Hand-ball an ancient Game--Used by the Saxons--And by the Schoolboys of London--Ball Play in France--Hand Tennis or Fives--Fives in Church and Churchyard--Tennis--Tennis Courts erected--Tennis fashionable in England--Killed by a Tennis Ball--London Tennis Courts in 1615--Origin of Tennis Courts--Tennis in Monasteries--Rackets--Lawn Tennis--Balloon-ball--Hurling--Hockey--Camp-ball--Football--Golf--Cricket--Cricket on Horseback--Trap-ball and Knur and Spell.
HAND-BALL.--The ball has given origin to many popular pastimes, and I have appropriated this chapter to such of them as are or have been usually practised in the fields and other open places. The most ancient amusement of this kind, is distinguished with us by the name of hand-ball, and is, if Homer may be accredited, coeval at least with the destruction of Troy. Herodotus attributes the invention of the ball to the Lydians; succeeding writers have affirmed, that a female of distinction named Anagalla, a native of Corcyra, was the first who made a ball for the purpose of pastime, which she presented to Nausica, the daughter of Alcinous, king of Phœacia, and at the same time taught her how to use it; this piece of history is partly derived from Homer, who introduces the princess of Corcyra with her maidens, amusing themselves at hand-ball:
Homer has restricted this pastime to the young maidens of Corcyra, at least he has not mentioned its being practised by the men; in times posterior to the poet, the game of hand-ball was indiscriminately played by both sexes.
ANGLO-SAXON BALL PLAY.--It is altogether uncertain at what period the ball was brought into England: the author of a manuscript in Trinity College, Oxford, written in the fourteenth century, and containing the life of Saint Cuthbert, 1 says of him, that when he was young, "he pleyde atte balle with the children that his fellowes were." On what authority this information is established I cannot tell. The venerable Bede, who also wrote the life of that saint, makes no mention of ball play, but tells us he excelled in jumping, running, wrestling, and such exercises as required great muscular exertion, and among them, indeed, it is highly probable that of the ball might be included.
LONDON BALL PLAY.--Fitzstephen, who wrote in the thirteenth century, speaking of the London school-boys, says, "Annually upon Shrove Tuesday, they go into the fields immediately after dinner, and play at the celebrated
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Games with the Ball (1)
game of ball: 1 every party of boys carrying their own ball"; for it does not appear that those belonging to one school contended with those of another, but that the youth of each school diverted themselves apart. Some difficulty has been stated by those who have translated this passage, respecting the nature of the game at ball here mentioned. Stow, considering it as a kind of goff or bandy-ball, has, without the least sanction from the Latin, added the word bastion, 2 meaning a bat or cudgel; others again have taken it for foot-ball, 3 which pastime, though probably known at the time, does not seem to be a very proper one for children: and indeed, as there is not any just authority to support an argument on either side, I see no reason why it should not be rendered hand-ball. 4
BALL PLAY IN FRANCE,--The game of hand-ball is called by the French palm play, 5 because, says St Foix, a modern author, originally "this exercise consisted in receiving the ball and driving it back again with the palm of the hand. In former times they played with the naked hand, then with a glove, which in some instances was lined; afterwards they bound cords and tendons round their hands to make the ball rebound more forcibly, and hence the racket derived its origin." 6 During the reign of Charles V. palm play, which may properly enough be denominated hand-tennis, was exceedingly fashionable in France, being played by the nobility for large sums of money; and when they had lost all that they had about them, they would sometimes pledge a part of their wearing apparel rather than give up the pursuit of the game. The duke of Burgundy, according to an old historian, 7 having lost sixty franks at palm play with the duke of Bourbon, Messire William de Lyon, and Messire Guy de la Trimouille, and not having money enough to pay them, gave his girdle as a pledge for the remainder; and shortly afterwards he left the same girdle with the comte D’Eu for eighty franks, which he also lost at tennis.
HAND-TENNIS OR FIVES.--At the top of plate eight is the reproduction of a supposed game at ball-play between a man and woman from an illuminated Hours of the fourteenth century; but on referring to the original 8 it is doubtful whether this is any game at all; the figures are on opposite pages, and the ball appears to be an accidental blemish on the vellum! Another picture, however, on the same plate, is of much interest. It is at the foot of a fourteenth-century copy of the romance called Histoire de Lancelot, ou S. Graal. 9 To the left is a player about to strike the ball with his right hand, whilst behind him stands another player apparently suggesting how he should make his stroke. To the right, on the opposite page, separated by an upright ornament--of which the
designer apparently took advantage to indicate an intervening line--stand two more players, with open hands or palms uplifted ready to receive and return the ball.
* In a fifteenth-century beautifully illuminated copy of Valerius Maximus there is a picture of a game of hand-tennis or fives; each of the two players wears a white glove on the right hand. 1 This is reproduced in the centre of plate nine.
* Hand-tennis still continues to be played, though under a different name, and probably a different modification of the game; it is now called fives, which denomination perhaps it might receive from having five competitors on each side, as the succeeding passage seems to indicate. In 1591, when queen Elizabeth was entertained at Elvetham in Hampshire, by the earl of Hertford, "after dinner, about three o'clock, ten of his lordship's servants, all Somersetshire men, in a square greene court before her majesties windowe, did hang up lines, squaring out the forme of a tennis-court, and making a cross line in the middle; in this square they (being stript out of their dublets) played five to five with hand-ball at bord and cord as they tearme it, to the great liking of her highness." 2
* Edicts against ball-playing in St Paul's of the time of Elizabeth are often cited, but the desecration of the great church by such games is of far older date. In 1385 Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, denounced the custom both within and without his cathedral church:--Necnon ad pilam infra et extra ecclesiam ludunt. 3
* The custom of playing fives in churchyards continued in many a country district until quite recent years, notably in Somersetshire and Staffordshire. Ball-playing in such a place no doubt prevailed because the church tower often afforded so suitable a wall for fives. It was usually practised on the north side, because there were generally no graves on that side, and the sport created less scandal. A painted line for the game still remains on some of our church towers, but a string-course of suitable elevation more usually sufficed. Fives used to be played at Eton between the buttresses on the north wall of the college chapel, and the "pepper box" peculiar to Eton fives courts had its origin in a natural angle in one of these buttresses. Notices against ball play on church walls may be seen in various parts of Italy. In the Basque district, on both sides of the Pyrenees, church walls are still openly used for the Jett de paume.
