Playing Past is delighted to be publishing on Open Access – Sporting Lives, [ISBN 978-1-905476-62-6] a collection of papers on the lives of men and women connected with the sporting world. This edited volume has its origins in a Sporting Lives symposium hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Performance Research in December 2010.
Please cite this article as:
Day, D. George Martin, Entrepreneurial Pugilists of the Eighteenth Century, In Day, D. (ed), Sporting Lives (Manchester: MMU Sport and Leisure History, 2010), 167-179.
Entrepreneurial Pugilists of the Eighteenth Century
During the eighteenth century the English economy underwent an accelerated structural transformation in which industry came into greater prominence. Industrialisation and urbanisation led to reductions in both the time to indulge in ludic activities and the space to participate in them, although in developing urban areas it was insufficient working-class spending power that limited access to sports as powerful economic influences acted to change traditional pursuits. A combination of increasing population growth and rapid urbanisation created an environment for the enterprising to exploit and the entrepreneurial response from leisure providers in many of the emerging large urban communities, especially London, was dynamic. Gough’s illuminated Amphitheatre, or artificial Marble Green House, in Long Lane, Aldergate Street, presented a variety of curious paintings of fruit and flowers in 1743, together with representations of regimental soldiers in battle dress and a plan of the battlefield at Dettingen, all under a branch of lights and twenty eight Pier glasses about nine feet high, for the entrance money of six pence per person. Professional anatomy teachers lectured to anyone who bought a ticket and there were anatomical waxwork exhibitions from the beginning of the eighteenth century at venues such as Rackstrow’s public museum in the Strand.
Sporting entrepreneurs like George Smith at the Artillery Ground promoted foot racing and cricket, although the difficulties he faced were reflected in one advert in July 1744 announcing that since a recent match had been attended by disorder he would in future be charging each spectator six pence and establishing a ring of benches holding up to 800 people to accommodate gentleman. No-one, except those appointed to keep order and the players, would be permitted within this ring. Swimming and bathing was advertised at the Peerless Pool, behind the bowling green in Old Street, which had been converted in 1743 by jeweller William Kemp into a pleasure bath where gentlemen could safely learn to swim. It was 170 feet long and 100 broad, encompassed by a wall, with a gravel bottom and sited in the middle of a grove. Waiters attended to teach gentlemen to swim if required. There was also a large fishpond and skating in the winter for a guinea per annum or two shillings a time for bathing. Thomas Higginson, who kept the Fives Court in St. Martin’s Street, near Leicester Fields, offered Fives, Racquets or Hand Fives for tuppence a game doubles, thruppence and fourpence for singles. He also offered tennis at his new court in Windmill Street facing the Hay Market while another court was available in High Holborn, near the Bull and Gate Inn, where there were also two billiard tables.
The rougher sports of the lower classes were also contained and packaged for financial gain and it is this process, particularly the provision for boxing in London and the men involved in making that happen, that occupies the following discussion. Eighteenth-century popular culture was marked by a disorderly and undisciplined nature and a high level of physical violence was evident both in daily life and in recreational activities. At the boarded house in Mary-Bone-Fields in July 1721 there was a match between a wild panther and twelve dogs for £300, a bear was baited and a bull turned loose in the gaming place with fireworks all over him and bull dogs after him, while a dog was drawn up with fireworks about him and an ass baited on the same stage. Combat sports such as wrestling, had been practised by the upper as well as the lower classes in the sixteenth century and although their personal involvement had diminished during the course of the seventeenth century the aristocracy gradually rediscovered an interest in those popular sports practised by their social inferiors. On December 27 1681 a boxing match was performed before the Duke of Albemarle, between his footman and a butcher, and in March 1705 the Spanish Ambassador staged a boxing match between his footmen and those of his gentlemen ‘for the diversion of his lady’. By 1742 boxing was ‘as regular an exhibition as we now see at any of the public places of amusement’ and it was being ‘patronised by the first subjects in the realm, and tolerated by the magistrates’, although the level of violence which accompanied many contests did have legal consequences. When Richard Teeling, a Hackney coachman, was committed for the murder of another coachman in 1725 the Jury found him guilty of manslaughter because it had been a boxing match agreed between them and he was condemned to be “Burnt in the Hand” with an “M” for murder.
