The Town’s Cockpit in the early 18th century

Beginners' Guide to the History of Wrexham

In a former yard, behind the Lion Hotel and accessed from Chester Street, was the town’s cockpit. Cockfighting was probably the most important sport in the early 18th century. All classes gambled their money in this blood sport that only gave way as the bookies’ favourite in the late 18th century when the upper classes and the county set discovered horse-racing.

Attitudes changed again in the early 19th century as thinkers debated moral behaviour. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in 1824 and the 1835 Cruelty to Animals Act forbade the keeping of premises for the baiting or fighting of animals and birds. Baiting had traditionally happened outside the Wynnstay Arms but all these sports ceased. The cockpit became a cooper’s workshop until in 1884 when it was demolished and replaced by a chapel school room.

Picture: 100 guineas prize money would be worth around £9,000 today
Picture: The old cockpit serving as a cooper’s workshop

Images courtesy of Wrexham Archives.

Source: Wrexham Museums.

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