Either you slept together or slept on the floor.

So I think Professor John Gillingham is correct. It would be entirely wrong to assume that the Kings of Britain and France were homosexual just because they slept together. Not that there would be anything wrong if they did of course.


Anonymous said...

My Dad slept six in a bed - three top ,three bottom, lucky there were three boys and three girls.
My partner's grandparents utilised large drawers in the Tallboy for new babies, I wonder what social services would say about that!

Glyn Davies said...

And I thought my experiences were unusual - but probably not then. Just would not be accepted today

griff said...

I'd steer clear of this topic if I were you, Glyn. You've already got the feminists on your back, you'll soon have Gay Liberation!