• 7th June 1818

    Thinking that Miss Browne, her current ‘crush’ was avoiding her, Anne wrote: “‘Tis well, I deserve it. Miss Browne is right ... I will think no more of her ... and make myself scarce to everyone, determined to devote myself solely to study & the acquirement of that literature which may make me eminent & more decidedly above them all hereafter ... My mind was intent on these reflections as I walked along & I resolved to stick diligently to my watchword – discretion, & next to good, to devote myself to study.”

Anne’s travels

Anne Lister became an inveterate traveller throughout her adult life. She was fortunate enough to be able to afford the cost of living and travelling on the Continent for prolonged periods of time. Her first visit to Paris with her aunt in 1819 was an experience which awakened her ambition to see for herself the places which so far she had only encountered in her extensive readings.

In the winter of 1824-1825 she returned to Paris for a protracted stay, but her more adventurous travels were made possible when, following the death of her uncle, James Lister, in 1826, she came into her inheritance of the Shibden estate.

Defying the conventions of the early 19th century which decreed that women, if they travelled at all, should only be done if accompanied by a male protector or chaperone, Anne’s expeditions became ever more adventurous, especially during the last twelve years of her life.

Mountaineering in the Pyrenees became a challenge to her and in 1830 she was the first woman to ascend Mount Perdu, an achievement which was crowned by the even more difficult feat of completing, in 1838, the first ascent of Mount Vignemale and being not only the first woman, but also the first person, to do so.

Anne’s life was cut short at the age of forty-nine by what she termed her ‘wild but delightful wanderings’. In 1839 she, along with her partner, Ann Walker, embarked on her last thrilling journey to the Caucasus, a trip which was to cost Anne her life. Travelling through Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia, she reached Koutais near Tiflis (now Tblisi) in Georgia where she contracted a virulent fever. There, at the foot of the Caucasian mountains, she died. Her embalmed body was brought back to Shibden and she was buried in the Halifax parish church where she and her ancestors had worshipped for centuries.