Market began in 1327 as a public greenspace and was used for a variety
of events such as produce and livestock markets, jousting tournaments
and many public executions, including that of William Wallace who
was hung, drawn and quartered here.
It was also reported during the late 1600's:
Smithfield Market was haunted
in the middle of the 17th century by the ghost of a lawyer named
Mallet, who is said to have died in 1654 after eating poisoned meat.
Described as being dressed in the gown of a lawyer and wearing long-pointed
shoes, he appeared in the market every Saturday night between the
hours of nine oclock and midnight, tormenting the butchers
by pulling joints of meat off their stalls. Some of the braver of
these men attempted to drive the ghost away with their knives and
meat-cleavers but could feel nothing but aire.
It would appear that the ghost
was not absolutely certain that the affected meat had come from
Smithfield however, because after terrorising the butchers at Smithfield
he often moved on to Whitechapel and Eastcheap, where he similarly
angered the meat sellers there.