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John Rykener was a sex worker who was arrested in December for performing a sex act in women's clothes with John Britby in the Cheapside area of London. The Lord Mayor questioned him on the offences of prostitution and sodomy ; a record of the interrogation was found in the s in the City of London archives.
Rykener introduced himself as Eleanor. He told the mayor that he had sex with both men and women, including priests and nuns, and that he had paid sexual encounters in Oxford and near the Tower of London. There is no evidence that he was prosecuted for either crime; prostitutes were not usually arrested in London during this period, and sodomy was pursued in ecclesiastical courts.
Rykener has appeared in studies of English social, sexual and gender history and as a character in at least one modern work of popular historical fiction. His story has been adapted for the stage. The Headless Horseman is a mythical figure who has appeared in folklore around the world since at least the Middle Ages. Depending on the legend, the Horseman is either carrying his head, or missing it altogether, and is searching for it. Examples include the dullahan from Ireland, who is a demonic fairy usually depicted riding a horse and carrying his head under his arm; the titular knight from the English tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ; and " The Legend of Sleepy Hollow ," a short story written in by American Washington Irving which has been adapted into several other works of literature and film including the Tim Burton movie Sleepy Hollow.
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