Ancient Monuments

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Two cockpits 125m west of Lymm Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Lymm, Warrington

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3793 / 53°22'45"N

Longitude: -2.4778 / 2°28'40"W

OS Eastings: 368312.379643

OS Northings: 387048.868365

OS Grid: SJ683870

Mapcode National: GBR CY4C.CB

Mapcode Global: WH98S.XB85

Entry Name: Two cockpits 125m west of Lymm Hall

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018340

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30377

County: Warrington

Civil Parish: Lymm

Built-Up Area: Lymm

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Lymm St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Chester

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Source: Historic England

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