The History of Leith

July 3, 2012

Royal Recreation and Art of Cocking

Mr. William Machrie,a teacher of fencing and cock-fighting in Edinburgh,
published an ” Essay on the Innocent and Royal
Recreation and Art of Cocking,” from which it
may be learned that he it was who introduced it
into the metropolis of Scotland, and entered into
it con amore.
” I am not ashamed to declare to the world,”
he wrote, ” that I have a special veneration and
esteem for those gentlemen, without and about this
city, who have entered in society for propagating
and establishing the royal recreation of cocking, in
order to which they have already erected a cockpit
in the Links of Leith; and I earnestly wish
that their generous and laudable example may be
imitated in that degree that, in cock-war, -village
may be engaged against village, city against city,
kingdom against kingdom—nay, father against son
—until all the wars in Europe, where so much
Christian blood is spilt, may be turned into the
innocent pastime of cocking.”
This barbarous amusement was long a fancy of
the Scottish people, and the slain birds and fugies
(or cravens) became a perquisite of the village
schoolmaster.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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