London's most famous Bear Garden served as both a theatre and a bear-baiting, blood sports arena. The bloodthirsty entertainment consisted of vicious dogs attacking tethered victims. The bear, chained to a pole in the centre of the ring, was set upon by a pack of dogs that tried to kill the bear by biting its throat. The bear was baited for about an hour.

Bear baiting started in England during the Middle Ages. It was patronised by all classes of Elizabethans including the Queen, courtiers and diplomats. In 1648, theatres were closed by the Puritans but Bear-Baiting was allowed to continue and was popular throughout the Puritan era. The practice died out as people became more civilised and considerate.

The tradition must have carried on in parts of Yorkshire unless there are high fidelity re-enactment groups masquerading as Parish Councils where wrinkled old males regularly bully and savage their victims, especially if they have an intelligent, articulate and assertive female tethered to the pole.
No posts.
No posts.