» The Regency Keith Moon – Drunken Horseplay with “Mad” Jack Mytton
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Libertines, Lotharios or Bastards?

The Regency Keith Moon – Drunken Horseplay with “Mad” Jack Mytton

The Regency Keith Moon – Drunken Horseplay with “Mad” Jack Mytton
John Mytton 1796 - 1834


Calais 1832

What kind of maniac tries to cure an attack of the hiccups by setting himself on fire?

The answer is lying in a pain and brandy induced swoon with half his body the colour of “ a newly singed bacon-hog.”

As he deliriously points out however, his hiccups have disappeared.


John Mytton’s remedies for life’s little inconveniences are nothing if not suicidally excessive.

Which is probably why even his closet friends refer to him as “Mad” Jack.

The poor fellow’s only 37 but he looks one hundred years older.

A lifetime of biblical boozing, unfettered extravagance and  total disregard for personal wellbeing has left him a sad, bloated wreckage.

In his day however, he was one of England’s finest (and richest) sporting gentlemen, a Member of Parliament and the most fearless gambler ever to bet upon the turn of a card.

Now he’s hiding from a battalion of creditors in a French garret with a woman he bumped into on Westminster Bridge and offered £500 to be his companion.

You cant help but feel sorry for him.,

Born into more money than God makes, John was heir to Halson Hall in Shropshire and had a wild temperament even as child.

By the age of ten he had his own pack of hounds and had been nicknamed “Mango, King of the Pickles” by his neighbours because he was so wilful and full of mischief.  He was expelled from one school for fighting with the masters and lasted three days at another before being asked to leave.

The long suffering parade of private tutors his mother employed, valiantly fought to squeeze some knowledge into the head of a lad who wanted none of it and were often the victims of his practical jokes. One learned man entered his boudoir at the end of a long day to find a horse which John had led up several flights of stairs staring back at him over the bed linen.

syntax_lost “When I find Mytton I’ll give him such a hiding”

Despite having no academic qualifications or inclination, John was accepted at Cambridge University and arrived at the start of term with 2000 bottles of port to see him through until the holidays. Not surprisingly, he found university life boring and left to travel Europe on The Grand Tour.

Returning home without any cultural enlightenment whatsoever he enlisted in the army and spent 1814 in Paris heroically wearing a handsome uniform while drinking and gambling himself dans une stupeur .

The harsh demands of military life not being for him he returned again to England and  considered a political career. He managed to get himself elected MP for Shropshire by offering ten pounds to everyone who voted for him. £10,000 later he took his seat in Parliament but left after half an hour, never to return because it was full of stuffy old gents doing nothing but talking and the weather was nice outside.

At the age of 21 he came into his full enormous inheritance and from then on had the wherewithal to devote his life to five simple interests


John was built like a prizefighter and loved nothing more than a good scrap. Once while hunting hares, a powerfully built coal miner accidentally disturbed the proceedings and John immediately challenged him to a bare knuckle boxing match. The two pummelled each other for twenty rounds until the miner cried “Uncle” at which Jack gave him ten shillings and told him to go into town and get drunk.

fighting A Good Night Out















On another occasion he thought it would be amusing to swap clothes with a beggar, ring his doorbell and plead for charity from his own servants. Not recognising their master, the servants tried to throw him off the doorstep at which he attacked them and knocked two to the ground.  Still not seeing the funny side, they set the dogs on him.

This was probably not much of an issue for John as when he wasn’t sparring with people, he was rumoured to be fond of taking on angry bulldogs with his bare hands. They say he punched one to death and held another aloft in his mouth, suspending it above the ground using just the strength of his jaws.


If it flew, walked, crawled or slithered Mytton would hunt it, but his favourite quarries were foxes and ducks-and occasionally rats.


When hunting he always wore light, thin clothing, whatever the weather. Driving rain or freezing snow his wardrobe hardly changed. Although he never seemed to mind (or notice) if his clothes were soaking wet or frozen stiff, the fact he owned 150 pairs of breeches ,700 pairs of boots and over 1000 hats meant he always had something to change into later. That said, he often became so overcome with the excitement of the chase he’d strip off all his clothes and continue the hunt with his tackle hanging out, much to his companions consternation.

Mytton 10 - Swim

His sturdy constitution was such that he was known to plunge his horse into the raging torrents of the River Severn in pursuit of one fox and continue to pursue another even after he had fallen from his horse and broken several ribs.

On many occasions he’d wake in the middle of the night, decide he was bored and slip out of the house naked but for his favourite gun in order to hunt ducks. Once he had bagged a few he would go back to bed.  One winter he parked his naked backside on a frozen lake for an hour while slowly shuffling to where he thought the ducks were hiding. How he never caught a chill or froze his bollocks off at the very least I’ll never know.



