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Old 09-11-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
Matt Ldn
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Default Bendigo Thompson

My mates great great great uncle (or something like that) turns out to be the legendary Bendigo Thompson. Reading his wikipedia article I couldn't help but laugh and was wondering if anyone knows much about this character. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1991 as a pioneer of the sport.

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"He eventually moved to Beeston to try to curb his drinking and avoid the Nottingham Lambs, but he only managed a few sober moments here and there, fishing by the Trent. Despite all these problems, at the age of 59 he managed to dive into the river to save three people from drowning. One time he pulled a woman from the river who offered him a reward. "Reward? I am the champion of England" he scornfully rejected the kind offer."

"Thompson never stepped down from a challenge, and once he recovered from his knee injury he defeated 19 opponents over the next 4 years, including 7 in one month. Then finally, on 9 September 1845 at Lillington Level, Oxford, a half drunk riotous crowd of 10,000 came to see the third and final fight between Thompson and Caunt. Thompson's tactics were called into question as he crouched and bobbed his way around the ring, making it harder for Caunt to hit him. Hardly a round went by without a foul being claimed in a notoriously dirty grudge match. The atmosphere was all the more intense because of the fierce rivalry between the two sets of supporters, who only really came to finish what they had started 6 years earlier. The fight lasted a massive 96 rounds with Thompson tactically and methodically breaking his man down until, exhausted after two hours ten minutes, Caunt sat down without getting hit, losing on a foul. The fight was described by a contemporary writer as "one of the most scandalous brawls in boxing history. Both men used every foul under the sun and invented a good many others... Thompson was tossed from the ring... Caunt trying to crash him on the ring stakes to break his back. Thompson's [followers] attempted to bludgeon Caunt whenever within striking distance... on one occasion missing by a hairs breadth, the blow landing on Caunt's brawny shoulder...""

"In two minds as to whether to accept the fight or not, his 82 year old mother encouraged him by saying "I tell you this Bendy, if you don't take up the fight you're a coward. And I tell you more. If you don't fight him, I'll take up the challenge myself."
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bendigo Thompson

You didn't know of Bendigo! Well, that
knocks me out!
Who's your board school teacher? What's
he been about?

Chock-a-block with fairy-tales full of
useless cram,
And never heard o' Bendigo, the pride of

Bendy's short for Bendigo. You should
see him peel!
Half of him was whalebone, half of him
was steel,

Fightin' weight eleven ten, five foot nine
in height,
Always ready to oblige if you want a

I could talk of Bendigo from here to king-
dom come,
I guess before I ended you would wish your
dad was dumb.

I'd tell you how he fought Ben Caunt, and
how the deaf 'un fell,
But the game is done, and the men are
gone and maybe it's as well.

Bendy he turned Methodist—he said he
felt a call,
He stumped the country preachin' and you
bet he filled the hall,

If you seed him in the pulpit, a-bleatin'
like a lamb,
You'd never know bold Bendigo, the
pride of Nottingham.

His hat was like a funeral, he'd got a
waiter's coat,
With a hallelujah collar and a choker round
his throat,

His pals would laugh and say in chaff that
Bendigo was right,
In takin' on the devil, since he'd no one
else to fight.

But he was very earnest, improvin' day by
A-workin' and a-preachin' just as his duty

But the devil he was waitin', and in the
final bout,
He hit him hard below his guard and
knocked poor Bendy out.

Now I'll tell you how it happened. He
was preachin' down at Brum,
He was billed just like a circus, you should
see the people come,

The chapel it was crowded, and in the fore-
most row,
There was half a dozen bruisers who'd a
grudge at Bendigo.

There was Tommy Piatt of Bradford,
Solly Jones of Perry Bar,
Long Connor from the Bull Ring, the
same wot drew with Carr,

Jack Ball the fightin gunsmith, Joe Mur-
phy from the Mews,
And Iky Moss, the bettin' boss, the
Champion of the Jews.

A very pretty handful a-sittin' in a
Full of beer and impudence, ripe for any-

Sittin' in a string there, right under
Bendy's nose,
If his message was for sinners, he could
make a start on those.

Soon he heard them chaflin'; "Hi, Bendy!
Here's a go!"
"How much are you coppin' by this Jump
to Glory show?"

"Stow it, Bendy! Left the ring! Mighty
spry of you!
Didn't everybody know the ring was
leavin' you."

Bendy fairly sweated as he stood above
and prayed,
"Look down, O Lord, and grip me with
a strangle hold!" he said.

"Fix me with a strangle hold! Put a stop
on me!
I'm slippin', Lord, I'm slippin' and I'm
clingin' hard to Thee!"

But the roughs they kept on chaffin' and
the uproar it was such
That the preacher in the pulpit might be
talkin' double Dutch,

Till a workin' man he shouted out, a-
jumpin' to his feet,
"Give us a lead, your reverence, and heave
'em in the street."

Then Bendy said, "Good Lord, since
first I left my sinful ways,
Thou knowest that to Thee alone I've
given up my days,

But now, dear Lord"—and here he laid his
Bible on the shelf—
"I'll take, with your permission, just five
minutes for myself."

He vaulted from the pulpit like a tiger
from a den,
They say it was a lovely sight to see him
floor his men;

Right and left, and left and right, straight
and true and hard,
Till the Ebenezer Chapel looked more like
a knacker's yard.

Platt was standin' on his back and lookup
at his toes,
Solly Jones of Perry Bar was feelin' for
his nose,

Connor of the Bull Ring had all that he
could do
Rakin' for his ivories that lay about the

Jack Ball the fightin' gunsmith was in a
peaceful sleep,
Joe Murphy lay across him, all tied up
in a heap,

Five of them was twisted in a tangle on
the floor,
And Iky Moss, the bettin' boss, had
sprinted for the door.

Five repentant fightin' men, sitting in a
Listenin' to words of grace from Mister

Listenin' to his reverence all as good
as gold,
Pretty little baa-lambs, gathered to the

So that's the way that Bendy ran his
mission in the slum,
And preached the Holy Gospel to the
fightin' men of Brum,

"The Lord," said he, "has given me His
message from on high,
And if you interrupt Him, I will know
the reason why."

But to think of all your schooling clean
wasted, thrown away,
Darned if I can make out what you're
learnin' all the day,

Grubbin' up old fairy-tales, fillin' up with
And didn't know of Bendigo, the pride
of Nottingham.

[The end]
Arthur Conan Doyle's poem: Bendy's Sermon
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:25 AM   #3
Matt Ldn
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Default Re: Bendigo Thompson

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Bendigo above a pub in Sneiton.

Cheers for that Doyley. From the wikipedia article that is based on an event where some people were making a lot of noise in the back of the church whilst he was preaching and he said about "lord give me 5minutes" and went and restored order.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bendigo Thompson

Matt, try and get hold of "Bold as a Lion" by JP Bean, its a very enjoyable book on Bendigo.
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