These early eighteenth century boxing matches generally took place at facilities associated with inns or in the open air. In 1724, supporters of boxing often met at John Spenser’s, The Black Dog at Kentish Town, and in September 1732 a boxing match was fought on the bowling green at Harrow on the Hill between John Faulconer, carpenter, and Bob Russel, an alehouse keeper, where a large crowd was contained by a rope around the green. There were obvious problems in such open air contests however. A boxing match in an open field by Islington between Tom Romain a pipe maker and Jack Stareabout a butcher in 1738 ended in confusion when the butchers, recognising that their man was being beaten, interrupted the contest and a ‘general skirmish ensued about the stakes and by-betts’.
There were some specialist facilities even at the end of the seventeenth century such as Preston’s Amphitheatre or Royal Bear garden situated in Coppice Row near Hockley in the Hole, Clerkenwell, where the diversions included wrestling, boxing, cudgelling, fighting at back-sword, quarter-staff, and bear-baiting. The Amphitheatre was 150 or 200 feet square boarded in with benches all round, one above the other, for the spectators to sit at different prices and under which were dens for the bears and bulls to be baited. In the middle of the area was a large stage for the human fighters, men who included James Figg, Ned Sutton, James Stokes and John Broughton.
Oxfordshire man James Figg is credited with being the first person to commercialise boxing and to develop it as a ‘business’ when in 1719, with the help of his patron, the Earl of Peterborough, he set up a School of Arms in Tottenham Court Road where his amphitheatre attracted the patronage of the upper classes. Among his acquaintances he included Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, essayist Jonathan Swift, poet Alexander Pope, and William Hogarth, the artist, and both he and his facility contributed to the popularity of pugilism throughout the first half of the century. Figg was six foot tall, 185 pounds, athletic, very strong, tough and courageous. He was an accomplished wrestler and swordsman and he became acknowledged as the best boxer in England. Described as ‘more of a slaughterer, than a neat, finished pugilist’, Figg fought sparingly and remained unbeaten in a career which spanned eleven years but he could not unambiguously be identified as a boxer since his business card, engraved by Hogarth, emphasised his prizefighting skills. He was best known as a teacher, proving so successful that he was able to relocate to larger premises.
It was from among the younger members of the aristocracy and gentry that Figg drew most of his clientele and this universal support for the activity was reflected in the novels of Fielding which abound with exponents of boxing and of other combat sports. Fielding, like many of his contemporaries, recognised an association between boxing and nationalism as epitomised by the contest between Whitaker, a student of Figg’s, and di Carni, a Venetian, in 1733 which resulted in a victory for Whitaker after he employed the ‘English peg in the stomach, quite a new thing to the foreigners’. Figg seems to have been one of the first entrepreneurs to appreciate the value of publicity and advertising and he immediately capitalised on the interest surrounding this event by announcing that he had an even more capable fighter who he would match against the winner. A week later ‘very near as great and fine a Company as the Week before’ watched Peartree defeat Whitaker in only six minutes.
Edward Sutton and James Stokes
Over the course of his career Figg fought Ned Sutton on a number of occasions and Sutton was involved in establishing another amphitheatre in conjunction with prizefighter James Stokes during the 1720s. Based in Islington Road the venue advertised boxing matches at the start of 1727, and they remained a feature of this amphitheatre until 1735. Thomas Allen (“Pipes”) and John Gretton, cabinet maker, fought for two hundred pounds in May 1730, and appearing in June that year were Whiteacre, Allen, Taylor and one Thomas Day, who had previously kept his own boxing school until arrested for ‘Robbing on the Highway’. John Broughton fought ‘Pipes’ for considerable sums in both 1730 and 1731, and again in May 1732 when these men of ‘the first rank well known in London for their bravery and great skill’ boxed for fifty pounds. In 1733 Sutton himself, having previously retired, returned to fight Holmes, lured by the prospect of fighting for the whole box. Sutton and his family did not add to the unsavoury reputation of the prize fighting fraternity by their subsequent behaviour. In 1730 Sutton was taken into custody and carried to the county gaol of Surrey for wounding several women in the Mint with his sword, in particular one woman who has received a dangerous wound in her thigh. Elizabeth Ward (better known as Bess Sutton, wife of the prizefighter) was tried in 1749 for robbing Richard Brookland, a sailor, of 51 six-and-thirty shilling pieces, and a three pound twelve shilling piece, at her house in Axe-and-Bottle-Yard, Southwark, for which she was transported.
