This article analyses constructions of English manhood during the First World War. As such, it focuses upon cultural representations of masculinity rather the lived experiences of particular men. Such portrayals can have great social power when they gain a widespread cultural currency - not least in the impact they can have upon the lives of individuals. The central purpose is to consider the depiction of the conscientious objector to military service. Once conscription was introduced, objectors became a legally recognized category of men and special statutory provision was made for those who were deemed to be 'genuine'. Despite the legitimacy that this might have granted, all objectors (whether recognized as genuine or not), along with those who defended their stance, came to be despised and rejected as deviant. Their story, as presented here, is a study of the construction and contestation of deviance (in terms of both gender and Englishness), yet in this version of the deviant the role of law is a relatively minor one.