EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE. On the 28th last, at Llanfynydd, [Carmarthenshire] Sarah, the wife of Evan Jones, shoemaker, gave birth to a child which is a perfect hermaphrodite, and the registrar is consequently puzzled how to register it. The medical faculty have as yet failed to solve the problem submitted to them in this case. Had not this fact been communicated to us from a source which we have every right to rely upon, we should have been inclined to doubt its authenticity, but there is no reason to doubt the correctness of our information.
Source: Pembrokeshire Herald, 14 November 1851
LLANELLY – MORE AFFRAYS. The public streets of the town were on the 8th instant the scene of a renewed trial of bodily strength between the renowned female combatants of Marble Hall, who have figured of late so prominently before the public gaze. On this occasion, the heroine of a hundred fights again triumphed, and vanquished the male defender of her adversary in addition, but we hope further freaks of this kind will be stopped, as the magistrates on Saturday last bound over all the parties to keep the peace.
Source: The Welshman, 16 December 1853
A FEMALE SAILOR. On Wednesday evening last, a young woman, dressed in sailors’ clothes, was taken to the station-house, for being drunk and disorderly. On the following day she was taken before the magistrates. Her name is Susan Brunin, of Newport. She had been at sea for three months, and passed for an able seaman. A captain of a vessel, in the Cardiff Docks, also engaged her, and actually paid her a month in advance, but on finding that he had engaged a female, he refused to keep his contract. The magistrates reprimanded the prisoner, and advised her to return to her home, and adopt a more decent mode of living. She was then discharged.
Source: Monmouthshire Merlin, 18 August 1855
In September 1856 the Chartist leader John Frost (1784–1877), who had been transported for his part in the Newport Rising of 1839, returned to Britain from nearly two decades of exile in Van Diemen’s Land. He did a six-month lecture tour during which tens of thousands gathered to hear him speak on the ‘horrors of convict life’. He spoke of the total moral destruction of male convicts, and in particular on the supposed prevalence of ‘unnatural’ sexual practices, most notably sodomy, among the
Source: Kirsty Reid, ‘The Horrors of Convict Life: British Radical Visions of the Australian Penal Colonies’, Cultural and Social History, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp. 481–495, The Social History Society, 2008
EMIGRATION … the emigrants included 120,279 males; 89,202 females; 3,394 emigrants appear to have been of a peculiarly epicene genus, for they are marked in the register as “not distinguished.”
Source: North Wales Chronicle, 2 October 1858
A JAUNT TO WALES … We went a little further, and met a sort of hermaphrodite, a man’s hat upon the head, a man’s coat upon the back, and men’s shoes upon the feet, but the petticoats were those of a woman. I suppose this is a woman though by her dress she seemeth not. “Can you tell me,” said I framing my question so as not to commit myself as to the sex of the individual before us, “Can you tell me, my good person, if we are on the right road to Lord Angelsey’s column?” “Dim Sasenuch,” was the reply. I stood looking at the person half-stupefied; and it, that is, the person, looked up and down the road, as if looking for some other person, then saying “Dim Sasenuch” moved on. And what is “Dim Sasenuch?” said I; but the person moved on without further reply …
Source: Birmingham Daily Post, 27 September 1858
A FEMALE SAILOR. On Wednesday a woman was charged at the Newport police-office, Monmouthshire, with walking about in male attire. The defendant, who wore seamen’s clothes, in her appearance, gait, and gestures, appeared to be every inch a sailor. It seemed that for no less than ten years she has scorned her proper clothing, and devoted herself to hard and incessant toil. She has voyaged to Quebec, Bombay, and other distant places, and at times has shipped in coasters, never shrinking from her share of duty, but loading and unloading the cargoes with the crew; while at the winch her courage never flagged and her strength never failed. Yet her sex was never suspected. Her last voyage was from Truro, as an ablebodied seaman, at £ 2 5s. per month. She arrived at Newport a short time ago, when her sex became by some means revealed the sergeant of the dock police preferred the charge. The defendant said she shipped as cook and steward from Truro about three months ago, in order to support her husband, who had met with a misfortune. She was discharged.
Source: Aberystwyth Observer, 27 August 1859
CARDIFF POLICE INTELLIGENCE. A FEMALE SAILOR – SINGULAR CASE – Ann Stuart, aged 18, without bonnet, shoes, or stockings, was brought up by Sergeant Giffard on the following charge. It appears at a very early hour this morning the prisoner made her appearance at the Police-station and sat down among several vagrant men, and whilst conversing with them she said she had served two years and a half on board ship as a sailor, and as there were French and American vessels lying in the docks here, if she could get a jacket and a pair of men’s trousers she would go for a sailor again. She said she had no friends, and if she could not go to sea she would drown herself, for she was tired of the life she was then leading. Sergeant Giffard then took the prisoner into custody on the latter charge. He said she had been before the magistrate of the Thames Police-court, London, and the master of the vessel she had sailed in had been compelled to pay her her wages as a sailor. The magistrates asked the prisoner where she came from, and she replied that Scotland was her native place, but she had been walking through the country, and that accounted for her appearance at Cardiff. The magistrates ordered the prisoner to be detained at the Workhouse.
John Pavin Phillips from Haverfordwest wrote to the magazine Notes and Queries: “Bearded Women – Some fifteen or sixteen years ago I remember a hairy woman being exhibited in London. She had a flowing beard and moustache, of a soft and silky texture, but in all other respects was perfectly feminine. She was a young married woman, and was the mother of children … Are there any other records of a similar lusus naturae?”
His request for information brought forth a flurry of replies.
Source: Phillips, John Pavin, ‘Minor Notes: Bearded women.’ Notes and Queries. 24 September 1859 p.247