Two cockpits 125m west of Lymm Hall

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018340

Date first listed: 16-Nov-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two cockpits 125m west of Lymm Hall
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Warrington (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lymm

National Grid Reference: SJ 68312 87049

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Cockpits are the arenas in which cockfighting took place. The sport was a popular pastime at all levels of society during the 17th and 18th centuries, and examples of cockpits have been recorded from the 12th century until the sport was declared illegal in 1849. Betting on the outcome of a contest provided the impetus to construct specialised buildings for the sport, usually in the cellars or gardens of public houses, or in the gardens of the local aristocracy. After the activity was banned, major cockpits appeared in remote locations away from the eyes of the law. The arena takes the form of a circular hollow, or a raised bank of raked seating or standing room, usually about 30m in diameter, with a sunken floor and a table in the centre. The arena was often temporary, but permanent examples survive with the raised banks, and even the tables in the cases where these were made of stone. As garden features they continued in use as convenient picnic areas. Raised on these banks there was often a wooden or stone-built circular tower within which there were galleries for the spectators. These were roofed against the weather. Cockpits were originally common features both in towns and in the countryside. Relatively few were built of enduring materials, however, and the few well-preserved examples that survive intact are likely to be nationally important.

The paired cockpits at Lymm Hall are well preserved earthwork examples of this once common type of monument. Since the demise of the sport as a public exhibition, there are few examples of the actual arenas left. The cockpits are now part of the garden of a private house and this has contributed to their preservation. Details of their design and function are clear from these remains and one of the actual tabletops survives in the adjacent grounds.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the remains of two embanked enclosures which were constructed as cockfighting pits. The date of their construction is possibly contemporary with the building of the present hall, which dates to the 17th century. The site consists of two interconnected arenas. The western arena floor is 8m across surrounded by a bank 8m wide at the base constructed of sandstone rubble and earth, standing up to 1.75m high. It is entered by a gap on the western side 1.5m wide, and on its eastern side another gap 1m wide leads to the second floor. This floor is 6m across with a surrounding bank 6m wide at the base and attached to the first bank, forming a figure `8' plan for the whole. In the centre of each arena floor is a dressed stone pedestal which stood 0.6m high and supported a stone table on which the birds were matched for sport.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30377

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing