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Cock Fighting in Knotting Church

Chancel gates March 2014
Chancel gates March 2014

At the back of one of the Knotting parish registers [P107/1/2] is pasted a printed note of 2nd June 1881 from the Calendars of State Papers, Domestic Series for 1634-1636 which reads: “Articles exhibited by William Walker, official commissary for the Archdeaconry of Bedford, against Anthony Bourne and Edmund Hewitt, Churchwardens of Knotting. It is objected against them that they were bound to prevent all manner of profanations of the Church of John; and further that they knew that upon Shrove Tuesday in the years 1634, 1635 and 1636 in the chancel of the said church in or about the sacred place where the communion table stands, there were fighting cocks brought thither and cock fightings there held and many persons assembled to behold the same and to bet and lay wagers thereon, and particularly that Bourne and Hewitt and a son of Bourne and Mr Alvey, Minister of Knotting, were present as actors and spectators and laughed and sported thereat and most profanely abused the said consecrated place”. The same text is printed in Bedfordshire Notes and Queries by Frederic Augustus Blaydes, published in 1886. Edmund Hewett was buried on 6th February 1657, his son predeceasing him, being buried on 5th February 1655. Anthony Bourne was buried on 11th September 1657.