On 26 Nov 1862 Jem fought a rematch with Tom King at Thames Haven (the Essex coast opposite the Medway). Jem had the upper hand but slipped and succumbed to a lucky punch. He lost after 21 rounds.
From 21 Dec the “Jem Mace Circus” played Grantham, Nottingham and Rotherham.
From 28 Dec they played Barnsley, Wakefield and Bradford
Jem issued a rematch challenge to Tom King and deposited a stake with “Bell’s Life” newspaper. King was warned that it could mean the loss of his title and belt if he refused to fight. King responded by returning the belt to “Bell’s Life” thus indirectly acknowledging Jem’s superiority and, by the London Prize Ring rules, this would mean the return of the title to Jem after a period to allow for other challenges.
On 4 Jan 1863 Jem’s circus was put up for auction. The effects of the American Civil War had caused poverty in Northern towns and starvation in Lancashire. This area had previously been the bread and butter of circus entertainment, now there was no demand. Understandably there were no takers for Jem’s circus.
Jem was then challenged for the Middleweight Championship of England by Joe Goss. Stake money was agreed at £200 a side, but in addition, the backers of this fight, expecting to make money from the travelling costs of the expected thousands of fans, put up an unprecedented extra £600 to be paid to the winner. This meant the winner would be richer by £1,000. Jem had put on weight since winning the middleweight title and only just managed to get below the required 10 stone 10 lbs at the weigh in.
This is a picture of Jem with the trophies referred to.
Jem and Tom King were back with Ginnett’s Circus
To Jem, this must have felt like paradise. He was doing what he enjoyed in front of adoring crowds. He did not have to risk life and limb, he was staying in the best possible accommodation, he was extremely well paid, he was surrounded by pretty young showgirls and Ginnett was doing all the organisation.
On 14 Apr 1862 in Oxford
On 25 May they were in Portsmouth
On 15 Jun in Exeter
These dates, mostly being Sundays, make an interesting contrast with “Howes and Cushings Circus” which played every day except Sunday.
Adjacent is a report of a running race that took place at Hackney Wick, London on 13 Jan 1862.
As the new English Heavyweight Champion, Jem found himself the subject of challenges from aspiring newcomers. Jem accepted a challenge from the leading contender.
On 28 Jan 1862, in appalling weather conditions, Jem fought Tom King in Godstone, Surrey. The stakes were £200 a side. King was larger than Jem, athletic and well trained. It took 43 rounds, but eventually Jem’s persistence and stamina paid off, he won.
On 22 Feb 1862 Pablo Fanque visited Jem in his suite at the “Lancaster Castle Hotel” creating speculation about further circus exploits.
On 3 Mar he ran a half mile race for £20 against Robert Jackson at Royal Park, Woodhouse Moor, Leeds.
Jem and Tom King then toured together with Ginnett’s circus. Jem received a cut of the takings
On 15 Mar 1862 they were at “Chadwicks’ Orchard”, Preston.
On 13 Apr 1862 Jem issued a challenge to Heenan and Sayers at Owen Swift’s in London. The following poster advertises the fact.
Unable to sell his circus, Jem decided to continue,
On 8 Feb 1863 he advertised for circus artists
On 22 Feb he advertised for musicians
On 22 Mar he held rehearsals in Bradford
On 29 Mar they played Bradford
On 12 May they played Carlisle
On 31 May they played Sunderland
On 3 Jun they played West Hartlepool
On 4 Jun they played Old Hartlepool
On 7 Jun they played Middlesbrough then Scarborough
On 21 Jun they played York
On 26 Jun and 2 Aug they played Dudley
On 30 Aug they played Swansea
In May 1863 the following advert appeared in the “Stockton & Hartlepool Mercury and Middlesbrough News”.
Hundreds of travel vouchers were sold for the fight, which the railway company decided not to honour. Thousands of fans rioted in London.
The principals and a select group of fans travelled by an alternative route to an alternative venue, and on 28 Jan 1863 Jem fought Joe Goss at Wootten Bassett, near Swindon. The fight was stopped by the Police, only to be immediately resumed at Plumstead Marshes. Jem won in 16 rounds.
Here is a contemporary illustration of the fight.
Jem Mace’s great national circus - the largest troupe in the world.
Two performances each day in the magnificent waterproof pavilion, manufactured by messrs Griffin and co., of Birmingham. For one day only!
