Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - For D.Swayne regarding "the little English match cock"

Backyard Poultry Forum

Chickens, waterfowl & all poultry - home of exhibition & backyard poultry in Australia & New Zealand
Login with a social network:
It is currently Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:22 pm

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:05 am 
Offline
Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:34 am
Posts: 296
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).

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.html

http://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/Articles/Machrie/

http://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/A ... achrie.php

Best regards Irish Eddie


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:21 am 
Offline
Sultry Swan
Sultry Swan
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 3740
Hi Irish Eddie,

Thanks for your history lesson, i appreciate the references also, no attacks or ridicule. I think you will find that these Aussie gamefowl blokes, are a bit like there fowls, head strong and always prepared to go down fighting, once they realise their not fowl, but people; their fowls,fraternity and hobby will be all the more better for it.

Thank you


Christian

_________________
Interested in Plymouth Rocks, Breeder of Light Barred Standard


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:50 am 
Offline
Golden Magpie
Golden Magpie
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:24 pm
Posts: 15874
Location: Far North Qld
very interesting research terrier-man. i admire somone who can go digging around for such information. i know the british museum is not the smartest on knowing what they have in their midst and will deny it until presented with a photo taken in their museum. there is a lot of books in that place that are behind glass and never looked at, donated from old estates, who knows what they may contain or is buried in some old library of some castle somewhere. these old papers are written on some hard wearing material and the climate of the united kingdoms, especially in some of their storage areas, can be ideal for preserving them. they lie forgotten for generations.

i would search my photos for an illustration but it is too much hassel at the moment as i have run out of room in my gallery.

_________________
if you want to waste some time looking at photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54516384@N02
or set my BYP gallery on 45 photos per page for loads of chook photos and more.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:50 pm 
Offline
Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:34 am
Posts: 296
You guys make good points for sure. I would also like to point out that when the UK cockers started switching from sharp natural spurs to gaffs just over 300 years ago. The type of gaff that those early cockers used, proved that they were incredibly intelligent, the gaffs that they used were 1 inch to 11/8 inches long, when you add the lenght of the hub to the 1 inch to 11/8 inch pentration of the blade .... it makes the whole gaff 13/8 to 11/2, thats blade & hub all included. This was all within the length of a cocks own natural spurs & so these gaffs were very easy for the little English match cock to use & they preserved the little English match cocks fighting characteristics of hitting mostly to the head & neck. Those early English cocks were just like the pure single comb Spanish Game in fighting style & physical appearence. Thats hardly surprising as the original English Game are belived to have come from Spain two thousand seven hundred years ago.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:18 am 
Offline
Fiesty Fowl
Fiesty Fowl

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:29 pm
Posts: 1031
Location: North Coast NSW
thats interesting that you have the original english coming from spain and not the other way around


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:29 am 
Offline
Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:34 am
Posts: 296
Pearl Eye wrote:
thats interesting that you have the original english coming from spain and not the other way around
The archaeology shows that Spain had the Gamefowl for a good while before England. It all fits into place too, you see the chicken spread from the East in Persia through trade .... it travelled West through the Mediterranean. Spain is closer to Persia then the UK is. Also the Phenicians that spread these birds to the Celtic Tribes .... had bases along the Spanish coast & it was from there that they would have voyaged to England.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:00 pm 
Offline
Fiesty Fowl
Fiesty Fowl

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:29 pm
Posts: 1031
Location: North Coast NSW
the way i had heard it told was the spainish called there birds english and had gained them from them making them my english than english. It sounds by the way your saying it that there more Persian than the english fowl. Am i right in my asumption? Terrierman could you give some info on spainish fowl, its not something that we have out here. Dont they have rumpless as well?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:23 pm 
Offline
Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:53 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Blue Mountains NSW
Terrier-man,
Thanks for the heads up. I certainly have not read the text you refer to and am happy to stand corrected on the evolution of gaffs. But my point was more about the weight of the little matchcock as preferred in the royal pits, where the weight limit prohibited heavy infusions of oriental blood. And yes, granted that the Ko Shamo and the like are very small, but are also heavier for their size than a very English or Spanish fowl.

In essence, the point that I was making was was more that the trend in the later nineteenth century and early twentieth century to infuse Asil into English lines not only affected their type but can be seen in the evolution of the accompanying standard of perfection.

I would like to think that we are on the same side of this argument and that the main point still stands.

Also, I believe that the oldest 'chicken' bone found in the Uk is between one and one and a half million years old. It is in a museum in Cambridge and was found in a bog along with the remains of other creatures including a giant moose and a rather enormous crocodile.

The fossil reflects the different climate and environment that the UK experienced when more 'tropical' before the plate tectonic shift moved the UK north. The bone, including the nub of a cock spur is slightly longer than the modern Gallus Gallus, as may reflect a bird between 3 and 3 1/4 pounds. I saw the fossil when on a research trip to the UK.

But I agree, that the oldest 'modern' chicken bone found in the UK that I am aware of matches your description.

Just changing the topic, a little, I had often wondered how long the original fowl in England may have survived, before any extinction and reintroduction into the UK.

Please everyone, keep up the posts, Its all very enlightening.

Regards
Doc Swayne


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:47 am 
Offline
Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:34 am
Posts: 296
[quote="Pearl Eye"]the way i had heard it told was the spainish called there birds english and had gained them from them making them my english than english. It sounds by the way your saying it that there more Persian than the english fowl. Am i right in my asumption? Terrierman could you give some info on spainish fowl, its not something that we have out here. Dont they have rumpless as well?[quote]Hi Pearl Eye, during the Pininsular War between France & Britain, 1808 to 1814, British Army & Navy Officers brought English cocks to Spain, around the coast of Cardiz & the Canary islands, I would say that it was mostly for their own sport betwen themselves, because even though the English Game back then were much lighter then they are now, many would still have been heavier then the Spanish Game & the English Game back then had been bred for the longer silver spurs for about 150 years, so they tended to hit to the body, whereas the Spanish Game were bred for sharp natural spurs/postizas & were mostly headhunters. Some of the English cocks, at that time would have been light enough to match into the Spanish Cocks & if some of these English cocks were headhunters, then they could have been matched. I think that back then some of the English cocks were still headhunters & here is why I belive this ....

