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Lion Baiting


Lion-baiting is a blood sport involving the baiting of lions.

In 1610, during the reign of James I of England the practice of lion-baiting was first recorded. The spectacle was staged for the amusement of the court. The King requested Edward Alleyn, Master of the Bear Garden, to acquire the three largest and most courageous dogs. The event was as follows:

"One of the dogs, which was the first to be sent in the cage, was soon put out of action by the lion, which seized it by the head and neck and dragged it through the cage. A second dog was sent in and met with the same fate. The third, however, which came to its aid, immediately seized the lion by the lower jaw and gripped it securely for a considerable time until, severely injured by the lion's claws, it was forced to loosen its grip. The lion itself was seriously injured in the fight and was not able to continue fighting. With a sudden mighty leap over the dogs, it fled inside its den. Two of the dogs died shortly after the fight from the injuries they had suffered. The last, however, survived this splendid fight and was nursed back to health with great care by the King's son, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. Prince Henry declared: 'He had fought the king of the wild animals and should never again have to fight baser creatures!' In this way, the dog had gained for itself a safe life at the English Royal court."



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