Liverpool History Society Questions

A selection of Liverpool history questions submitted to the Liverpool History Society

>Last duel fought in Liverpool

>Dear Liverpool History Society,

Do you know when the last duel was fought in Liverpool and the outcome.


Mr L Sherpe

  Dingle Glen near to where the last duel in the Dingle was carried out.

27/11/2009 - Posted by | Last duel fought in Liverpool

1 Comment »

  1. Dear Mr Sherpe,

    The last duel in Liverpool took place by Mr. John Bolton a wealthy merchant of the town, who is reported to have fought and won the last reported duel in Liverpool, but I cannot find out who he duelled with. Bolton Street in Liverpool was named after him, and not because of the duel.

    The last Duel in the Dingle took place on 24th February 1804 between Mr.Sparling of St.Domingo House and Mr.Grayson a Liverpool Shipbuilder. The reason for the Duel was a conversation that occurred between a Major Brooks and Mr.Grayson. Mr.Grayson was angry with Mr.Sparling for breaking off the marriage between him and a relative of Mr.Grayson's and called him a “Villain”. The time of the Duel was 7.00am near the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth (my old Cub Scout Hall). The outcome of this Duel was that Mr.Grayson was badly injured and died the next day. Mr.Sparling and Major Brooks were tried for murder and were found not guilty on the 4th April 1804. Grayson Street was named after Edward Grayson.

    Duelling was outlawed in Britain in 1819, but the last duel in Britain was fought in 1845. Duelling practices and rituals were codified in the Code Duello of 1777 which set forth rules describing all aspects of an “affair of honour,” from the time of day during which challenges could be received to the number of shots or wounds required for satisfaction of honour. For gentlemen the law “offered no redress for insults” he might be subject to from rivals and enemies.

    In 1798 William Pitt accused opposition politician George Tierney of a “desire to obstruct the defence of the country.” When Tierney demanded that the accusation be withdrawn the Prime Minister repeated it. In response George Tierney sent the Prime Minister a challenge to a duel. As hard as it is for us today to believe the Prime Minister accepted. The two men met on Putney Heath, where in 1809 Lord Castlereagh and George Canning also met in a duel (Canning was injured). After the first shots were exchanged, with the slim Pitt missing the rotund Tierney, Pitt fired his second shot in the air (a procedure known as delopement). One of the seconds stopped the proceedings declaring that honour had been vindicated.

    The Duke of Wellington, while Prime Minister, fought a duel, over the issue of Catholic Emancipation. Winchilsea accused the Iron Duke, according to one biographer, of “insidious designs for the infringement of our liberties and the introduction of Popery into every department of State.”) against the Earl of Winchilsea in March of 1829 on the commons at Battersea Fields. Winchilsea stood firm and took the Duke's shot, which missed whether intentionally or through poor shooting is a matter of opinion. Winchilsea, seeing the difficulties that would be involved in killing a national hero, discharged his pistol harmlessly in the air.

    The last duel fought in Scotland was in 1826, between a bad tempered provincial banker and a respectable merchant named David Landale

    Oh for the good old days before school children skipped to class with a switch blade in their satchel.


    Rob Ainsworth

    Programme Secretary & Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society

    Comment by Liverpool History | 27/11/2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: