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Wilson, George (fl.1607) (DNB00)

WILSON, GEORGE (fl. 1607), writer on cock-fighting, was vicar of Wretton in Norfolk. In spite of his profession he took a keen interest in the pastime of cock-fighting, and in 1607 he wrote ‘The Commendation of Cockes and Cock-fighting. Wherein is shewed that Cocke-fighting was before the Comming of Christ … London. Printed for Henrie Tomes, and are to be sold at his Shop, ouer against Graies Inne Gate in Holburne, 1607,’ 4to. In this work, after descanting with some learning on the antiquity of the amusement, he launches into a eulogy of the manly qualities which it fostered, and concludes with some instances of prowess which he himself had witnessed, mentioning with especial commendation a gamecock named Tarlton after the famous comedian, because before combat it was accustomed to drum loudly with its wings. The tract was written partly with the object of reviving public interest in the sport. It was dedicated to Sir Henry Bedingfield, and was several times reprinted, reaching a third edition in 1631, and a tenth in 1655.

[Wilson's Commendation of Cockes; Collier's Bibliogr. Cat. ii. 529; Hazlitt's Handbook to the Literature of Great Britain; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Blackwood's Mag. 1827, xxii. 587.]

E. I. C.