* TENNIS.--Tennis, though essentially a French game in its origin, soon became domesticated in England. Here as on the Continent it was originally played in unenclosed spaces, but its great popularity caused it to be adopted as a good means of recreation and exercise in towns. Hence came about the use of spaces surrounded by walls, and the introduction of rackets made boundaries desirable. Eventually this led to special buildings for the purpose and roofed-in tennis courts.
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Games with the Ball (2)
* As to the origin of the name, though the best authorities consider the term to be of French extraction, there is still much dispute. The suggestion, origin-ally made in 1617, that the word comes from tenez, a term used by the player as a warning to receive the ball, tenez le jeu, is still accepted by some. Others consider that the passage just quoted as to the game played before queen Elizabeth, when the players were five to five in hand-ball, is the origin not only of the name Fives, but that the aggregate number of ten may well have given its name to Tenes, Tennes, Teneis, Tenice, Tennice, Tenys, Tynes, Tenyse, Tenice, Tennies, or Tennis, for the game is found spelt in all these varieties. 1
* In 1365 the earliest restrictive Act prohibiting various sports in favour of archery was passed; the first game named is that of hand-ball. This was renewed in 1388, when it took the form of sumptuary or class legislation, laying down that servants and labourers were to find their only pastime in bows and arrows, and prohibiting their playing tennis, foot-ball, etc. In 1410 this latter statute was re-enacted and confirmed, delinquents on conviction being liable to imprisonment for six days.
* The antiquity of the racket in this country is shown by a passage in Chaucer's Troylus and Cryseyde (circa 1380), where Troylus says:
[paragraph continues] This evidently alludes to the hitting of a ball with a racket backwards and forwards, and to the curing of a nettle-sting by a dock leaf, in protest to the kind of inconstancy suggested to Troylus by Pandarus. Much the same words are also used in the first book of Chaucer's Testament of Love.
* Probably the first English mention of the word tennis occurs in Gower's ballad to Henry IV. (circa 1400):--
* In the beginning of the reign of Henry V. occurred a remarkable incident in connection with the royal game of tennis, immortalised by Shakespeare. Holinshed, who was the dramatist's favourite chronicler, relates that:
"Whilest in the Lente season the Kyng laye at Kenilworth, there came to him from Charles, Dolphin of Fraunce, the Frenche King's eldest sonne, certayne Ambassadours, that broughte with them a barrell of Paris balles, which they presented to hym for a token from their maister, whiche presente was taken in verie ill parte, as sent in scorne, to signifie that it was more mete for the King to passe the tyme with suche childish exercise, than to attempte anye worthy exployte: wherefore the Kyng wrote to hym, that ere ought long, hee woulde sende to hym some London balles, that should breake and batter downe the roofes of his houses about hys eares."
* Caxton, in the continuation of Higden's Polycronicon (1482), calls these pilas Parisianes "tenyse balles," as the name by which Englishmen would most readily recognise them. Hall, in his Chronicle (1545) describes them as "a tunne of tennis balles."
* The passage in Shakespeare's Henry V. (Act i. sc. 2) is that in which the French ambassador brings the young king "a tun of treasure" from the Dauphin, and Henry asks:
* In Drayton's poem The Ballade of Agincourt, the king's answer is thus given:
This passage is cited by Mr Marshall as offering one of the first examples of the double sense of racket meaning hubbub, as well as a tennis bat, and also as showing the early use of the word bandy in the game.
* About the same period a rude sort of tennis, in spite of statutory prohibition, was practised out of doors by the working classes. In 1447, the bishop, and dean and chapter of Exeter complained to the mayor that ungodly young people of the commonalty were in the habit, during divine service, of playing at unlawful games in the cloister, such "as the toppe, penny prykke, and most atte tenys," by which the walls were defiled and the glass windows broke. 1 In some towns, such as Lydd, Kent, the laws against games were sought to be enforced. In 1456-8, 1462-3, and 1477-8, proclamations were made in that town forbidding tennis and dice-playing, and exhorting the youth to turn to bow and arrows and other manlier recreations. 2
* Towards the end of the reign of Henry VI. begin a number of curious entries in the accounts of the Ironmongers' Company relative to tennis balls. The earliest of these is of the year 1459
"ix daie of March Anno xxxvij (Hen. VI.)--And at the tyme of the accompt ther was delyvèd to the seid wardeyns for ballis lixs. ijd."
An entry temp. Edward IV. records the receipt of, £4 for "teneis balles" from Robert Tooke. The trade was vigorous, for in another year of the same
reign the wardens sold 47 gross of tennis balls to Thomas Tooke at god. the gross. The entries as to the sale of these balls continue up to 1535. Their sale by this company led to the singular supposition that the balls were made of iron; 1 but Mr Marshall has shown that there are strong probabilities that the Ironmongers' Company owned a tennis court in Fenchurch Street, for which they made balls so well that they were in demand with players in other courts.
* KILLED BY A TENNIS BALL.--The foolish suggestion that tennis balls used to be made of iron has been used by some to account for the death of the youthful son of John Stanley in the fifteenth century. But an ordinary tennis ball striking a child, when in full play, on the temple might readily have a fatal result. In the beautiful village church of Elford, five miles from Lichfield, is a small monumental effigy, indicating by its attitude, after a pathetic fashion, the cause of death. The boy, who has curly hair and is clad in a long tunic reaching to his ankles, holds in his left hand a ball, whilst the right hand is raised to the head, the fingers evidently pointing to the seat of injury behind the right ear. On the monument is inscribed--Ubi dolor, ibi digitus. The date of this memorial is about the year 1460. It is said to represent the grandson and heir of Sir John Stanley, first cousin of Thomas, first Lord Stanley, who died in 1474, and whose fine alabaster effigy is close to that of the lad slain by a tennis ball. 2 This effigy is shown on plate nine.
