Mademoiselle de Beaumont, or the Chevalier D’Eon, was an 18th century French master fencer of ambiguous gender, for although he/she fought dressed as a woman, he/she was suspected by many of actually being a man. On April 26th 1796 he fought another French fencer, Monsieur de Launay, in Southampton, possibly at the Long Rooms at West Quay. During the bout he received a wound to a muscle in his armpit which ended his fencing career. He spent four months in Southampton convalescing before going to London where he continued to live as a woman. It was only on his death in 1810 that he was confirmed as being a man.

The Chevalier D’Eon

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A contemporary cartoon of the Chevalier D’Eon.

The Chevalier D’Eon

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A contemporary print of a fencing match involving the Chevalier D’Eon.

Further reading:
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p23-4. (HS/h)


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