18th and 19th Century: A Shoemaker and his Wooden Legged Opponent

Originally posted on 18th and 19th Century.

19th century wooden leg

19th century wooden leg

Fighting was often a way of life in Georgian England. One interesting but rather comical story involves a dispute between a Lewes Fair shoemaker and a “sturdy beggar” in 1794.

Apparently, the fight began when the shoemaker offended the beggar by “refusing to bestow a charitable boon upon him.” The affronted beggar, who was claiming to be a maimed sailor, then attacked the shoemaker. While the beggar’s companion watched and the men fought, a crowd began to gather. The fight was well sustained on both sides for several rounds, but the wooden-legged beggar soon discovered the shoemaker’s strength to be superior to his own.

At that point, the beggar decided that if he was going to win he needed to alter his fighting tactics. Instead of continuing his attack on the shoemaker’s face and chest, the beggar began “furiously assaulting the [shoemaker’s]…with his teeth.” The beggar’s new method was so successful, the shoemaker began to bellow with pain and then began shouting for assistance from the surrounding crowd.

People from the crowd then rushed to the shoemaker’s aid, but they discovered the beggar’s jaws were so firmly attached to one of the shoemaker’s legs, that it could not be pried loose without great difficulty. In fact, to get the beggar off the shoemaker, it required…

Source: 18th and 19th Century: A Shoemaker and his Wooden Legged Opponent

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