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Bygone Stanley - Lee Moor


This part of Stanley was well-known in the past for its Cock Fighting. An 1850 map of Stanley shows two places described as 'Cockpit Houses'. It was in these houses that the sport of Cock Fighting took place in specially prepared pits, almost like a miniature boxing ring. The cock had no way of retreat. They were specially bred and trained, most from the bantam strain which the cock is, by nature, a very pugnacious bird. The cocks were fitted with steel spurs on their legs and they fought each other until one was completely vanquished. The spectators and owners gambled on the result. This sport, of course, is now illegal.

Pigeon Racing was another sport very popular with the miners Some pigeons were raced long distances up to 500 miles, but in the early part of the 20th century racing pigeons over short distances was very popular. It was known as 'miler' racing - the popular distance being approx. 1,760 yards in a direct line to the loft where the pigeon had its home. The pigeon fancier would spend many enjoyable hours of his leisure time racing and training his pigeons.

During this period there was a disused quarry and in this area a wooden hut was built and named 'The Tabernacle'. The local miners used this hut as a 'Community Centre' - having a chat together and sharing a newspaper. There were many who had difficulty in reading and they welcomed those who could.

1703 to 1791 was the lifespan of the Anglican priest John Wesley. His preaching must have had some impact on the people living in the Lee Moor area of Stanlev because a Wesleyan Methodist Society was formed in the latter part of the 18th century, and in 1801 the residents of Lee Moor built a chapel on the site of a cockpit. The building of this chapel from local quarried stone was looked upon as the devil being defeated by God. John Wesley did much of his travelling to preach on horseback. It is recorded that he covered 8,000 miles in one year on horseback and on one or more occasion he preached from a pulpit in West Parade Chapel in Wakefield and this pulpit was transferred to the Lee Moor Chapel. Many preachers in this period travelled by horse, so much so that Lee Moor Chapel had attached to it a stable for the benefit of visiting preacher's horses.

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This page (moor.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013