1587 Jock = a Scotsman, or a horseman -- or "Jacky"?

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Feb 1 16:48:42 UTC 2010

>  5. a. spec. A professional rider in horse-races. (The chief current
> sense.)  From 1670-.
> Rather, I suspect that the _Famovs Victories_' "Iockey" is a
> "diminutive or familiar by-form" of John (Oldcastle) -- with some
> teasing in the use of a diminutive for Falstaff? -- as in:

Ah, that's it, Joel!  I couldn't for the life of me last night work out *why
"jockey"?  I only realised it was he-who-will-be-Falstaff by looking at the
lines before the character enters:

    Hen.5.  But firs, I maruell that sir Iohn Old-castle
       Come not away:  Sounds see where he comes.
                    _Enters Iockey_.
      How now _Iockey_, what newes with thee?

> ... 1594 SHAKES. Rich.
> III, V. iii. 304 Iockey [a1548 HALL Chron. Iack] of Norfolke, be not
> so bold, For Dickon thy maister is bought and sold.
> Otherwise, wouldn't we have an antedating of the OED's "jock[ey]" =
> horseman?

I hadn't known the Chronicle source for that couplet in _Richard III_ read
"Jack".  Wonder if Shakespeare changed it for the sake of the rhythm?

So "jockey" in this context is Little John.  A la Robin Hood and that.
"John" and "Jack" as names seem loose variants -- (Sir John) Falstaff is
frequently referred to by the then Prince Hal as Jack (Falstaff) in 1 Henry

Here's from the (sometimes) useful WIKI on the historical aspect of the
character in question:

        --  John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk ... He was known as "Jack (or
"Jock", hence "Jockey") of Norfolk  --



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