Hi Mr Swayne, it's a real shame that your thread was locked, thats what happens whenever a post on Gamefowl degenerates into Childish bickering. I don't want any of this nonsense on my post
You were correct in some of the things you said about the little English match cock, but you were wrong about some of the other things you said.
Ok then lets discuss the little English match cock, that pre-dated the Carlisle/Oxford.
We best start at the begening, the oldest known chicken remains in the UK were found in Dorset & they date to about two thousand seven hundred years ago, when England was inhabited by Celtic tribes. The chicken bones were within the size of pure looking wild Jungle fowl. Chickens in the UK remained about this size right until about 500 years ago, when explorers brought back large Asiatic chickens (aka shake bags).
D.Swayne "History describes, in words and pictures the original birds fought in England. Even a cursory glance will tell you that those birds were very different from that described by modern show standards. Firstly, there is no resemblance between the little match cock and the Carlisle shown in England. Secondly, the oxford standard reflects the graded Asil bred and preferred by Herbert Atkinson, not the original fighting fowl of England, let alone the rest of the UK.
In effect the Strong beak, broad chest and short back of the standard describe a graded Asil (say 25%) rather than the original pure strains.
There were always variations between the strains, the real problem is that the standard works against the real thing."
The "variations between the strains" only realy started in the 1700s when they changed the way cocks were matched before the fight....
You see from the begening the little English match cock was matched by height as well as weight & while they continued to match by height & fight in light match weights, there was no advantage to be gained by crossing them with Orientals...
But after they abolished the matching by height rule in the 1700s, breeders started to cross Orientals into their Gamefowl, to see if they could gain an unfair height advantage over their oponents in the pit, under these new pit rules.... the birds that did not have Oriental crossed into them found themselves at a height disadvantage in the pit, so breeders felt the to cross varying degrees of Oriental blood into their birds, to gain height & heavy match weights followed & that is at least partly why "variations between the strains" came about. When you change the pit rules you change the breed for ever.
D.Swayne "Before short heels came into fashion, long heels and fast bouts were more common. The birds were lighter in weight, and didn't break the silver spurs. The type of battle fought did, however, change with the systematic infusion of oriental blood. The great shakebags of earlier generations fought in public houses were set to in naked heels. Later the endurance and power of grade asils demanded short steel heels.
Remembering that cocking was illegal, and that the few people that engaged were more likely to influence the sport and thus their own fowls. Rumor has it that Asil was infused, at least in part to equip the English birds to fight on the continent. (Later, both the first and second world wars had an impact upon flock numbers due to hardship etc).
In the US, the northern cockers preferred short heels while the southerners used long heels. Considering that Cocking was banned in the Northern states first, long heels preferred in the south dominated. So the argument goes: while cocking was banned in 1849 in England allowing it to change according to whim, fancy or the desire of a few cockers to shape their sport; the general characteristics of the breed were maintained in the US by their unchanged function."
Mr Swayne, there were two types of regulation short 11/4 gaffs .... there is slow 11/4 inch gaffs that were created & used in & around New York from about 1875 ? These slow gaffs had a thick blade & a blunt tip (slow heels), they would have been more suited for Oriental crossed type fowl. That was because those type of gaffs artificially prolonged the fight & the longer a fight lasts the more it suits the oriental crossed fowl....
But the other 11/4 inch regulation gaff has a thin blade & a sharp tip, these 11/4 inch gaffs are known as fast heels & were ideal for Bankiva type fowl....
By the way the original gaffs which were used in the UK were short gaffs & they had a thin blade & a sharp point (fast heels) they were ideal for the little English match cock. It was not until after 1750 that the long gaffs came into fashion, the Georgians were awful gamblers, this would explain why it was they that introduced the long gaff. The long gaffs use to hang (get stuck) in their oponents body & it was because of this, that pittings & handelers rules were introduced into the cockpit. Pittings & handlers also artificially prolonged the fights .... the longer a fight lasts the more it benefits the Asil/Oriental crosses, another thing that put the little English match cock at a disadvantage.
When the long gaffs hung, (got stuck) in their oponents body, it would often result in the hung bird braking his thighs & because of this the Georgian breeders started to selective breed birds with short upper legs.
Originally the little English match cock was fought in his own sharp natural spurs .... there was no pitting or handeling & the traditional time limit for thease Bankiva sharp natural spur fights was 20 minutes. Before the fight ... they were matched by height & weight.
The Original gaffs that were first used in the UK were short regulation gaffs, with a thin blade with a sharp point (fast heels). These gaffs were 1 inch or there about for narrow heeled cocks & a little longer if the cocks were wide heeled. These were the original gaffs used in the UK when they were switching from the natural spur. The preferred metal of choice for makeing gaffs was not Silver, it was Steel & originally gaffs were not called gaffs .... they were called Gantlets. In 1705 some of the little English match cocks were fought against each other in their own sharp natural spurs. By 1709 all Game fowl in England were fought including "shake bags" were fighting in the gaff (Gantlets)
You are most likley wondering how I know all this ? Latley I descovered lost cockfighting literature which it seems was unknown to all the old Gamefowl historians & wrighters. It is a real pity that the grate Game fowl wrighters & historians like Herbert Atkinson, John Harris, Finsterbusch, Dr H.P. Clarke, Harrison Weir, did not know of the existence of this ancient historical literature. I discovered it, when I was looking at the records of George Ryley Scott "History of Cockfighting" first published in 1957, when I seen a reference to this book, it was the only place that I had ever seen this book mentioned.
This book was written in 1705 & it is one of the most detailed peices of cockfighting literature ever written, it sheds new light on the history of cockfighting in the UK in the early 1700s which was previously unknown .... the oldest known written cockfighting rules from the UK are contained in this book, along with the metal spurs used, the fighting style & weights of some of the little English match cocks at that time.
I contacted all the right Gamefowl folk & historians to see if they had ever herd of this book & none of then had known of it's existence. I sent them extracts of this book which realy suprised them LOL.
Here is the name of the book .....
WILLIAM MACHRIE FENCING-MASTER IN EDINBURGH AN ESSAY UPON THE ROYAL RECREATION AND ART OF COCKING. Printed by James Watson in Craig's Clofs. Sold by Mr. Robert Freebairn in the Parliament-Clofs. 1705.TO THE NOBILITY and GENTRY OF SCOTLAND
If you want to find out a bit about this Man click on these links ....http://dirkdance.tripod.com/id1.htmlhttp://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/Articles/Machrie/http://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/A ... achrie.php
Best regards Irish Eddie