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Sports and Pastimes of the People of England

By Strutt, Joseph

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Book Id: WPLBN0003467241
Format Type: PDF eBook :
File Size:
Reproduction Date: 2014

Title: Sports and Pastimes of the People of England  
Author: Strutt, Joseph
Language: English
Subject: Sacred Texts, England, Folklore
Collections: Sacred Texts
Publication Date:
Publisher: London, Methuen & Co.


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Joseph, S. (1903). Sports and Pastimes of the People of England. Retrieved from

Description: This book is a key source for information on leisure time activities in 'Olde England,' including sports, hunting, games, dancing, gymnastics, music, festivals including Christmas and May Day and customs such as Mumming, The Boy Bishop, and The Lord of Misrule. It answers questions such as How do you score a joust?, (p. 125) When did feral wolves become extinct in Britain?, (p. 12) and How much do you pay the piper? (p. 164) And what is Shakespeare talking about when he mentions Shove-Groat (p. 242) or Nine Men's Morris (p. 256)? (The modern equivalents are shuffleboard and tic-tac-toe). Included are numerous quotes from original documents and dozens of plates based on period illustrations. Strutt documents the constant conflict between popular culture and the religious and secular powers. The 'culture war' has been going on long before modern attempts to censor videos, computer games and comic books. In 1579, under Queen Elizabeth, a Puritan writer (John Northbrooke) branded playing cards an invention of the devill (p. 261), and complained (p. 138) Many can tary at a vayne Playe for two or three hours, when as they will not abide scarce one houre at a Sermon. There was a class element to this as well, with an open double standard. In 1541, a statute forbade the lower classes from bowling and other games except under certain closely supervised circumstances; however, nobles could obtain a license to bowl on their own land (p. 217). Likewise, football (p. 96) and tennis (p. 85) were at times forbidden to everyone--except the upper class.


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