Meet John Rykener, a medieval streetwalker who dressed as a woman and slept with nuns and priests. In a 14th-century document that was only discovered in 1995, Rykener admits to being with dozens of women and men — and he sometimes dressed as “Eleanor."
Cross-dressing harlot John Rykener was caught in a stall on Soper's Lane with a man named John in the middle of a “detestable unmentionable and ignominious vice.” He also robbed the clergyman of some of his gowns, did it with a monk for a gold ring, and "serviced" three chaplains behind a church.
Rykener’s case is a peek into this industry in the 14th century, revealing how “history’s oldest profession” was practiced in medieval England.
Streetwalkers Were Everywhere In Medieval London, And A Working Gal Named Eleanor Was Just Trying To Make Her Way
Eleanor Was Actually John Rykener, A Cross-Dresser
Eleanor Would Be Used As A Bait And Switch On The Johns To Extort Them For Money
Rykener Did It With A Clergyman And Then Took His Gowns
Rykener’s Clients Included Many Priests
Priests Were Supposed To Be Celibate, But Many Weren’t