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Tudor Sports

 

Back to Tudor Entertainment

All kinds of sports were very popular in the Sixteenth Century.

Jousting
Jousting was popular. Only the nobility (upper classes) were allowed to take part in jousting tournaments.

Jousting involved two armoured knights separated by a four-foot-high wooden barrier. Each knight carried a lance and the objective was to knock your opponent off his horse as he galloped past.

Tennis
Tennis is one of the oldest of all racquet sports.
During the Tudor times it was played indoors in a large room with a net.Like tennis today, players had to hit the ball over the net. However, in the Tudor times they could also score points by hitting the ball into one of three goals high in the walls. The ball could also be bounced off the walls.

Tudor tennis rackets were made of wood and strung with sheep gut. The leather tennis balls were filled with hair.

Football
Football was played differently than it is today. There were no set numbers of team players, so as many people who wanted to joined in the game. The goal posts were placed about a mile apart and the players could kick, throw or pick up the ball in an attempt to put it between the opponent's goalposts.

A similar football game is played every year on Shrove Tuesday at Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the world’s oldest, largest, longest and maddest football game. The game is played over two days and involves thousands of players. The goals are three miles apart and there are only a few rules. The ball is a hand-painted, cork-filled ball. It is thought that this game has been played for a 1,000 years.

Hunting
Only the rich were allowed to hunt deer. Yeoman farmers could hunt foxes but the poor were only allowed to hunt hares and rabbit.

Bear-baiting
Individual bears were chained to a post in a bear-ring. A group of dogs were then set on the bear. The dogs tried to kill the bear by biting its throat.

Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth enjoyed watching bear-baiting. A ring was even built in the grounds of Whitehall so that the Tudor monarchs could watch bear-baiting from the windows of the palace.

Cock- fighting

Some sports were banned!
A law was passed in 1512 that banned ordinary people from a whole range of games including tennis, dice, cards, bowls and skittles. This was because the government wanted people to work more and play less.

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Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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