Rural Sports, A Milling Match

Various artists/makers

Not on view

A boxing match takes place here on a 25 foot stage, before a crowd estimated at 15,000. The English champion Thomas Cribb strikes Tom Molineux who falls backwards. This second contest between the fighters took place at Thisselton Gap, Rutland on September 28, 1811. Molineaux was an African-American, said to have been enslaved in Virginia. He had crossed the Atlantic in 1809 and had fought Cribb previously at Sheninghton Hollow, Oxfordshire on December 3, 1810, going down to defeat in 35 rounds in a disputed decision. At this rematch, Cribb's second was John Gully and his bottle-holder Joe Ward while Molineaux's second was Bill Richmond (also American-American by birth and once enslaved), and his bottleman Bill Gibbons. In a match that lasted 19 minutes, Cribb broke his opponent's jaw in the 9th round, and knocked him out in the 11th. Milling was a common slang term at this period for bare-knuckle boxing (see 59.533.1445 and 69.635.2 for other prints of the subject).

Rural Sports, A Milling Match, Thomas Rowlandson (British, London 1757–1827 London), Etching

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