"close by the cock-pit on St Andrew’s Hill"
A cock-fight in India
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA cock-fight in India - Credit: Thessaly La Force/wikimedia commons

 Cock-fighting is a betting sport in which two cocks (roosters) are put into a ring together and goaded to fight to the death. Cocks are naturally aggressive to other males of the species, and they were often bred for additional strength and stamina. Cock-fighting was a very popular form of entertainment in the Elizabethan period, and is still found in some parts of the world. The term cockpit came to be used for a place of frenzied excitement and entertainment. 

The cockpits found on planes and boats are thought to have a different derivation, stemming from the "coxswain's pit".