By 1731 Stokes had also decided to retire and concentrate on teaching, his pupils being ‘equal in birth and fortune’ to any in England, and on his commercial enterprise where he included a number of different attractions such as a boxing match between boys in May 1730, and contests featuring female boxers although women boxers had been appearing at Hockley in the Hole since 1722. Elizabeth Stokes was heavily involved in her husband’s enterprises and in 1728 when Stokes accepted a challenge from Knott he had to agree to fight without his wife being his second. Later that year Mary Barker challenged Elizabeth, the English championess, to a fight with weapons and special seating was provided for women. In October Anne Field also challenged Elizabeth, this time to a boxing match,  and following her defeat, which she attributed to having been plied with drink before the contest, Anne reissued her challenge. In 1730, Elizabeth was challenged by four women who had come to London specifically to fight her and even though she was intending to retire she agreed to fight them one after the other at her husband’s. In 1732 a Stokes’s advert noted that the European Championess Mrs. Stokes had fought forty five times, the last before the Duke of Larvain and several British Noblemen, and still remained unbeaten.
Boxing continued to sit alongside other entertainments. In May 1731, bull baiting, bear baiting, an ass and a bull dressed with fireworks, and a pair of cocks fighting for ten shillings preceded ‘Pipes’ against Broughton for 100 guineas. On the 6th June 1732 Stokes advertised that his firework bull would be turned loose amongst the gamesters and anyone quitting before all the combustibles were discharged would forfeit five shillings. The ground was railed ten feet deep to prevent danger and raised two feet higher for the better prospect of the gentlemen. The meaner sort of people that Mr. Stokes lets in gratis are desired not to come into the Game-Place because they affront the gentlemen. In July Stokes presented a new opera called Rule a Bear and have a Bear or The Way to Tame a Shrew and announced that he had also purchased a wolf from France, the ‘beautifullest creature’ seen in England’.
In 1730, Thomas Sibblis from Worcestershire, late scholar of James Figg, having received ‘some Invectives’ from Stokes on account of his erecting a drinking booth and hanging up a sword in the field near Stokes’s amphitheatre challenged Stokes who agreed to fight ‘this herculean Champion whose huge trunk of mortality would affrighten any Thing but myself’. A year later an advertisement for a contest between Edwards and Broughton at Figg’s Great Room noted that Figg had now retired and taken a house in Poland Street near Great Marlborough Street, in order to teach gentlemen, and it appears that Sibblis took over the facility, subsequently referred to as Mr. Sibblis’s Great Room (Late Mr. Figg’s) In Oxford-Road, where he was busy promoting Broughton against Birch in November 173 and Broughton against Charles Raventon in June 1733, when he also advertised himself in a prizefighting challenge, at the particular desire of several persons of quality, as citizen and dyer, Professor of the said science.
In 1734, while still in his early twenties, George Taylor acquired the amphitheatre from Sibblis and he enjoyed considerable success as a manager and showman. Known as George the Barber, Taylor had made his first appearances as a combatant in his teens fighting at Figg’s amphitheatre, alongside Boswell, Smallwood, and Broughton, who was the only man to beat him, partly, it was believed because Taylor lacked ‘Bottom’. His advertisements were graphic and he used the press to publish challenges from fighters. Taylor charged an expensive 2s. 6d. for entrance, and a day’s takings of £150 was not uncommon with two thirds normally going to the winner. Taylor also ran an academy where gentlemen were taught self-defence and he may also have modelled at the St. Martin’s Lane Academy, where Hogarth taught. At the start of the 1740s Taylor had successful fights against Boswell and Stephenson, and his business was flourishing, but Broughton left him in 1742 and a year later, opened a much more comfortable amphitheatre. Taylor tried to respond in 1744, declaring that his facility had been commodiously altered for the better entertainment of gentlemen at a very large expense, but he was eventually forced to close and fight for Broughton. After a few years he left to become landlord of The Fountain Inn, Deptford but he later decided to fight again, losing to Tom Faulkner in August 1758, and he died a few months later. Like other pugilistic entrepreneurs his contacts had always included gentry, nobility and artists and it was Hogarth who produced the designs for his tombstone.