* TENNIS FASHIONABLE IN ENGLAND.--The journals of the Proceedings of the Court of Common Council of the City of London show that the injunctions against games (headed by tennis) played by labourers, servants, or apprentices, were enforced by severe penalties during the reign of Edward IV., at the very time when nobles, gentlefolk, and the wealthier burgesses were free to use the tennis courts, and when one of the most prominent of the city companies was largely adding to its revenue by the manufacture and sale of tennis balls!
* The game was also forbidden to the common folk by legislation of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., though both those monarchs were fond of tennis, and lost both balls and money at the pastime, as their accounts show. They played in courts at Woodstock, Wycombe, Sheen, Greenwich, Richmond, Blackfriars, and Whitehall or Westminster. There was also a court at Windsor in the time of Henry VII. It was standing in 1607, though roofless, and is shown in John Norden's MS. account of Windsor Castle, as lying within the walls, on the eastern side, just below the keep. 3 A later drawing of Hollar, among the Ashmolean MSS., shows that the Windsor tennis court was still standing in 1672.
It was in this court, probably at that time roofed, as it is called a room, that on January 31st, 1516, the king of Castile played tennis with the marquis of Dorset, Henry VII. looking on. This match is noteworthy as showing that
the hand was still in use by English players. The king of Castile used a racket, and as the marquis played with the bare hand, he gave him fifteen. 1
Mr Marshall gives numerous interesting references and extracts relative to Henry VIII.'s devotion to the royal game. 2
* Pages might readily be filled as to the popularity and general use of tennis by the noblemen and gentlefolk of the reign of Elizabeth. It must suffice to give one anecdote that yields a vivid picture of court manners even in the presence of the virgin queen. In a letter from Thomas Randolphe to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, dated March 31st, 1565, at Edinburgh, occurs the following passage: "I have it from this nobleman's mouthe that latlye the Duke [of Norfolk] and my L. of L[eicester] were playinge at tennes, the Q. beholdinge of them, and my L. Rob. being verie hotte and swetinge, tooke the Q. napken owte of her hande and wyped his face, wch the Duke seinge saide that he was to sawcie and swhore yt he wolde laye his racket upon his face. Hereupon rose a great troble and the Q. offendid sore wth the Duke. Thys tale is tolde by the Earle Atholl the same daye that Fowler came to thys towne wt hys Mties license." 3
* The privilege of keeping tennis courts in Elizabeth's reign was eagerly sought, and in 1597 one Thomas Bedingfield applied for an exclusive license to keep houses in London and Westminster for tennis, bowling, cards, dice, and backgammon. The application, which was apparently granted, represented that the number of such houses was very great, but that they were often kept by disorderly persons, so that the honest sort would not resort thither; and further that it would not only be well to restrict the number, but to prohibit any play on the forenoon of any Sabbath day and during evening and morning prayers on holy days, to forbid all swearing and blasphemy, and to suffer none to play save noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants, or such as shall be entered in the Book of Subsidies at £10 in land or goods." 4
* The demanding a money qualification from the tennis player is to some extent paralleled by the dress test of the keeper of the court alluded to by Prince Henry in his speech to Poins:--
"What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name! or to know thy name to-morrow! or to take note how many pair of silk stockings thou hast, viz. these, and those that were the peach-colour’d ones! or to bear the inventory of thy shirts, as, one for superfluity, and one other for use! But that the tennis-court keeper knows better than I; for it is a low ebb of linen with thee when thou keepest not racket there." 5
* The tennis ball of this period was stuffed with hair, to which the dramatists of Elizabethan and Stuart days make many satirical allusions. Thus in The Gentle Craft, of 1600, occurs the phrase--"He'll shave it off, and stuffe tenice balls with it."
* James I. commended tennis, with certain other games, to be used in moderation, and not as a craft, to his son Henry. 1 The young prince became a great adept at tennis by assiduous practice in the Whitehall court, and there are records of various quarrels in which he took part when engaged in this game.
* Gervase Markham, in 1615, describes tennis as "a pastime in close or open courts, striking little round balls to or fro, either with the palm of the hand or with racket." 2
* Charles I., when duke of York, began to play tennis; the sum of 420 was paid to John Webb, "Master of His Majesty's Tennis plays," for his attendance in teaching the young duke to play tennis, and providing him with balls and rackets for the year ending Michaelmas, 1610. 3
* A list of the London tennis courts, in 1615, in a book kept by the clerk of the works at Petworth, and cited by Mr Marshall, shows that there were then fourteen courts in the metropolis, whose dimensions are given, in addition to one at St James'. Whitehall had two, one covered and one uncovered; the rest were all roofed. The largest was at Essex House, which was 84 ft. long by 22 ft. broad, and 21 ft. high; the smallest was "Fowles chaine tennis courte," which was 55 ft. long by 16 ft. broad, and 17 ft. high.
* The game was fashionable both at Oxford and Cambridge in the seventeenth century.
* In a rare book, published in 1641, entitled The True Effigies of our Most Illustrious Sovereigne Lord King Charles, Queene Mary, with the rest of the Royal Progenie, a most interesting portrait of the Duke of York (James II.) is given on p. 7. The young prince is represented holding a short-handled racket in his right hand, in a tennis court with a gallery full of spectators; it is evidently intended for the uncovered court of Whitehall. A reproduction of this portrait is given on plate nine.
* In July 1649 a warrant was issued by the Council of State to John Hooke, keeper of the St. James' tennis court, to deliver up the key to Colonel Pride to enable him therein to quarter his soldiers. 4
* Charles Hoole, in 1659, translated, from the High Dutch and Latin, J. A. Komensky's Orbis Sensualium Pictus. Plate cxxxiii. gives a rude representation of a smaller tennis court, termed "Ludus Pilæ or Tennis Play." The remarks of the brief letterpress refer to the like numbers on the plate. Numbers 4 and 5 refer to the game of wind-ball played outside. "In a Tennis-Court 1 they play with a ball 2 which one throweth and another taketh and sendith it back with a Racket 3; and that is the sport of Noblemen to stir their body."
