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The Renwick Cockatrice

In 1733 a cockatrice terrorized Renwick when the church was being demolished. The beast was slayen by John Tallantire with a rowan branch. The creature was described as resembling a bat. Apparently the cockatrice was again reported as having been seen in 1959. The classic appearance of a cockatrice is considered to be that of a large rooster with a lizards tail and it is supposed to have the power to turn someone to stone at a glance. Maybe John just did fight a big bat with his stick.


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Andy Paciorek
Ian Topham
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Carl Sowerby
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the big stick

I like this little tale - especially the ending "Maybe John just did fight a big bat with his stick."

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Renwick Cockatrice

I haven't even been able to find a proper date for the Renwick Cockatrice or more correctly crack-a-christ). Some source say 1733, others 1620. Given the vast number of basilisk cases all over Europe in the first half of the XVII century (Rome, Prague, Vienna etc) I favor the earlier date.
A very interesting part of the story is the fact that the Tallantire family was given exemption from tithes following this feat. If I remember correctly since 1530, after the Abolition of Monasteries, tithes had to be paid directly to the Crown. If the Tallantires obtained their exemption after this date there should be some trace of the feat. Unless, of course, it went conveniently lost during the Civil War...
A popular line, though, gives the date as "during James I reign" (1603-1625), which will of course confirm the earlier date.

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Re: The Renwick Cockatrice

I'm with Mauro - the story's got to be of an earlier date than the one usually cited. The Church of England, oddly enough, states that the event took place in 1610, but I don't know if they have reason to be sure about that.

And as you say, it's got to pre-date the Civil War because of the Tallentire tithes.



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