Harrison Weir, in his book "Our Poultry 1902" quote "though small in bone, they have the true English Game stamp, and are belived generally to have decended from birds taken out by or sent to our officers during the Peninsular War, and also many have been exported from this country during the last sixty years. As the small size was preferred, some of our best match cocks, weighing but 3lb-4oz or 3-lb-5-ozs, found ready sale in Andalusia, and at prices highly favourable to "the seller." Both at Cardiz, Malaga, and Algeciras, i saw several that were unmistakably of the English type. they were seldom "cut out" for fighting, but their faces were decorated with emerald green ornaments or markings, a colour that is much admired in Spain; they are yellow or carp shanked, very few being white. they are fought mostly about carnival time,"

Mr Swayne, The 3-lb-4-oz "match cocks" that Harrison Weir describes, that were exported to Spain during His time, were likley to have been the the last of the ancient little English match cocks ?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:14 pm 
Offline
Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:53 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Blue Mountains NSW
Terrier-man,

Sorry for being absent for a while. This little match cock of ancient lineage, what breed was he? Was he the original english fighting cock? Are the later English game a generation bred from crossing this original breed?

I have seen Spanish fowl in England and Wales and enjoyed them very much, are they the stamp of the birds spoken of by Weir?

And what does all of this mean for the modern bird? should we forget the history and adopt the asil grade represented by Atkinson in the standard, or should we revive the original English breed?

Regards Doc Swayne


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:28 pm 
Offline
Fiesty Fowl
Fiesty Fowl

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:29 pm
Posts: 1031
Location: North Coast NSW
D.Swayne, if all this is to be believed wouldnt it just point to spainish game?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:52 am 
Offline
Champion Bird
Champion Bird

Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 10:11 am
Posts: 958
I'll pose a question to whom ever may wish to answer..... Dose it really matter ? By this I mean shouldn't we be concerned about what IS rather than what may have been ......

Terrier-man there is nothing to support your theory in regards to the introduction of the gaff 300 years ago , silver gaffs appeared about this time in history supposedly that is all ! Wouldn't you think there appearance may have been based on tried and tested working models ?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:09 pm 
Offline
Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:53 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Blue Mountains NSW
Pearl-Eye,
I am not suggesting that the original English and Spaniah bird are one and the same, nor do I think that the breed should have stayed exactly as is was. Personally, I have always liked the agile small fast birds, like the Spanish. They handle well and are very corky and are close to my ideal, however, I have handled modern Oxford style cocks that are equally corky, only bigger. I like the type more than the size alone.

My objection is to the difference between the asil infused birds and the original type. My problem is that most fanciers don't know the difference, and worse still think that Atkinson was a god, and that his artwork was infallible.

So, to answer your question, no I don't think we should just adopt the Spanish as our own, but should be aware of the history of these birds.

I also agree with the idea of getting on with it. In many ways it matters little what was or was not in history, but rather taking our strains and breeds forward. The complication is that the breed is called 'Old English Game' and has a history.

If only everyone knew enough about the history to stop putting grade orientals up as the original.

Regards
Doc Swayne


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:37 pm 
Offline
Fiesty Fowl
Fiesty Fowl

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:29 pm
Posts: 1031
Location: North Coast NSW
if the spainish bird isnt the original ( not including jungle fowl) english fowl you would think the common ancestor would by now,sadly, be lost. If the english changed they changed for purpose. If the standard descibes a grade asil, than thats what the producers of the standard prefered. If the english added asil im sure that was for a reason. I dont believe anyone is infalliable, but i dont believe all things atkinson should be dismissed either.Different time frame,different fowl throughout history.Cockers use what they have to achieve there goal.Every nation has developed there own type of game from what they had at hand.And to be honest im yet to see any judge put up anything that was accepted as the right decision by all those in the room. The thing is whether its atkinson,berman, marshall,you,me, andy j, pegawl, terrierman or anyone else all disputes and thought of type come from preference, and that is either going to fit with whats in our yard or what were trying to achieve in breeding. Reading of the standard or disputing it still gets answered in a way that suits those commenting,and that tends to be self serving. I like the english oxfords, Im not a fan of many of the american game or many of the fowls at shows, but i wouldn't, neither of those types are what im aiming at. I personally have seen a few birds at american and show breeders yards that i like and believe they are the type to aim at. But once again,that suits me and i dont believe ive ever seen a comment on this site by anyone on OEG that didnt suit them. No offence but any comment about what has occured in history or the modern versions of game,by any of us is far from pure


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:17 pm 
Offline
Champion Bird
Champion Bird

Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 10:11 am
Posts: 958
All working breeds are, regardless of their antiquity , models in perpetual change . By this I mean that as the method of usage changes , than so does the working model ,to adapt to its new direction . Evolution in progress brought about by competition !
I dont believe that to hold up birds from say that of the Atkinson era at the exclusion of all others is sensible and say this is the correct application of the standard . The Standard is not a type per se , but an interpretation which should be based on an understanding of the working model . One must know WHY a fowl should have certain physical attributes , not that it SHOULD have those physical attributes !


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chookyperth, WallanPoultry and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
©2004-2014 Backyardpoultry.com. Content rights reserved
freestone