Monday, 27 July 2015

Brickfields Fight Death

A man who challenged a drinking companion to a fight after a disagreement ended up dead, with his opponent sentenced to ten days imprisonment for manslaughter.

On the evening of Monday 18th August 1828 a group of men were drinking heavily in a pub on Vauxhall Road when two of them John McGinnis and Joseph Hughes got into a quarrel. John's brother Patrick then challenged Hughes to a fight with the loser paying a sovereign. Hughes declined this as he had no money but accepted an invitation to fight for honour.

Both men went to the nearby brickfields, followed by a crowd of over one hundred others. They stripped to their waists, shook hands and then fought in a regular way. Hughes, who worked as a corkcutter got the upper hand and McGinnis was soon on the floor in a senseless state. He was then carried off to his lodgings in nearby Portland Street.

A surgeon attended but could do nothing to revive Patrick who died at 6am the following morning. An inquest returned a verdict of manslaughter and Hughes handed himself in two days later.

With the Lancaster assizes already under way, Hughes was taken straight there and appeared before Justice Bayley on 25th August, just seven days after the fight. He was found guilty and sentenced to ten days imprisonment.

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