The best remembered of the boxing professors and entrepreneurs was John (Jack) Broughton, a pupil of Figg’s, who appeared at Taylor’s booth in Tottenham Court Road and fought at both Stokes’s amphitheatre and at Sibblis’s establishment in the 1730s. Broughton, who was considered champion from the mid-1730s until 1750, was, like Figg, a powerful man (196-200 pounds and 5-10½ inches/6ft), muscular enough for sculptor John Michael Rysbrack to use his biceps as the models for a statue of Hercules, but he also brought method into boxing by introducing scientific moves and more technical punching. Patronised by the Duke of Cumberland, Broughton was apparently an intelligent and courteous man and it was under his influence that boxing became a specialised activity which became increasingly popular. His contribution to boxing was significant, not only for his development of the science but for his introduction of rules and for the success of his amphitheatre.
In 1743 Broughton drew up a set of rules which essentially governed boxing until 1838 and he used the money he earned from fighting, along with help from wealthy patrons, to open an amphitheatre, dedicated to the Manly Art of Boxing, and structured so as to ‘prevent the gentry’s being incommoded by the populace’. Fighters were vetted as to their ability while their payments were determined by agreement between them or decided by the gentlemen present. Broughton justified himself as manager of this enterprise, citing his invincibility and esteem within the boxing community and emphasising that he had sufficient physical presence to ensure the ‘Preservation of Decency and Decorum’. He also wished to open an Academy at the Amphitheatre for those wishing to be taught boxing and he offered to provide Mufflers to avoid black eyes, broken jaws, and bloody noses. Gentlemen could have a course of lessons at their own house and anyone who contributed towards the Amphitheatre would be admitted free of charge to public classes.
Broughton’s New Amphitheatre was situated virtually adjacent to Taylor’s premises and Taylor responded by contracting Stevenson, James, and Smallwood under articles not to fight on any stage but his as well as publishing an advertisement criticising Broughton on a number of counts and accusing him of swindling his fighters. Broughton replied that since he had contributed £400 of his own money to supplement the £80 raised by subscription it was only reasonable that he should take a third part of the money collected at the door. In the end all the ‘principal amateurs of the science’ gave their support to Broughton so that Taylor and his boxers eventually agreed to abandon their Booth and to only fight for Broughton on condition that he made good the loss they sustained by the forfeiture of their articles. The Amphitheatre prospered and by the time Taylor beat Slack in January 1750 receipts sometimes amounted to three hundred pounds.
Following his retirement in 1744, Broughton had devoted his time to running an academy and giving private lessons. Godfrey believed that Broughton would forever remain unbeaten because he would ‘scarce trust a Battle to a waning Age’, but Broughton took the stage again on 11 April 1750 and suffered his first defeat at the hands of Jack Slack, who made an estimated six hundred pounds on the fight. Although it has been suggested that the Broughton’s Amphitheatre was closed down following his defeat under pressure from Cumberland who reputedly lost £10,000 on Broughton, it was still operating in 1752 with William Willis fighting Thomas Falkener, the Cricket-Player from Kent, and Slack defeating Lee the Chairman. One 1752 diary entry emphasises the centrality of boxing during this period.
Tuesday morning, got up at eight, drank tea, hurried away to Broughton’s Amphitheatre, paid a Crown for my seat, Tom boy a very good second, tolerable battle enough. One O’Clock went to Dolley’s, dined and had half a pint of Gill as usual, gave an account of the battle to the gentlemen in the back room. Mr. Gripes eat three pound of beef steaks, had a good deal of discourse in the back room about Broughton, Slack, the Barber, and others, they allow me to be a very good judge. Eight O’Clock got home, had fresh tea made by Mrs. Butters, went to coffee house, talked a good deal about the battle at Broughton’s, had half a Pint of Red Port, and went home to bed.
However, there was considerable opposition to these specialist facilities with one author arguing that ‘If only the “populace of distinction” would withdraw their support from those Amphitheatres that are the “vile seminaries of insolence and disturbance”, the magistracy would soon suppress them’, and by 1754 they had closed, public boxing matches were driven out of London and boxing did not revive until the 1780s. Later commentators argued that it was the behaviour of the boxing professors themselves that led to this decline as they had become a distinct and noxious class of beings in society. There were some regrets though.
I cannot but lament the cruelty of that law, which has shut up our Amphitheatres: and I look upon the professors of the noble art of Boxing as a kind of disbanded army, for whom we have made no provision. The mechanics, who at the call of glory left their mean occupations, are now obliged to have recourse to them again, and coachmen and barbers resume the whip and the razor instead of giving black eyes and cross-buttocks. Broughton employs the muscle of his brawny arm in squeezing a lemon or drawing a cork. His Amphitheatre itself is converted into a Methodist Meeting-house! The dextrous use of the fist is a truly British exercise and the sturdy English have been as much renowned for their Boxing as their Beef; both which are by no means suited to the watry stomachs and weak sinews of their enemies the French. To this nutriment and this art is owing that long-established maxim, that one Englishman can beat three Frenchmen.
In his retirement Broughton ran an antiques business and a furniture warehouse as well as continuing to teach boxing, charging 5s. a lesson or 1 guinea if required to stand up to his students in 1787, the same year that it was reported that Mendoza had adopted a new blow from Broughton. When he died on 8 January 1789 newspapers observed that his ‘skill in boxing will ever be recorded in the annals of that science’, while his entrepreneurial talents were reflected in his leaving an estate believed to have been worth upwards of £7000.
The first half of the eighteenth century clearly witnessed significant developments in boxing in London driven by entrepreneurs who used their knowledge of the activity, their business acumen and their aristocratic contacts to develop facilities in which they controlled the fighters and the direction of the sport itself. They clearly formed a tightly knit community. When Thomas Allen (Pipes) was buried on May 12 1738 the coffin of this man ‘famous for his art and bravery in boxing who had latterly been Gallery Door-Keeper to Drury-Lane Play-House’ was carried by Broughton, Peartree, Taylor, Stevenson, Boswell and Thomas Dimmack, six of the most celebrated boxers of the age, an example of the ‘innate generous love of valour for which Englishmen are so justly distinguished’.
The popularity of boxing does not appear to have survived the passing of these men and the closing of their amphitheatres and it was another thirty years before the activity regained the same degree of support among the gentry and nobility. This has led some historians to conclude that the closing of Broughton’s amphitheatre retarded the development of boxing since it became an illegal activity which was forced to compete with legal activities like cricket and racing, which could establish permanent venues, advertise, charge for admission and pay reliable performers a steady income. For others, however, the closure of the amphitheatres prevented boxing from becoming merely an exhibition controlled by a few showmen since it was clearly in the interests of entrepreneurs and the fighters themselves to control the activity and extend their careers by exhibiting in easily controlled facilities rather than engaging in full-blooded contests in the open air. The argument here is that it is unlikely that boxing would have developed as a cult and national pre-occupation in the way that it did during the Regency period had it remained confined to the towns and cities.
Whichever position one adopts on this issue there is no doubting the impact that these individuals, and their collective community, had on the development of boxing in this period and, ultimately, on the development of modern sport. Eighteenth century industrialisation brought with it the concept of achievement through improved performance and the expansion of interest in pugilism was combined with a growing appreciation of the importance of appropriate training and instruction, the roots of which had appeared when Figg took responsibility for one fighter’s ‘Instruction and proper Diet’ in 1725. By the time the Amphitheatres were being closed it was being argued that an expanding competitive programme for bruisers would lead gentlemen to ‘keep champions in training, put them in sweats, diet them, and breed up the human species with the same care as they do cocks and horses.’ Tellingly, the author believed that, as a result, this ‘branch of gaming would doubtless be reduced to a science’, something which is a familiar concept within our contemporary sporting landscape.