* After the Restoration, Charles II. frequently used the court at Hampton Court, and had a new one built at Whitehall. Pepys states that the new court was built so badly that it fell down in June 1663. The great diarist has several
other allusions to play in this court when re-erected. In December 1663 he watched the king and Sir Arthur Slingsby play against Lord Suffolk and Lord Chesterfield, and admired the royal play; but in the following month, when watching the royal game, he remarks: "To see how the King's play was extolled, without any cause at all, was a loathsome sight, though sometimes indeed he did play very well, and deserved to be commended; but such open flattery is beastly."
* A curious book of fiction appeared in 1701, written by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, styled Mémoires de M. it Marquis de Montbrun, most of the scene of which is laid in England. This French adventurer is described as visiting England to replenish his purse, when he took with him one of the best tennis-markers of Paris disguised as his valet. By concealing at first his own skill and introducing the marker as his partner, and no more skilled than himself, Montbrun succeeded in winning a vast sum from his chief antagonist, the "Comte do Nortampton." The novel has a good many illustrations, and plate 20 represents the marquis and his valet playing a deliberately clumsy game in a London tennis court, to delude Nortampton, who is concealed behind a thick wire-netting on the left and disguised in female attire, though recognised by the accomplices. Mr Marshall, in reproducing this plate, says that "the court is evidently one of the kind called Quarré and uncovered. The mode of erecting nets above the walls on every side to prevent balls from flying over is clearly shown. The cord (as usual then) has no net attached to it, but only a sort of fringe. The marker stands at a door, nearly in the middle of the length of the court; but including that door, there are only three gallery-divisions on that side of the line, while there are four on the other side. Running along the end-wall, on the service side, is a very peculiarly built thickening of the wall, seeming to be a sort of horizontal, but flat-topped tambour, and containing a petit trou in the fore-hand corner." 1
* ORIGIN OF TENNIS COURTS.--It has been more than once suggested that the origin of the tennis court is to be found in the cloister court or garth. The cloister roofs were supposed to be the first pent-houses; a buttress the origin of the tambour; and the grille a development of the opening through which strangers spoke to the inmates. We do not at all believe this; those who advance the theory apparently forget that domestic houses and other buildings, besides those of monastic foundations, of the, period when tennis courts were developing, were usually built round an open quadrangular space which had usually cloisters or alleys to give access to the various rooms. It is quite possible, nay probable, to suppose that some of the eccentricities of the tennis-court arrangement arose from their being copied from some secular courtyard where the game had previously been played--in the same way as an Eton fives-court imitates a chapel buttress. Although it is not in the least likely that its construction was imitated from a conventual cloister, some of those who object to the theory go quite astray in their strenuous objections. Mr
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Duke of York at Tennis
[paragraph continues] Marshall, when gainsaying it, writes:--"No one possessed of the smallest knowledge of monastic institutions will for a moment believe the statement. That a game should be played, openly, within the walls or cloisters of an abbey or monastery, would be entirely opposed to every rule of such a fraternity. . . . It would show a ludicrous ignorance of monastic institutions to place the smallest confidence in this alleged origin of the game." 1
* TENNIS IN MONASTERIES.--NOW it so happens that clear proof can be given of the not infrequent playing of this very game in the cloister court of the religious houses of at all events one order. In the original twelfth-century statutes of the Premonstratensian or White Canons, who had so many important houses in England, it was laid down that twice a week the brethren might find recreation in some honest exercise. 2 The time for this varied, but was usually after Nones (three o'clock service) and ceased with the first bell for Vespers. In course of time this somewhat vaguely worded order got so abused in the houses that were laxly conducted, that the General Chapter of 1559 interfered. It was stated that it had come to their knowledge that the very cloisters and their roofs were used for hand tennis (ludo palmario), and all exercises in such sacred places (for one wall of the cloister court was always formed by the nave wall of the conventual church) or in the cemeteries were strictly prohibited. The important General Chapter of 1639, in their revision and interpretation of the statutes, laid down, in comment on the recreation rule, the wise principle that man, however religiously he lived, was still man, and that therefore it was not prudent to deny him honest and moderate relaxation, which might prove of service to his soul as well as his body. They adopted, however, this precautionary measure, namely, that in houses where ball-play (lusus pili) was allowed, it was only to be permitted in some secluded place to which no secular person could gain access. 3
* In the edition of Britannia Illustrata, published in 1720, a bird's-eye view of Hampton Court shows the tennis court as restored by William III.
* The Hanoverian dynasty were not specially addicted to tennis, but Frederick, prince of Wales, who died in March 1751, is said, by Horace Walpole, to have been a victim to the game. "An imposthume had broken, which, on his body being opened, the physicians were of opinion had not been occasioned by the fall, but from the blow of a tennis ball three years before." 4 During the latter half of the eighteenth century the game lost much of its popular character and became still more the amusement of the wealthy. The Sporting Magazine of September 1793 shows, however, that the outdoor form of this sport was in full vigour:--"Field tennis threatens ere long to bowl out cricket. The former game is now patronised by Sir Peter Burrel; the latter has for some time back been given up by Sir Horace Mann."
* Throughout the nineteenth century, especially towards its close, there
was a marked revival of tennis in England, though it is almost extinct on the Continent. Mr Marshall's account of tennis, in the All England Series, published in 1890, enumerates thirty-one courts in England, nineteen of which were attached to private houses. Mr Heathcote in the Badminton Library volume, the fourth edition of which was published in 1897, increases the list to thirty-four. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that, though somewhat on the increase, the number of English courts at the opening of the twentieth century is considerably behind those in constant use at the beginning of either the seventeenth or eighteenth century. The enthusiasts say of this sport that it is not only the game for kings but the king of games.
