Esoteric London

No. 318: Charles Square, N1

Posted in Entertainment, Graffiti by esotericlondon on May 18, 2011

Charles Square, London, N1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599, Rendered into English from the German, and with introductory matter by Clare Williams – Clare Williams, 1937:

Every Sunday and Wednesday in London there are bearbaitings on the other side of the water, and I ferried across on Sunday the 18th of September with the Earl of Benthem (?) and my party, and saw the bear and bull-baiting. The theatre is circular, with galleries round the top for the spectators, the ground space down below, beneath the clear sky, is unoccupied.  In the middle of this place a large bear on a long rope was bound to a stake, then a number of great English mastiffs were brought in and shown first to the bear, which they afterwards baited one after another: now the excellence and fine temper of such mastiffs was evinced, for although they were much struck and mauled by the bear, they did not give in, but had to be pulled off by sheer force, and their muzzles forced open with long sticks to which a broad ironpiece was attached at the top.  The bears’ teeth were not sharp so they could not injure the dogs; they have them broken short.  When the first mastiffs tired, fresh ones were brought in to bait the bear.

[ I would like to thank Dr Victoria Buckley of www.shakespearesengland.co.uk for her assistance with this post. R.D.]

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