The Sins of the Cities of the Plain 1881
Available for download. Unfortunately, there is no known photograph of Jack Saul himself.
Glenn Chandler is best known for his Scottish creation, DCI Jim Taggart, and the STV series Taggart which ran for twenty-seven years spawning the catch-phrase "there's been a murder". He has also written true crime dramas for Yorkshire Television, notably those about Haigh the Acid Bath Murderer, George Joseph Smith the Brides in the Bath killer, and Dr William Palmer the Victorian poisoner. His first non-fiction book was Burning Poison, a true Georgian murder mystery set in the world of the Liverpool slave trade. His last two books were Savage Tide and Dead sight, set in Brighton and featuring Detective Inspector Steve Madden. Recently he has returned to his theatrical roots, producing on the Edinburgh Fringe, at the Tabard Theatre and Above The Stag Theatre, London. It was his writing of Cleveland Street The Musical for Above The Stag in 2010 which introduced him to the mysterious character of Jack Saul, one of the most tantalising and enigmatic individuals in gay history.
Glenn Chandler - biography
Martin Oranmore Kirwan
It was Jack Saul's first scandal. He broke every taboo in the book - sexual, social and religious - when in 1875 he had a sexual relationship with Martin Oranmore Kirwan, a young Lieutenant in the Dublin Militia. Jack was a Catholic slum boy. Kirwan was the Protestant son of a wealthy Galway landowner and Justice of the Peace, and a cousin of Lord Oranmore. The Victorians abhorred the idea of such social classes mixing, let alone having sex together. When, in 1884, Kirwan was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit sodomy, Jack was detained in London and taken back to Dublin to give evidence against him. Fortunately Jack's evidence was never used and Kirwan was acquitted, but his reputation was stained thereafter. All a far cry from the Ireland of today, the first country to legalise gay marriage by a popular referendum!
Was Jack Saul the first gay activist?
Years before Oscar Wilde stood up in court and talked of the "love that dare not speak its name", Jack Saul voluntarily went into the witness box at the Old Bailey and openly admitted to being homosexual and committing an offence with the Earl of Euston, in order to save a young newspaper editor, Ernest Parke, from a libel charge. The Earl of Euston, it was stated in the North London Press, had visited the notorious male brothel at 19 Cleveland Street for "sodomitical purposes", which he denied. Jack knew better - he had taken the aristocrat there himself! Jack risked being sent to prison for two years, but he escaped the full force of the law and was called by the judge a "loathsome creature" and a perjurer. The Earl of Euston won his case and left the court without a stain on his character. Ernest Parke, the editor, was sent to prison. For his courage and openness at a time when all homosexual acts were illegal, Jack Saul has every right now to be considered the first gay activist.
Ernest Parke, the young editor of the North London Press
Jacket cover design by Jon Bradfield
Please note : this is a model, and not the real Jack Saul!
The trials of 1884, in which eight men including Captain Kirwan were accused of homosexual behaviour, and for which Jack was taken back to Dublin to give evidence, had every appearance of a circus. The 'Dublin Scandals' involved senior establishment figures, among them Gustavus Cornwall the Secretary of the GPO and James Ellis French the head of the CID at Dublin Castle, and an array of rent boys and young blackmailers. Evidence was given that men dressed up as women at private parties and called themselves by female names. Malcolm Johnstone, the son of a wealthy baker and bread manufacturer, was known as Lady Constance Clyde. Questioned as to who first gave him that name, he said it was Thomas Dancer Hutchinson. Who is Thomas Dancer Hutchinson, he was asked?
"A clergyman from Donnybrook." came the reply.
It transpired that Mr Hutchinson had danced with Father Paul Keogh, both dressed as women, at one of Johnstone's parties. Johnstone was asked if he received any religious education from either of them.
"No." he replied.
Gustavus Cornwall, Secretary of the GPO in Dublin