* RACKETS.--There is not much history attached to the game of rackets apart from tennis. It originated in the tennis courts, as has been shown by Mr Marshall, who has drawn attention to a print at the British Museum, inscribed: "Fives Played at the Tennis Court, Leicester Fields. Printed by Carrington Bowles, 1788." The players are represented as using tennis rackets and playing against only one wall of the tennis court, on which is chalked out a certain area within which the balls had to be driven. Mr Marshall has thus clearly defined the sequence of the game:--"First came fives, played with the hand against any available wall. Then came bat-fives, in which a wooden instrument, roughly imitated from the tennis racket, was employed. That was a good game; and it is still played in many places, and notably at some of our great schools, Rugby, Westminster, Cheltenham, and others. Not content with the wooden bat, players acquainted with the tennis racket seem to have adopted that instrument about 1749, or a little earlier . . . so it continued to be played until 1788, the date of the print mentioned above, which the players still called the game fives." 1
'With the introduction of the racket, the change in the name gradually followed. It used to be popular in the prisons of the Fleet and King's Bench, and afterwards in the gardens of some of the great London taverns. A special form of the real game became localised at Harrow about 1822. With its later history we are not here concerned, nor with the various developments of the present game of fives, which is essentially a pastime for boys.
* LAWN TENNIS.--Of the widespread pastime of lawn tennis, which assumed definite shape in 1874, it need only be remarked in these pages that it can lay claim to a long pedigree, though suspended in its action for a considerable period. The earlier notices of tennis establish the fact that the royal game was originally played in the open air.
* THE WIND-BALL OR BALLOON.--The wind-ball or leathern ball filled with air, after the fashion of the later form of football, but struck with the hand or fist, is as old as the time of the Romans, by whom it was termed follis. Gervase Markham, in 1615, couples the "Baloone" with tennis as good sports either for health or action. He describes it as "a strong and moving sport in the open
fields, with a great ball of double leather fill’d with winde, and driven to and fro with the strength of a man's arme arm’d in a bracer of wood." 1
* In the 1659 English edition of Komensky's Orbis Sensualium Pictus, this game is depicted as being played outside a tennis court, and is thus described, the numerals being references to the picture:--"A Winde-ball 4 being filled with air by means of a Ventie is tossed to and fro with the fist 5 in the open air." 2
* Doctor Jones, the Buxton physician of Elizabethan fame, did not disdain to recommend his patients to play at ball. "The wind baule, or yarne ball, betwene three or foure shall not bee inutile to be used in a place convenient, eache keeping their limite. For tossinge wherein may bee a very profitable exercise, bycause at all tymes they keepe not the lyke force in striking, so that shalbee constrayned to use more violent stretching with swifter moving at one time than another, which will make the exercise more nymble, and deliver both of hand and whole body: therefore encreasing of heat through swift moving in all partes the sooner." 3
HURLING, HOCKEY, CAMP-BALL.--Hurling is an ancient exercise, and seems originally to have been a species of the hand-ball; it was played by the Romans with a ball called harpastum, a word probably derived from harpago, to snatch or take by violence. The contending parties endeavoured to force the ball one from the other, and they who could retain it long enough to cast it beyond an appointed boundary were the conquerors. The inhabitants of the western counties of England have long been famous for their skill in the practice of this pastime. There were two methods of hurling in Cornwall, at the commencement of the seventeenth century, and both are particularly described by Carew, a contemporary writer, 4 whose words are these: "Hurling taketh his denomination from throwing of the ball, and is of two sorts; in the east parts of Cornwall to goales, and in the west to the country. For hurling to goales there are fifteen, twenty, or thirty players, more or less, chosen out on each side, who strip themselves to their slightest apparell and then join hands in ranke one against another; out of these rankes they match themselves by payres, one embracing another, and so passe away, every of which couple are especially to watch one another during the play; after this they pitch two bushes in the ground, some eight or ten feet asunder, and directly against them, ten or twelve score paces off, other twain in like distance, which they term goales, where some indifferent person throweth up a ball, the which whosoever can catch and carry through his adversaries goale, hath wonne the game; but herein consisteth one of Hercules his labours, for he that is once possessed of the ball, hath his contrary mate waiting at inches and assaying to lay hold upon him, the other thrusteth him in the breast with his closed fist to keep him off, which they call butting." According to the laws of the game, "they must hurle man to man, and not two set upon one man at
once. The hurler against the ball must not but nor handfast under the girdle, he who hath the ball must but only in the other's breast, and deale no fore ball, that is, he may not throw it to any of his mates standing nearer to the goale than himself." In hurling to the country, "two or three, or more parishes agree to hurl against two or three other parishes. The matches are usually made by gentlemen, and their goales are either those gentlemen's houses, or some towns or villages three or four miles asunder, of which either side maketh choice after the nearnesse of their dwellings; when they meet there is neyther comparing of numbers nor matching of men, but a silver ball is cast up, and that company which can catch and carry it by force or slight to the place assigned, gaineth the ball and the victory. Such as see where the ball is played give notice, crying 'ware east,' 'ware west,' as the same is carried. The hurlers take their next way over hilles, dales, hedges, ditches; yea, and thorow bushes, briars, mires, plashes, and rivers whatsoever, so as you shall sometimes see twenty or thirty lie tugging together in the water, scrambling and scratching for the ball."
About the year 1775, the hurling to the goales was frequently played by parties of Irishmen, in the fields at the back of the British Museum, but they used a kind of bat to take up the ball and to strike it from them; this instrument was flat on both sides, and broad and curving at the lower end. I have been greatly amused to see with what facility those who were skilful in the pastime would catch up the ball upon the bat, and often run with it for a considerable time, tossing it occasionally from the bat and recovering it again, till such time as they found a proper opportunity of driving it back amongst their companions, who generally followed and were ready to receive it. In other respects, I do not recollect that the game differed materially from the description above given. The bat for hurling was known and probably used in England more than two centuries ago, for it is mentioned in a book published in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 1 and is there called "a clubbe" or "hurle batte."
