Recorded in 1646.after the term “cock of the game” used by George Wilson, in the earliest known book on the sport of cockfighting in The Commendation of Cocks and Cock Fighting in 1607, the sport had been around at least before Julius Caesar who admired the Britons for breeding birds for fighting rather than eating.
Modern thoughts puts the origins down to the Iron Age.
It was everywhere – Westminster and Downing Street had their cockpits and schoolboys would bring them to school on Shrove Tuesday to fight for the prize of a cockpenny. Specially bred, the Old English Game fowl was prized for aggression, although all cocks congenitally have aggression to a degree. The cock had his comb and wattles removed [dubbed] and steel spurs [gavelocks] attached.
Strictly speaking, a cockerel was a bird under a year old and various words have come down to us from the sport – game, pitted against, turn tail, show the white feather, show a clean pair of heels, well-heeled, cocksure, cock-eyed.
Best birds at one time were the White Piles bred by Dr. Bellsye near Chester. Today, the major breeder of chickens for eating [until the EU] was the Grampian Country Foods Group.
What we see as brutal and cruel today actually underpinned the most successful nations in terms of conquest. The Romans, Vikings and Spanish spring to mind, as do the Britons. It’s difficult today in these PC times to admit the quite earthy and brutal antecedents to our island race and the notion that the Britons were somehow an articulate and well read nation of gentle souls is a long way from the truth. And a look at the wild-eyed Scot tells you all you need to know.
Where civilizing influences had not yet reached, there were blood sacrifices, worship of the sun, moon and stars and no constraints of the kind we shackled ourselves with through Christianity. The notion of chivalry sprang from the latter tradition in formal form. The crazy thing today is that we are heading back, unwarily, to the true dark ages – not mediaeval times but long before, when your life was not worth a coin and the only ones living in luxury were the few lords and ladies. The rest of us would be fit for shoovelling mook.
We can’t seem to keep to a happy medium – maintaining the strength of body and mind which makes the nation hard to conquer but at the same time, acting within constraints scripturally laid down. This nation had its greatest moments when that uneasy yet happy combination was at work.
And privation is something almost bred out of us now, even though we’re headed right back into it with a vengeance and the survivors will not be the well read and genteel but the boor and the less-than-ladylike. For the atmosphere, films such as Brotherhood of the Wolf are suggestive, as well as Python’s Holy Grail. If you remember Blackmore’s Night, it was always amusing in Renaissance Faire:
… where the American Candice Night sang of lords and ladies drawing near and that’s what we focus on – those lifestyles – but truth is that she, as a trobairitz, would be in a minority of troubadours and their station in life anyway was one of patronage and eking out a living in between times. The male/female mix was interesting in that context. Wiki has:
Celtic or Chivalric-Matriarchal – The survival of pre-Christian sexual mores and warrior codes from matriarchal societies, be they Celtic, Germanic, or Pictish, among the aristocracy of Europe can account for the idea (fusion) of “courtly love”. The existence of pre-Christian matriarchy has usually been treated with scepticism as has the persistence of underlying paganism in high medieval Europe.
Scepticism or not, it explains a lot about the ruling class across Europe and the underlying savagery which is now beginning to come through in society today, top down. Thuggish police, roaming bands of chavs – these are from that other tradition to the sanctity of the human and civilized chivalry as the underpinnings protecting all – you know, the home is the castle, the bobby on the beat.
To live in those times again, sure there’d be the inn and good ale but there’d also be the call-up at any time to go and be slaughtered in one of the Laird’s endless wars and the types of rights we imagine we have, something dear to women in particular, would be simply non-existent.
And who would be the new enemy to be fought and slaughtered? Why the new-Moor – Captain Hook Abu Hamza and his merry band – the blood will flow ankle deep in the streets. Gates of Vienna? Gates of Leicester more like.
Our lords and masters have never left the old brutal antecedents – a glance at their societies tells you all you need to know – look at some of the penalties in the Old Scottish rite – and the new PC world dreamed of by the leftish middle-class? Just that – a dream of a dwindling bourgeoisie, by numbers.
Where does that leave us? Depends who us is. Working class – the same old peasantry. Professors – that one’s up in the air. Computer engineers? Either attached to the aristocratic houses or back with the peasantry, the great leveller. Go through the professions – accountants?
It’s worth thinking about at least and positioning ourselves for the new age. Capitalism? A useful tool for the bourgeoisie but hardly of use to the ruling class for much longer. It was a great leveller too, making lifestyles possible for those lower-middle to upper-middle – the veneer of civilization and gentility for the masses.
And now the ruling class plus the left-liberal wants to see all that swept away. That’s the real battle we have on our hands just now. This is a battle for the survival of the bourgeoisie, of which I’m an unashamed part.