This graffiti can be found around the middle of the west parapet of the Lion Bridge. It reads “Fox’s Leap, Au 2 1867”. The story spread quickly. It was reported in the Shields Daily News and the Newcastle Chronicle on August 3rd, 1867.
A LEAP INTO THE RIVEN ALN BY A MILITIA MAN
The Northumberland Militia, the members of which are now undergoing their annual training at Alnwick, were at drill yesterday afternoon, when one of the men; Private John Fox, of No. 4 company, was observed to be under the influence of liquor, and incapable of performing his duty, there having been a cheap trip from Newcastle, where he had been with his friends during the day.
He was ordered off the parade, in charge of a corporal and a file of men, to be taken to the guardroom. The parade ground is in the pasture on the north side of the river, and to reach the town it is necessary to cross over the Lion Bridge. Fox and his escort had got as far as the south arch of the bridge, when, being unwilling to go further, he pretended to be sick. After some delay he went to the side of the bridge, laid his hands on two of the upright parapets, and, with a sudden spring, leapt through the embrasure. Fox fell into the water below, a height of thirty or forty feet. At the spot at which he fell there is a depth of four or five feet of water, into which he plunged. Assistance was at hand, and he was got out in a half unconscious state, and was carried to the regimental hospital. On being examined he was found to be slightly bruised, and one of his ankles were severely sprained. but otherwise he was uninjured by the wild freak.