* Mr Strutt's paragraph as to the Irish bat hurling at once suggests hockey. In Chambers's Information for the People it is stated that, "shinty in Scotland, hockey in England, and hurling in Ireland appear to be very much the same out-of-door sport." 2 In a recent brief essay on the history of hockey, an enthusiastic writer states that "the game existed in Ireland two thousand years ago, though possibly in a form that would not be recognised by the modern player, and its trail may be found here and there, across the story of social England from quite early days." 3 The earliest known use of the word occurs in certain local statutes enacted by the town of Galway in the year 1527, when, amongst prohibited games is named--"The horlinge of the litill balle with hockie stickes or staves." 4 Hockey is described in Murray's Dictionary as equivalent to bandy or shinty.
[paragraph continues] The game, which was for a long time during last century chiefly confined to the ice, has of late years experienced a remarkable revival among both sexes.
* All games with ball have a tendency to change and mingle with others, and vary much in different districts, as well as at different periods. Hence it is difficult to keep their nomenclature accurate and distinct. The true Cornish hurling, and a like game in other parts of England, seems to have consisted in the hurling or hand-throwing of a comparatively small ball. An interesting, but unfortunately brief, reference to this western game as a sport between counties occurs as early as 1648: "The Counties of Devon and Cornwall are, on Monday next, to meet at a hurling, a sport they have with a ball." 1
* This form of western hurling was very similar to the camp-ball (from A.S. camp, a combat) of the eastern counties, which was distinct from football, termed "kicking-camp." In Mr Albert Way's notes to the Promptorium Parvulorum (Camden Society), it is stated that "camping-land appropriated to this game occurs, in several instances, in authorities of the fifteenth century." Camp-ball prevailed in many parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is thus described by Major Moor in 1823:--
"Goals were pitched 150 to 200 yards apart, formed of the thrown-off clothes of the competitors. Each party has two goals, To or 15 yards apart. The parties, 10 to 15 a side, stand in a line facing their own goals and each other, at to yards distance, midway between the goals and nearest that of their adversaries. An indifferent spectator throws up the ball--the size of a cricket ball--midway between the confronted players, whose object is to seize and convey it between their own goals. The shock of the first onset to catch the falling ball is very great, and the player who seizes it speeds home pursued by his opponents, through whom he has to make his way, aided by the jostlings of his own side. If caught and held, he throws the ball--but must in no case give it--to a comrade, who, if it be not arrested in its course, or be jostled away by his eager foes, catches it and hurries home, winning the notch or snotch if he continues to carry--not throw--it between the goals. A holder of the ball caught with it in his possession loses a snotch. At the loss of each of these the game recommences, after a breathing time. Seven or nine snotches are the game, and these it will sometimes take two or three hours to win. At times a large football was used, and the game was then called 'kicking camp'; and if played with shoes on was termed 'savage camp.'" 2
''The same correspondent of Notes and Queries, who cited this account in 1892, stated that the game seemed to have died away owing to numerous and fatal accidents that happened to players. "Two men were killed at a grand match at Euston, Suffolk, about the close of last century."
FOOTBALL.--Football is so called because the ball is driven about with the feet instead of the hands. It was formerly much in vogue among the common people of England, though of late years it seems to have fallen into disrepute,
and is but little practised. I cannot pretend to determine at what period the game of football originated; it does not, however, to the best of my recollection, appear among the popular exercises before the reign of Edward III., and then, in 1349, it was prohibited by a public edict; not, perhaps, from any particular objection to the sport in itself, but because it co-operated, with other favourite amusements, to impede the progress of archery.
When a match at football is made, two parties, each containing an equal number of competitors, take the field, and stand between two goals, placed at the distance of eighty or an hundred yards the one from the other. The goal is usually made with two sticks driven into the ground, about two or three feet apart. The ball, which is commonly made of a blown bladder, and cased with leather, is delivered in the midst of the ground, and the object of each party is to drive it through the goal of their antagonists, which being achieved the game is won. The abilities of the performers are best displayed in attacking and defending the goals; and hence the pastime was more frequently called a goal at football than a game at football. When the exercise becomes exceeding violent, the players kick each other's shins without the least ceremony, and some of them are overthrown at the hazard of their limbs.
Barclay in his fifth eclogue 1 has these lines:
And a more modern poet, Waller:
The danger attending this pastime occasioned King James I. to say, "From this court I debarre all rough and violent exercises, as the foot-ball, meeter for lameing than making able the users thereof." 2
The rustic boys made use of a blown bladder without the covering of leather by way of football, putting peas and horse beans withinside, which occasioned a rattling as it was kicked about.
"It had been the custom," says a Chester antiquary, 4 "time out of mind,
for the shoemakers yearly on the Shrove Tuesday, to deliver to the drapers, in the presence of the mayor of Chester, at the cross on the Rodehee, 1 one ball of leather called a foote-ball, of the value of three shillings and fourpence or above, to play at from thence to the Common Hall of the said city; which practice was productive of much inconvenience, and therefore this year (1540), by consent of the parties concerned, the ball was changed into six glayves of silver of the like value, as a reward for the best runner that day upon the aforesaid Rodehee."
In an old comedy, the Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, by John Day, 2 one of the characters speaks thus of himself: "I am Tom Stroud of Hurling, I'll play a gole at camp-ball, or wrassel a fall a the hip or the hin turn." Camp-ball, I conceive, is only another denomination for foot-ball, and is so called, because it was played to the greatest advantage in an open country. The term may probably be a contraction of the word campaign.
* It has been thought well to give the whole of the passage originally published by Joseph Strutt in 180f, relative to football, as it not only gives an account of the game as played at the end of the eighteenth century, but also points with emphasis to the marvellous growth and popularity achieved by football in the course of a hundred years.
* Mr Strutt conceived that camp-ball was but another name for football; his partial error in that respect has already been pointed out, yet he might have claimed a good and early authority for such a mistake. In the Promptorium Parvulorum occurs this definition: "Campan, or playar at foott balle, pediluson; campyon, or champion." It is also obvious that Rugby football owes a good deal to the old camp-ball proper, which was a hand game.
The legends connected with English football point to a very early use of the game. The Shrovetide game at Chester is said to have been in commemoration of the barbarous kicking about of the head of a captured Dane; whilst the Derby game is supposed to have been a memorial of a local victory over the Romans.
