DAVID ARNOLD - The salutary tale of a bullying butcher

In 1792, the village butcher of Burwash achieved county-wide notoriety through an extraordinary duel.

A big man and evidently a bit of a bully, he was in the habit of repeatedly insulting a fellow shopkeeper who was slight of build.

Eventually it got too much and the plucky fellow challenged the butcher to a fight.

The latter was none too pleased at the prospect but had to accept the challenge lest he lose face. He rested his hopes on his wife informing the authorities who would then intervene and prevent the duel.

However, he soon discovered that his wife was not so keen on his survival as he had thought, so he had to inform the local constable himself.

The butcher arrived at the agreed venue on the agreed day only to find no constable on hand ready to step in.

What he did find was that his opponent had turned up with a plentiful supply of ammunition – just in case his first shot missed.

A press report from the time reads: “This man of blood, all pale and trembling, at last began to despair of any friendly interference, when the constable very seasonably appeared and forbade the duel, to the butcher’s great joy and the disappointment of the gathered spectators.”