Cockpit in Lowther Street

This cockpit, one of only two in the city, intended to be used for cockfighting was built around 1785 at the expense of the Duke of Norfolk and Sir James Lowther.

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In 1793 a newspaper editor considered it “an entertainment so contemptible in itself as only to be noticed as a wonder that it should have any admirers at this period.” While cockfighting was not abolished until 1835, the Carlisle Journal reported in 1830 that “most civilised persons were against it after 20 years cessation.”

The cockpit was advertised for sale in June 1808, “as the city walls are about to be taken down.”

In 1824 Thomas Burgess used the building as an Iron and Brass foundry. Bells were cast for Sebergham Church in 1826, for Hayton Church in 1830, Stapleton Church and a bell for Wetheral Church in 1833.

Mary Slee drew the cockpit based on an 1873 oil painting by Henry J St Clair, a teacher at the Grammar School. It was then in use as a smithy before demolition in 1876.

David Ramshaw
Author: David Ramshaw

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