* Ball play, apparently football, was so popular in London in the time of Edward II. that a proclamation was issued in 1314 forbidding the hustling of over-large balls (rageries de grosses pelotes) within the city under pain of imprisonment.
* There is a curious instance of a fatal football accident caused by a religious of the Gilbertine order in the time of Edward II. During a game William de Spalding, canon of the Gilbertine house of Shouldham, Norfolk, when in the act of kicking the ball was run against by a lay friend of his, who was also called William. The canon was carrying a sheathed knife in his girdle, but in the collision the layman wounded himself on the knife so severely that he died within six days. The canon was instantly suspended from all clerical duty; but on appealing to the pope, dispensation to resume his work was granted him,
as it was shown that no blame attached to him, and that he deeply regretted the death of his friend. 1
* In 1349 football and other games were forbidden by Edward III. in favour of archery. It was again forbidden by statute under Richard II. in 1389, which statute was re-enacted in 1401. These statutes had, however, but partial and temporary success. Football came again under the ban of the law in the sixteenth century, both under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. There seems, however, to have been reasonable excuse for these repressive measures, judging from the violence with which it was played.
* Mr Montague Shearman cites various official records as to serious or fatal results from football of the sixteenth century; 2 and these might be materially increased by reference to coroners' rolls.
* After the dissolution of the monasteries, when Sir Roger Townsend was pulling down the tower of Coxford Priory, Norfolk, to build himself a goodly house, the steeple came down with a crash and fell upon a house near by, "breaking it down and slaying one Mr Seller, that lay lame in it of a broken leg gotten at foot-ball." 3
''Sir Thomas Elyot, in his charming little work entitled The Boke named the Governour, first published in 1531, says of football that it "is nothyng but beastely fury and extreme violence, whereof procedeth hurte, and consequently rancour and malice do remayne with thym that be wounded, wherfore it is to be put in perpetuall silence." 4
* In Stubbes' Anatomie of Abuses (1583) football is described as "a develishe pastime . . . and hereof groweth envy, rancour, and malice, and sometimes brawling, murther, homicide, and great effusion of blood, as experience daily teacheth."
* And yet there must have been gentler forms of this exercise. The married women and spinsters of Inverness used to have a Shrovetide match of football; and a writer in Notes and Queries for 1892 cites the following lines as to matron and girls playing from Sir Philip Sidney's Dialogue between Two Shepherds:--
* One of the chief objections to football in the early part of the seventeenth century naturally arose from the habit of playing it in the streets of towns instead of the open country. In Hone's Table-Book the following passage is cited from Davenant's description of London in 1634:--
"I would now make a safe retreat, but that methinks I am stopped by one of your heroic games called football; which I conceive (under your favour) not very conveniently civil in the streets, especially in such irregular and narrow
roads as Crooked Lane. Yet it argues your courage, much like your military pastime of throwing at cocks, since you have long allowed these two valiant exercises in the streets."
* This extract seems to show that the numerous town bye-laws against foot-ball were but seldom enforced. A century earlier than this football had been singled out for special honour by the town of Galway, but to be played outside the walls; the local statutes of 1527 forbad, in favour of archery, every other kind of sport and pastime "onely the great foote balle." 1
* Football seems to have been well established at Cambridge in the time of Charles II. In the second register book of Magdalen College occurs the following entry of 1679, relative to abuses connected with Michaelmas football:--
* "That no schollers give or receive at any time any treat or collation upon account of ye football play, on or about Michaelmas Day, further then Colledge beere or ale in ye open hall to quench their thirsts. And particularly that that most vile custom of drinking and spending money--Sophisters and Freshmen together--upon ye account of making or not making a speech at that football time be utterly left off and extinguished." 2
* Pepys and other well-known authorities give evidence of much football play in the latter half of the seventeenth century. It is alluded to in the Spectator, as a game played on village greens, but save in a few traditionary towns at certain dates--usually Shrovetide--football seems to have gradually died out during the eighteenth century, and to have remained quiescent during the first half of the nineteenth century. The revival began in our great public schools.
* Derby and Kingston were among the most noteworthy places for Shrove-tide town football; the game was vigorously and furiously played in both these towns well into the nineteenth century. At Dorking efforts are still made to maintain the annual street game.
GOLF.--There are many .games played with the ball that require the assistance of a club or bat, and probably the most ancient among them is the pastime now distinguished by the name of golf. 3 In the northern parts of the kingdom golf is much practised. It requires much room to perform this game with propriety, and therefore I presume it is rarely seen at present in the vicinity of the metropolis. It answers to a rustic pastime of the Romans which they played with a ball of leather stuffed with feathers, called paganica, because it was used by the common people: the golf-ball is composed of the same materials to this day: I have been told it is sometimes, though rarely, stuffed with cotton. In the reign of Edward III. the Latin name cambuca 4 was applied to this pastime, and it derived the denomination, no doubt, from the crooked
club or bat with which it was played; the bat was also called a bandy, from its being bent, and hence the game itself is frequently written in English bandy ball. At the bottom of plate eight are two figures engaged at bandy-ball, showing the form of the bandy, as it was used early in the fourteenth century, from a MS. book of prayers beautifully illuminated, in the possession of Mr Francis Douce.
Golf, according to the present modification of the game, is performed with a bat, not much unlike the bandy: the handle of this instrument is straight, and usually made of ash, about four feet and a half in length; the curvature is affixed to the bottom, faced with horn and backed with lead; the ball is a little one, but exceedingly hard, being made with leather, and, as before observed, stuffed with feathers. There are generally two players, who have each of them his bat and ball. The game consists in driving the ball into certain holes made in the ground; he who achieves it the soonest, or in the fewest number of strokes, obtains the victory. The golf-lengths, or the spaces between the first and last holes, are sometimes extended to the distance of two or three miles; the number of intervening holes appears to be optional, but the balls must be struck into the holes, and not beyond them; when four persons play, two of them are sometimes partners, and have but one ball, which they strike alternately, but every man has his own bandy.
