He who knows most, doubts most.  — Jerónimo de Carranza

Dedicated to researching historical Spanish fencing and sharing the knowledge with the public.

Fencing History and Tales

Introduction | Literary Allusions | Famous Duels and Duellists | Women and Combat

Famous Duels and Duellists

The Butcher and the Waterman

London May 27, 1667 from the diary of M. de Sorbière

"Then abroad, [he writes] and stopped at the Bear-Garden stairs, there to see a prize fought. But the house was so full there was no getting in there, so forced to go through an alehouse into the pit where bears are baited, and upon a stool did see them fight, which they did very furiously, a butcher and a waterman. The former had the better all along till by the by the latter dropped his sword out of his hand, and the butcher, whether seeing his sword dropped I know not, but did give him a cut over the wrist, so as he was disabled to fight any longer. But Lord! to see in a minute the whole stage was full of watermen to revenge the foul play, and the butchers to defend their fellow, though most blaming him, and there they fell to it, knocking down and cutting many on either side. It was pleasant to see, but that I stood in the pit, and feared in the tumult that I might get some hurt. At last the rabble broke up, and I went away to White Hall."

This excerpt is taken from Aylward's The English Master of Arms published in 1956 by Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited