The Tillingham Prizefight

In July 1788 The Dengie Hundred was excited by posters advertising a prizefight between the two local champions. A prizefight taking place in the same era

Prizefighters in this era were fought barenuckle.

Fights had no time limit and would continue until one boxer was too badly injured to continue.

Deaths were not uncommon.

When a Boxer was knocked down he had 30 seconds to receive treatment from his supporters before the fight re commenced.

Noah Church from Bradwell was a giant of a man standing 6' 2" tall with an impressive build.

His second was Laft and his bottle holder was Hazelton.

King , his opponent from Southminster was  stocky but much smaller at only 5' 9" in height.

His second was Mully and his bottleholder was Coe.

Two local gentlemen acted as umpires.

Neutral ground on Tillingham Village Green was agreed and on the day of the fight over 3,000 people crowded onto the green.

Hawkers and traders plied their wares making it an exciting day for Tillingham Residents.

The fight encouraged a great deal of betting with Church being the overwhelming favourite.

At 5pm the fighters arrived and the  crowd formed a circle around the two men.

The fight began with exchanges of blows which saw both men hurt.

The London Chronicle said " It is supposed more hard fighting was never known"

By the later stages of the fight it became clear that the underdog King was winning the battle and after one hour and 5 minutes Church was too badly hurt to continue and King was declared the winner.

After the fight King's bottle Holder offered to take on any of Church's supported for a reasonable fee. No one obliged him.

The event excited so much interest that London Newspapers and one of the East Anglian regional newspapers, the Ipswich Journal, carried a report of the fight.