 Joseph Maguire, ‘Images of Manliness and Competing Ways of Living in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain’, British Journal of Sports History, 3(3) (1986): 267.
 Wray Vamplew, Industrialisation and Popular Sport in England in the Nineteenth Century, (Leicester: University of Leicester, The Centre For Research into Sport and Society, 1998), 24-27.
 Neil Tranter, Sport, Economy and Society in Britain 1750-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Economic History Society, 1998), 7.
 Daily Advertiser, October 24, 1743.
 Alan W. Bates, ‘‘‘Indecent and Demoralising Representations’’: Public Anatomy Museums in Mid-Victorian England’, Medical History, 52 (2008): 3.
 Daily Advertiser, October 24, 1743.
 Daily Advertiser, July 4, 1744.
 London Daily Post and General Advertiser, December 6, 1743; Daily Advertiser, December 28, 1743.
 Joseph Maguire, ‘Images of Manliness and Competing Ways of Living in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain’, British Journal of Sports History, 3(3) (1986): 266.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, July 15, 1721.
 Christopher Johnson, ‘“British Championism”: Early Pugilism and the Works of Fielding’, The Review of English Studies, 47(187) (1996): 331-352.
 True Protestant Mercury or Occurrences Foreign and Domestick, December 28, 1681.
 Daily Courant, March 28, 1705.
 An Amateur of Eminence The Complete Art of Boxing According to the Modern Method (London, 1788), 47.
 Original London Post or Heathcote’s Intelligencer, August 14, 1724.
 Daily Journal, September 20, 1732.
 London Daily Post and General Advertiser, August 1, 1738.
 A discourse upon the character and consequences of priestcraft, betwixt a Merry Andrew, a religious church-man, and Mr.Hickeringill. (London, 1705), 28.
 The works of Monsieur Voiture, … compleat: containing his Familiar letters to gentlemen and ladies. Translated by Mr. Tho. Brown. (London, 1705).
 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, January 11, 1788.
 Fleischer, N. The Heavyweight Championship: An Informal History of Heavyweight Boxing from 1719 to the Present Day, (London: Putnam & Co., 1949), 4.
 Christopher Johnson, ‘“British Championism”: Early Pugilism and the Works of Fielding’, The Review of English Studies, 47(187) (1996): 331-252.
 Randy Roberts, ‘Eighteenth Century Boxing’ Journal of Sport History 4(3) (1977): 248-249; By all forms of self-defense I mean the ability to use foil, backsword cudgel, and quarter-staff, as well as the fist. That Figg was a master of all these forms of self-defense can be seen by his calling card which described him as “Master of ye noble science of defense…teaches gentlemen ye use of ye small sword, backsword, and quarterstaff at home and abroad”; Boulton, Amusements of Old London, pp. 4, 73-74; Pierce Egan, Boxiana; or Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism; From the Days of the Renowned Broughton and Slack, To the Heroes of the Present Milling Era (Leicester, England: Vance Harvey Publishing, 1971 [first published in 1812]), 2-25, gives a more nationalistic account of the bout.
 Capt. John Godfrey, A Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence. (London Printed for the Author, by T. Gardner in the Strand, 1747); Randy Roberts, ‘Eighteenth Century Boxing’, Journal of Sport History, 4(3) (1977): 249-250; Egan, Boxiana, pp. 40-42.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, July 29, 1727; August 19, 1727.
 Daily Gazetteer (London Edition), July 11, 1735.
 Daily Post, May 27, 1730.
 Original Weekly Journal, March 12, 1720.
 Read’s Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, October 10, 1730; April 3, 1731.
 Read’s Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, April 29, 1732.
 Daily Post, June 5, 1733.
 Grub Street Journal, August 27, 1730
 Penny London Post or The Morning Advertiser, April 7, 1749.
 Daily Advertiser, August 2, 1731.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, May 9, 1730.
 London Journal (1720) June 23, 1722; August 31, 1723.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, May 18, 1728.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, August 24, 1728.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, October 5, 1728.
 Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, November 23, 1728.
 Daily Journal, June 22, 1730.
 Daily Post, June 6, 1732.
