...in The Dunciad
The Mighty Mother, and her Son who brings
The Smithfield Muses to the ear of Kings,
I sing. Say you, her instruments the Great!
Call'd to this work by Dulness, Jove, and Fate;
You by whose care, in vain decry'd and curst,
Still Dunce the second reigns like Dunce the first;
Say how the Goddess bade Britannia sleep,
And pour'd her Spirit o'er the land and deep.
...in John Strype's Survey of London and Westminster (1720)
Smithfield was long used as "a Market Place for Cattle, Hay, Straw, and other necessary Provisions. And likewise (once in the Year) at Bartholomewtide, a general Fair, commonly called Bartholomew Fair, hath usually been kept in that Place." In 1614 it was paved and levelled, "(which being in such a rude foul Condition, it was before thought impossible to be done) ... whereby it became a very fair, clean, and spatious Walk." The field was strongly railed on all sides to protect those walking "from the danger of Coaches, Carts, Horses, Oxen, and other Cattle, of which Smithfield is seldom empty." Smithfield was known for its disorderliness, he writes: "loose serving Men would commonly meet here, and make Uproars and Quarrels; insomuch that it was many Years called Ruffians Hall, being the usual Rendevous of Ruffians and Quarrellers, during the time that Swords and Bucklers were used: When every Serving Man carried a Buckler at his Back, which hung by the Hilt or Pomel of his Sword, hanging before him."
- John Strype's Survey of London and Westminster (1720): Farington Ward