*1561 – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) was born in London. He is best known for his philosophical works concerning the acquisition of knowledge; Novum Organum and The Advancement of Learning. Bacon had a preference for young Welsh serving-men. The roll of attendants for Bacon’s household in 1618 lists a total of 75 attendants, of whom some 25 were gentlemen waiters. There was Francis Edney, who, upon Bacon’s death in 1626, received “£200 and my rich gown”; young Thomas Meautys, who was to become Bacon’s secretary-in-chief; a Mr Bushell, “gent. usher,” who came to the household in 1608 as a lad of fifteen, and who remained until Bacon’s death; Edward Sherburn, groom of the chamber; and, above all, young Tobie Matthew, who was left only a ring to the value of £30, but who had become Sir Tobie through Bacon’s efforts, and who was well able to care for himself..
Bacon’s mother wrote him a letter, which still survives, complaining about the long list of “servants and envoys” who find their way to his bed. She refers to a gay Spanish envoy as “that bloody Perez and bed companion of my son.” We don’t know what she wrote to her other son, Roger, who was also gay.
*1788 – George Gordon, Lord Byron, was born in 1788. His memoir My Life and Adventures was burned being considered too scandalous for publication. But, bits of his private life have been pieced together. A champion of freedom and an enemy of hypocrisy he had a ravenous sexual appetite.
Byron’s attraction to adolescent boys had first become evident at Harrow, where he referred to his entourage of adoring younger pupils as his Theban band. At Cambridge, Byron fell in with a sophisticated group of like-minded friends fascinated by the theory and practice of sodomy. Their hero was William Beckford, author of the libidinous eastern dream novel The Caliph Vathek, who had been forced to flee the country rather than face possible criminal charges related to a homosexual scandal. They called themselves by the codename Methodists. In autumn 1805, when he was 17, Byron met and fell in love with John Edleston, a Trinity College chorister, and wrote some of his most beautiful lyrics of lament to his “musical protégé”, using the deceptive female name of Thyrza, after Edleston died young.