Cockfighting in London

This comes from the journal of a German physician, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599

The place is built like a theatre. In the centre on the floor stands a circular table covered with straw and with ledges round it, where the cocks are teased and incited to fly at one another, while those with wagers as to which cock will win, sit closest around the circular disk, but the spectators who are merely present on their entrance penny sit around higher up, watching with eager pleasure the fierce and angry fight between he cocks, as these wound each other to death with spurs and beaks. And the party whose cock surrenders or dies loses the wager; I am told that stakes on a cock often amount to many thousands of crowns, especially if they haver reared the cock themselves and brought their own along. [this entertainment usually lasts 4 or 5 hours] For the master who inhabits the house has many cocks besides, which he feeds in separate cages and keeps for this sport,m as he showed us. He also had several cocks, none of which he would sell for less than 20 crowns, they are very large but just the same kind as we have in our country. He also told us if one discovered that the cock’s beaks had been coated with garlic, one was fully entitled to kill then at once. He added too, that it was nothing to give them brandy before they began to fight, adding what wonderful pleasure there was in watching them.

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