Mary Blathwaiyt was a lesbian in an era where two women sleeping in the same bed did not raise an eyebrow. Mary Blathwaiyt was born in 1879 to Colonel Linley Bathwayt, and Emily Blathwaiyt. The Colonel had served for many years as an officer in the British Indian Army and served in India for many years. He retired when his daughter Mary was four years of age. After retirement the family moved to Eagle House a large property near Batheasston.
Supporters of the Women’s Suffrage
Mary’s parents were advocates of women’s suffrage. Mary and her mother devoted themselves to teaching music to village children and other charitable events.
Mary Blathwaiyt first met Annie Kenney at a WSPU meeting in Bath and apparently fell in love. Mary gave Annie a rose. Annie rewarded Mary’s admiration by introducing her to Christabel Pankhurst, the daughter of WSPU leader, Emmeline Pankhurst. Mary became an ardent member and openly distributed pamphlets which was a dangerous occupation.
The two lovers spent 1908 and 1909 speaking and selling pamphlets for the WSPU. Annie was very protective of Mary and told her not to obey Emmeline Pankhurst in a campaign that would lead her to a prison sentence. Mary also did not want to upset her father. Both parents had set Mary free to work for WSPU with a generous allowance.
Mary Resigns from the WSPU
The WSPU in 1913 escalated their campaign with firebombs in letter boxes. In July 1913 certain suffragettes attempted to burn down the hours of two members of parliament. They were successful in burning cricket pavilions, racecourse stands and golf clubhouses, the realm of men. Mary’s parents pressurized their daughter and she resigned from the WSPU.
Mary lived at Eagle House until her death in 1962.