 Daily Post, May 3, 1731.
 Daily Post, June 6, 1732.
 Daily Post, July 3, 1732.
 Daily Journal, August 25, 1730.
 Daily Advertiser, June 15, 1731.
 Daily Journal, November 28, 1732.
 Daily Post, June 5, 1733; June 9, 1733.
 Capt. John Godfrey, A Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence. (London, Printed for the Author, by T. Gardner in the Strand 1747).
 An Amateur of Eminence The Complete Art of Boxing According to the Modern Method. (London, 1788), 48
 General Evening Post, March 4, 1740.
 Daily Advertiser, March 12, 1744; April 23, 1744.
 Dennis Brailsford, ‘Taylor, George (c.1710–1758)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
 The Genuine Works of William Hogarth; with Biographical Anecdotes. Gentleman’s Magazine, (1818:Aug.) 139-140.
 Daily Journal, November 23, 1734.
 Randy Roberts, Eighteenth Century Boxing, Journal of Sport History 4(3) (1977): 250-251; John Durant, The Heavyweight Champions (New York: Hastings House, 1971), 4.
 Edward D. Krzemienski, ‘Fulcrum of Change: Boxing and Society at a Crossroads’, The International Journal of the History of Sport, 21(2), (2004): 162–164.
 John Broughton, (January 1 1742-3). Proposals for Erecting an Amphitheatre For the Manly Exercise of Boxing, 3-4.
 An Amateur of Eminence The Complete Art of Boxing According to the Modern Method. (London, 1788), 58-63.
 Thomas Fewtrell, Boxing Reviewed; Or, The Science of manual Defence, Displayed on Rational principles. (London, 1790), 85.
 Capt. John Godfrey, A Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence. (London, Printed for the Author, by T. Gardner in the Strand, 1747).
 Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer, January 30, 1750; London Evening Post, March 13, 1750; London Evening Post, April 10, 1750.
 Daily Advertiser, February 4, 1752; London Daily Advertiser, February 11, 1752.
 The General review, or, Impartial register; being a faithful representation of the civil, military, commercial and literary transactions of the present time. (London, 1752), 238.
 A hint on duelling, in a letter to a friend. The second edition. To which is added, The bruiser, or an inquiry into the pretensions of modern manhood. In a letter to a young genttleman. (London, 1752), 37.
 Ken Sheard, Boxing in the Western Civilizing Process, In Dunning, E., Malcolm, D. and Waddington, I. (Eds.) (2004). Sport Histories: Figurational Studies of the Development of Modern Sports, Routledge, 20.
 Randy Roberts, Eighteenth Century Boxing, Journal of Sport History 4(3) (1977): 253-254; Lardner, The Legendary Champions, 6; Joseph Abbott Liebling, The Sweet Science (New York: Viking Press 1958), 2; John Boyton Priestley, The Prince of Pleasure and His Regency, 1811-20 (New York: Harper and Row, Pub., One. 1969), 47; Christopher Johnson, ‘British Championism’: Early pugilism and the works of Fielding. The Review of English Studies, 47 187 (1996): 331-352.
 Thomas Fewtrell, Boxing Reviewed; Or, The Science of manual Defence, Displayed on Rational principles. London (1790), 43-44; An Amateur of Eminence, The Complete Art of Boxing According to the Modern Method. (London, 1788), 79.
 The connoisseur. By Mr. Town, critic and censor-general London, 1755-1756. Vol.1.No. 30. 177-180.
 World (1787), December 27 1787.
 St. James’s Chronicle or the British Evening Post, January 8, 1789; Bath Chronicle, January 15, 1789.
 Tony Gee, ‘Jack Broughton’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
 Common Sense or The Englishman’s Journal, May 13, 1738.
 Dennis Brailsford, Bareknuckles: A Social History of Prizefighting, (Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 1988), 13-14.
 Ken Sheard, Boxing in the Western Civilizing Process, In Dunning, E., Malcolm, D. and Waddington, I. (Eds.) (2004). Sport Histories: Figurational Studies of the Development of Modern Sports, Routledge, 21.
 London Journal (1720), January 16, 1725.
 Connoisseur (Collected Issues), August 22, 1754.