West Hartlepool Wednesday June 3. Old Hartlepool Thursday June 4.
Mr Mace, in announcing a visit of this well-known establishment, begs to assure the nobility, gentry, and public in general, that he does not rely entirely on his own powers of attraction, but has secured the most extensive and best talented company that money can produce. The whole of Mr Mace’s clips, belts and medals including the gold Windham trophy, value 500 guineas, recently presented to Mr Mace by W F Windham esq., of Fellbrig Hall, Norfolk, in all valued at 2000 guineas, will be shown and explained to the audience at each exhibition.
Doors open at 2 and 7. The gates of the arena will be thrown open at precisely half-past two and half-past seven.
Prices of admission....boxes 2s; pit1s; promenade 6d. Manager.....Charles Wm Montague.
On receiving the summons, which, by the way was served by Hudson, who is a constable for the borough of Middlesbrough, Jem stamped and swore, declared he was a victim of a gross swindle, and seizing the unfortunate official by the collar, shook him until he was fairly breathless. Having given full vent to his indignation, he inquired how much would settle the matter, and was answered that including a charge for a vehicle to Stockton, the cost of a summons, &c., the total would amount somewhere about 25s. This sum, after another volley was discharged, was paid, but afterwards, finding that the items amounted to only 24s and sixpence, he demanded back the odd sixpence, Hudson however, with a knowing wink of a genuine Yorkshireman, replied, “aw’ll drink thou’s health wi’ the sixpence”. Jem’s rage now reached a climax, and raising his foot he was about to kick his tormentor out of the room, which feat he would no doubt have accomplished to his entire satisfaction, had not the other, who watched his movements closely, beat a speedy retreat. Jem muttered to himself, “That fellow’s too many for me”.
On 13 Jun 1863 this article appeared in the same paper. We understand how he felt but his actions were not very appropriate.
Jem Mace “The Champion of England”, and a hero of nearly as many fights as the “Iron Duke” himself, is at present making a tour of this district with his circus. A few days ago he had an encounter (though not a pugilistic one) with Hudson, the gatekeeper on the Stockton and Middlesbrough road, in which he came off second best. As many of our readers are aware, there are pretty heavy charges for vehicles crossing the bridge over the old channel of the Tees on this road, and there is also a charge of a penny for every foot passenger. On Monday last, “Jem’s establishment in going from Stockton to Middlesbrough had to cross this bridge, and the tolls amounted to the very moderate sum of 14s. The cavalcade was allowed to pass, on the leader stating that “the master would pay”, but, the master, on turning up and being told the amount was by no means disposed to do any such thing. In short, in language more expressive than elegant he told Hudson that he might go to a certain place, the name of which we forbear to mention. To get a summons from Mr Faber’s office and serve it upon Jem, whose headquarters for the time being were the King’s Head, Middlesbrough, was the work of only a few hours, and it was done accordingly.
after his contract ended
On 22 Jun 1862,
Jem announced his intention to open his own circus.
On 29 Jun he advertised for an agent and for musicians.
On 17 Jul the “Jem Mace Circus” was in Canterbury
On 17 Aug in Brighton
On 24 Aug in Amersham
On 31 Aug in Watford
On 21 Sep in Hertford
Abt 24 Sep in Hatfield
On 27 Sep Jem made a flying visit to Ipswich
On 28 Sep in Bishop Stortford
On 5 Oct in Ipswich
On 12 Oct in Norwich
On 20 Oct in Lynn
On 22 Oct in Ely
On 9 Nov in Diss
On 12 Dec in Wellingborough
About this time Jem grew his trademark moustache. Here are two illustrative pictures.
One way of raising extra revenue was the selling of souvenirs. Silk scarves were made for tying round the necks or round the heads of female fans. They were reputedly bought for 2/6d and sold to the fans for £1 (700% mark up). An example from this period is pictured below. Jem’s beaten opponents are pictured round the edge.
Jem was now a super star. Below is a full page studio portrait of him (looking slightly too youthful) published in the “Illustrated Sporting News” of 5 Sep 1863.
On 24 Feb 1863 Jem was presented a 100 oz gold cup by Lord William Frederick Windham of Felbrigg Hall.
In 2015, gold bullion cost about £800 per oz. Hence the value of the gold in the trophy was about £80,000 in today’s money.