Et Cetera: Before the Cock Crows

More than just a weather vane



Robert Clark

Weathercocks have topped church steeples for centuries, and in this instance one tops Liz Carlin’s covered horse ring in Blythewood (read the feature on horse farms in Blythewood on page 48). Reportedly in the ninth century, Pope Nicholas I issued a decree that every church in Europe should have a cock (rooster) on its steeple. This decree was a reminder of Jesus’ prophecy found in Luke 22:34 that the disciple Peter would deny Him three times before the cock crowed. Historical evidence of this dates from 1070 in The Bayeux Tapestry, which shows a man installing a cock on Westminster Abbey. Another theory states that weathercocks on church steeples are emblems signifying a call to prayer. Whatever their history, they are an absolute blessing wherever the wind blows!

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