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312
Hereditary Genius
WRESTLERS OF THE NORTH COUNTRY.
I AM wholly indebted for the information contained in this chapter,
as I was for that in the last, to Mr. Robert Spence Watson. With the
assistance of a well-informed champion wrestler, that gentleman has
examined into the history of those of the 172 men of whom anything
could be learnt, who were either first or second at Carlisle or
Newcastle since the establishment of the championship at those
places; at the first, in 1809, and at the second, in 1839.
It is exceedingly difficult to estimate the performances of the
ancestors of the present generation, because there were scarcely any
prizes in former days; matches were then made simply for honour.
We must not expect to be able to trace ancestral gifts among the
wrestlers to a greater degree than among the oarsmen.
I should add, that I made several attempts to obtain information on
wrestling families in the Lake districts of Westmoreland and
Cumberland, but entirely without success; no records seem to have
been kept of the yearly meetings at Keswick and Bowness, and the
wrestling deeds of past years have fallen out of mind.
There are eighteen families in my Appendix, containing between
them forty-six wrestlers, and the relationships existing towards the
ablest wrestler of the family are 1 F, 21 B, 7 S, and 1 n.
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