Author Topic: Cock throwing  (Read 529 times)

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Offline pomme homme

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Cock throwing
« on: February 10, 2019, 17:06:07 pm »
Cock throwing was a blood sport that has long since passed into antiquity. Contrary to common myth, it did not involve throwing a cockerel at something or someone but throwing weighted sticks at a cockerel, tied to a post, until it had been killed.

Sussex is said to have had its own specific versions of the sport. One was similar to bear baiting in that rather than being tied to a post, the cockerel had attached to it a four or five feet long cord which, in turn, was tied to a post. Some said that this was a more sporting version in that it gave the cockerel more freedom and a greater opportunity to dodge the sticks being shied at it. Others said that it was simply a method of prolonging the game but with the same ultimate outcome. Another version is also recorded as having been practised in Sussex. This involved placing the cockerel in a large earthenware pot, which was suspended some sixteen feet above street level. Participants paid tuppence for four throws at the pot with a heavy stone. Whosoever broke the pot won the cockerel (assuming that it didn't flutter away in a bid for freedom). Apparently it took place in the Lanes of Brighton. This would seem to be a much more civilised version that the former.   

In early 18th Century Chichester it is said that 'scarcely a church yard was to be found' without its cock throwers on a Shrove Tuesday. In Portsmouth, the corporation ordered the prohibition of the pastime in 1720 and its mayors and justices were moved to act owing to 'riotts, quarrells and other mischeifs' occasioned by the activity. In February 1766 Guildford issued notices prohibiting the throwing at cocks 'either in High Streets, Backsides or Churchyards in this Town'. In 1784 in Gravesend the chamberlains made payments for the crying down of cock throwing. In 1781 Dover first paid its crier for 'forbidding throwing at cocks' and continued to pay the crier every Shrove Tuesday for nearly 25 years. However in Sussex, in particular, the practice continued in rural communities until mid 19th Century.

It is said that the game of Aunt Sally evolved out of cock throwing - in that when it became socially unacceptable to throw sticks at a live cockerel, with the intention of killing it, a replica (a 'mock cock'?) was substituted. It is also said that coconut shies derived from this.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Cock throwing
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 10:03:29 am »
Sadly, as I can't find any south-east connections to them, I'm going to have to refrain from posting concerning the sports of fox tossing, goose pulling and octopus wrestling!   :D

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Cock throwing
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2024, 18:00:47 pm »
When throwing at cocks was a fashionable sport, the stick which was thrown had lead let in at the end, and was called a libbet.

"The old custom of throwing at cocks on Shrove Tuesday is said to date from the fact of the crowing of a cock having prevented our Saxon ancestors from massacreing their con­querors, another part of our ancestors, the Danes, on the morning of a Shrove Tuesday, when they were asleep in their beds."                                                 

— Brand's Popular Antiquities.

Offline PNK

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Re: Cock throwing
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2024, 11:25:48 am »
I won't Google this :)