John 'Gentleman' Jackson (1769-1845)
The prize fighter who became a bodyguard at King George IV's coronation.
Jackson was a renowned bare-knuckle fighter and self-defence teacher.
He was crowned ‘Champion of England’ after a short, brutal encounter with Daniel Mendoza in 1795, which was only his third fight! Jackson then decided to retire from the ring, and set up a boxing academy on London’s Bond Street. His most famous pupil was the poet Lord Byron. Later Jackson became the proprietor of a coaching inn between London and Brighton, and held benefits to raise money for charity.
‘Gentleman’ Jackson may have had a formidable reputation, but he was hugely popular and well-respected. His striking memorial, topped by a brooding lion, was paid for by friends and admirers.
Jackson taught members of the aristocracy at his boxing academy, giving him friends in high places.
He was chosen to be a guard during the coronation of George IV in 1821. Jackson gathered together a group of fellow fighters for the task, whose fearsome looks kept the crowds in order.