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Nat Langham

Nat Langham (20 May 1820 – 1 September 1871) was an English middleweight bare-knuckle prize fighter. He had the distinction of being the only person ever to beat Thomas Sayers.


Early lifeEdit

Stephen Nathaniel Langham was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire in May 1820.[1] As a child he laboured in the fields but made his way to Leicester where he was hired to help deliver goods by horse and cart. [1] He started to box in the early 1840s, fighting with "rural roughs".

He always spoke with a speech impediment, the result of a childhood incident when he stole a hot potato from a market stall—caught in the act, the vendor thrust the steaming potato into his mouth, causing severe permanent tissue scarring.


Langham was just under six feet (1.8 m) tall, and 11 stone (150 lb; 70 kg) in weight. His deprived childhood caused him to suffer ill health all his life. During his career, boxing was an illegal clandestine profession, carried out in comparative secrecy.

His first recorded fight took place in February 1843 near Hinkley, where he took on William Ellis of Sabcote for stakes of £5 a-side. Ellis, described as an "old fighter" was well beaten when the contest ended at the finish of the 8th round.[1]

In spite of the small prizes available, his prowess in the ring earned him a considerable fortune. Following his defeat of Thomas Sayers in 1857, he retired from the ring and became the matchmaking manager of the first professional champion of the boxing world, Jem Mace.[2]

Later lifeEdit

In the 1861 census of London he appears as a victualler and as widower living on Castle Street in Westminster.[3]

A blue plaque now commemorates Langham's place of birth on Church Street, Hinckley, and a road "Langham Close" now bears his name.

Langham died of consumption on 1 September 1871[4] at the age of 52 in London; he is buried in Brompton Cemetery.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Miles, Henry Downes (1906). Pugilistica. 3. New York Public Library. Edinburgh: J. Grant. pp. 234–252.
  2. ^ Gordon, Graham (2008). Master of the Ring. Milo Books. ISBN 1903854695.
  3. ^ 1861 Census RG09/58 Folio 107, Page 2, Schedule 11: London - 12, Cranbin Stores, Castle Street, St Martins, Westminster (Names and Surname: Nat Langham, Relation to Head of Family: Head, Condition of Marriage: Widower, Age last Birthday: 40, Profession or Occupation: Victualler, Where Born: Hinckley, Leicestershire)
  4. ^ Henning, Fred W. J. (1902). Fights for the championship : the men and their times. London: Licensed Victuallers' Gazette. pp. 321–329.