John used to get through eight bottles of the finest port every day. He’d down the first one while he was shaving before breakfast. – since moving to France he’s maintained this routine only with brandy.

Supplementing his port diet with wine, ale, hazelnuts and bacon, his almost constant state of inebriation has led to him making some baffling decisions.

He once bought a brown bear and a monkey from a travelling show for £35 and installed them at Halson Hall.  He named the bear “Nell” and drunkenly attended his friend Appleby’s dinner party sat astride her, dressed in his hunting pinks.  She angrily bit his calf but John was magnanimous and refused to punish her. Sadly when she savaged one of his luckless servants he had no choice but to have her destroyed.

john-mytton-bear_2393611k “Cheer up you boring bastards, its only a bear”














The monkey became a slave to port and would often join Mytton for a tipple. Sadly, he also passed away after mistaking a bottle of boot blacking for a fine vintage and accidentally poisoning himself.

While he was in his cups, John was never violent but his pranks could cause distress.

At the end of one evening his dinner guests– a sour faced parson and a local doctor – had said their farewells and were riding home. On a whim, John disguised himself as a highwayman and filled two pistols with powder but no ball before bursting  out of the trees in front of them shouting “Stand and Deliver.”

Inspired by their terrified expressions he then fired a volley over their heads and chased the pair to Oswestry.

plate1EDIT Ha Ha Ha Ha

On another occasion he was returning from the Newmarket races counting his substantial winnings when he passed out in his carriage with the window wide open.  As he snored, a strong gust of wind blew the banknotes out of his hand and scattered several thousand pounds across the Shropshire countryside. This bothered him not a jot.


John has no fear of injury, in fact many say he actually enjoys having accidents. One certainly needs to be of a stout constitution to share a carriage with him. He drives along winding country lanes at breakneck speed without knowledge or care of what lies ahead. He once rode his horse straight over a rabbit warren just to see what would happen – he fell off. He once attempted to see if a two horse gig could clear a tollgate. It could not and while the two horses strained against their harnesses on one side, he and the wide eyed owner of the gig remained stranded on the other.

Mytton 4 - Gig

His friend Appleby tells me that one afternoon they were driving down a country lane when John asked him he had ever been in a gig which had overturned. He replied that he had not “thank God” to which John shouted “What a damned slow fellow you must have been all your life!” and deliberately tipped the pair into a ditch.

He was as reckless riding a horse as he was driving a pair. Back in 26’ he galloped a fine filly up the staircase of the Bedford Hotel in Leamington Spa, jumped her from the balcony over the heads of the stupefied diners below, through the window opposite and out into the street.

He did love horses though and allowed his favourite, “Baronet” the run of his house, even curling up with him, in front of the fire on cold winter evenings.

(The less said about his horse “Sportsman” who died after John fed him a bowel of mulled port the better)


John inherited a vast sum of money  – £60,000 with an annual income of £10,000 – and he managed to spend it all and amass vast debts  in a little over fifteen years.

Along with his extravagant eating and drinking and clothes shopping and gambling John has absolutely no concept of the value of money and we would often find banknotes and coin absentmindedly scattered throughout his estate.  He also spent vast amounts on his 2000 dogs and 60 cats which he fed on steak and champagne and dressed in little costumes.

When the bailiffs were knocking at the door, his financial agent told him that he could still remain solvent if he lived on £6000 a year for the next six years. “ I wouldn’t give a damn to live on £6,000 a year!” he cried and fled to France.

So here we are. He now has precious little in the way of funds and if he returns to England they’ll throw him in the Fleet.  But last night, in the grip of a brandy sodden attack of the hiccups he rejects drinking a glass of water upside down or holding his breath and decides instead to scare the condition away.

Taking a lighted candle he carefully applied it to the hem of his nightshirt and was engulfed in flames, becoming a hiccupping human bonfire.

Jack’s got the hiccups again.
















If we hadn’t beat the fire out he would surely have been consumed, but he seems not to have grasped the danger in which he had  placed himself.

I’ve heard it said that Johns life is “A series of suicide attempts” and perhaps that’s true. Despite all of his japes and high jinks I don’t think he has ever been truly happy and has spent his entire life searching for an elusive goal I doubt he will ever find.

He’s been married twice, but one wife died and the other ran away. As for his children, apart from tossing them into the air and pelting them with oranges when they were small, he has had little to do with them.

I do hope he doesn’t babble out what remains of  his life in some prison or sanatorium, but I fear that will ultimately be his fate.

As for me, I will endeavour never to hiccup in his presence, particularly if we’re sharing a carriage.

gatrell17 You only live once.





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