There is a story that does the rounds, that the site currently occupied by Buckingham Palace was once a gay brothel.

It’s based on one comment in one rather biased book about the English Civil War, being very pro-Monarchy and may have been slightly motivated to highlight the downsides of the war.

The parliamentarian, Clement Walker wrote a lengthy publication in 1648, Anarchia Anglicana under the pseudonym of Theodorus Verax, and the line in question is:

…to prejudice of out other New States-men, and their New erected Sodomes and Spintries at the Mulbury-garden at S. James’s.

Although the term Sodom did sometimes apply to brothels of all sort – gay and straight, the term Spintries was specifically used to describe a male prostitute.

The Mulbury Gardens were created by King James I and stood roughly at the north-west corner of today’s palace. The first building to be erected on the site was at the southern end of the modern Palace, as Goring House, which saw the Great Garden developed, but the Mulbury garden remained in Royal hands.

Then came the civil war.

George Goring, 1st Earl of Norwich sided with the King, and unsurprisingly when the King lost his head, Goring lost his home, which was occupied during the civil war by Parliamentary forces. The decision to occupy the house was practical rather than vindictive, as a huge earthwork fortifications ran around London, and past the back garden of Goring House.

It’s often said that where army’s march, then along with the food wagons and munitions also ride the prostitutes, so it’s quite possible that this patch of London, run down and a safe distance from the fuss of the City and Westminster could have turned into a brothel.

The area would have been cleared very soon afterwards though, when Arlington House was built on the site.

So, assuming the original claim is correct, then we can reasonably say that for a few years, there was a gay brothel in a plot of land that is today Buckingham Palace.


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