John Gully

John Gully

John Gully (21 August 1783 – 9 March 1863), English sportsman and politician, was born at Wick, near Bath, the son of an innkeeper.

He came into prominence as a boxer, and in 1805 he was matched against Henry Pearce, "the Game Chicken," before the duke of Clarence (afterwards William IV) and numerous other spectators, and after fighting sixty-four rounds, which occupied an hour and seventeen minutes, was beaten. In 1807 he twice fought Bob Gregson, the Lancashire giant, for two hundred guineas a side, winning on both occasions.

As the landlord of the Plough tavern in Carey Street, London, he retired from the ring in 1808, and took to horse-racing. In 1827 he lost £40,000 by backing his horse Mameluke (for which he had paid four thousand guineas) for the St Leger.

In partnership with Robert Ridskale, in 1832, he made £85,000 by winning the Derby and St Leger with St Giles and Margrave. In partnership with John Day he won the 2,000 Guineas with Ugly Buck in 1844, and two years later he took the Derby and the Oaks with Pyrrhus the First and Mendicant, in 1854 the Two Thousand Guineas with Hermit, and in the same year, in partnership with Henry Padwick, the Derby with Andover.

Having bought Ackworth Park near Pontefract, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for the Pontefract constituency from December 1832 to July 1837. In 1862 he purchased the Wingate Grange estate and collieries. Gully was twice married and had twelve children by each wife. He died at Durham on the 9th of March 1863. He appears to have been no relation of the subsequent Speaker, Lord Selby.

His body was returned to Ackworth where he was interred with his daughter.

John Gully in fiction

Gully makes a notable appearance in "Royal Flash", in George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series of books, and was played by Henry Cooper in the 1975 film version.

ee also

*List of bare-knuckle boxers



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