It should seem that golf was a fashionable game among the nobility at the commencement of the seventeenth century, and it was one of the exercises with which prince Henry, eldest son to James I., occasionally amused himself, as we learn from the following anecdote recorded by a person who was present: 1 "At another time playing at goff, a play not unlike to pale-maille, whilst his school-master stood talking with another, and marked not his highness warning him to stand farther off, the prince thinking he had gone aside, lifted up his goff-club to strike the ball; mean tyme one standing by said to him, "beware that you hit not Master Newton": wherewith he drawing back his hand, said, "Had I done so, I had but paid my debts."'
* In addition to the early drawing given on plate eight, another one has been reproduced at the bottom of plate eleven. In this drawing of fourteenth-century date, which has been named as illustrating golf, two men are standing with the ends of their knobbed clubs, which they hold in both hands, crossed on the ground; but this illustration seems to point to some form of bandy-ball or hockey rather than golf. 2 A third illustration, at the top of plate nine, taken from a series of miniatures in a Book of Hours, circa 1500, undoubtedly refers to golf as then played; the figure down on his knees is "holing." 3
* The definition of the word given in Murray's New Dictionary is admirable
"A game of considerable antiquity in Scotland, in which a small hard ball
Click to enlarge
is struck with various clubs into a series of small cylindrical holes made at intervals, usually of a hundred yards or more, on the surface of a moor, field, etc. The aim is to drive the ball into any one hole, or into all the holes successively, with the fewest possible strokes. Commonly two persons or two couples (a 'foursome') play against each other."
* The same work cites authorities for "golf," 1457; "gouff," 1491; "goiff," 1538; "golf," 1575; and "goff," 1615 and 1669. The origin of the word is obscure.
* Golf is essentially the national pastime of Scotland, and has been so for more than four centuries. The first known notice of the game by its proper name is of the year 1457, when the lords and barons, spiritual and temporal, of the kingdom ruled that football and golf were to be utterly cried down and not to be used, lest they should interfere with the due following of archery.
* Golf-playing on Sunday was frequently punished by the local authorities of Edinburgh and other Scotch towns in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
* It was a royal as well as a popular game before the time of England's James I. In 1503, nine shillings were paid for the royal club and balls when the king played golf with the earl of Bothwell. The clubs at that time cost one shilling, and the feather-stuffed balls of leather were four shillings the dozen. In 1603 James I. appointed one William Mayne "clubmaker to his Hienes all the days of his lyftime." Montrose, who played at the Leith and St Andrews Links, was a golf expert; evidently in his days those who could afford it used a variety of clubs, for he was the purchaser of a set of six. 1 Charles I. was a player; the story of his breaking off a match at Leith, when news of the outbreak of the Irish rebellion reached him, is well known.
* Charles's son, James II., when duke of York, was a frequent player, and made use of a "fore-cadie" to run in front and mark the ball down. It was probably through the duke, and the royal family generally, that the game became known in England. In Westminster Drollery, published in London in 1671, occurs the couplet:
* The game was first formally established at Blackheath, so far as England was concerned. Some think that it was begun there as early as the time of James I. A club was certainly in existence there some time prior to 1745. A club that was formed at Pau in the "fifties" was one of the chief causes of establishing the game in various parts of England, such as Westward Ho and Wimbledon. English officers. and gentlemen who had wintered at Pau, and found that golf was congenial to mature years, became anxious to see it established in their own country. Of late years golf has spread with extraordinary rapidity to almost every part of England.
* Much more might be recorded of the early history and development of
golf in Scotland, but that would not be in accord with a work on the "sports and pastimes of the people of England." 1
* CRICKET.--The exact origin of cricket is somewhat difficult to determine, but there is no doubt whatever that it is a game essentially and exclusively English in its rise and development. As early as the middle of the thirteenth century a game of ball was played with a crooked or clubbed stick called cryc. In the Wardrobe Accounts of Edward I. for 1300 the sum of 100s. is entered towards the expenses incurred by John Luk, tutor and chaplain of the young prince (Edward II.), in playing at Creag’ and other games. Cricce, Anglo-Saxon for a crooked stick, is the probable origin of the name; but if this be the case the shape of the stick or club changed and became for the most part straight. Club-ball, as distinguished from cambuc or goff, seems to have been of the nature of cricket, and was played for some time with a comparatively straight club or bat. A Bodleian MS. of the year 1344 shows a woman in the act of throwing a ball to a man who elevates his bat to give it a back-hand stroke. 2 This is shown at the top of plate twelve. In the original drawing there are several figures of both sexes at a little distance behind the bowler, apparently waiting to catch or stop the ball when returned by the batsman. An earlier drawing of the end of the reign of Henry III., in the centre of the same plate, of two figures one with a ball and straight bat, and the other with hands outstretched for a catch, 3 can scarcely be considered a forerunner of cricket, as the player possessed of the bat himself holds the ball which he is about to strike. A third drawing, of the fourteenth century (plate eleven), gives two players, one of them holding a large ball in the left hand, and a straight bat or club in the right, whilst the other is grasping a plucked-up stump or wicket in a bat-like attitude. 4
* There is an interesting reference to this early form of cricket about 1420. John Combe of Quidhampton was one of the witnesses examined by the commissioners appointed by the pope to inquire into the alleged miracles at the tomb of Bishop Osmund, of Salisbury, when a petition had been presented for that prelate's canonisation. Combe testified that, ten years before, his neighbours were playing at ball with great clubs (ludentes ad pilam cum baculis magnis) in the village of Bemerton, when they quarrelled over the game. The witness interposed and tried to make peace, when one of the players struck him with his club, breaking his head and right shoulder, so that he lay sick and unable to hear or to see or to move head or arm for more than three months. Eventually he was healed by making an offering of his head and shoulders in wax, marked with wounds similar to his own, at the tomb of the bishop, accompanied by prayers. 5
* But in none of these early drawings, or in any mention of club-ball, is there any reference to that essential of cricket, the stumps or wicket at which the ball
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Bat and Ball
is aimed. This is to be found in another old game which went by the name of stool-ball.
Stool-ball is frequently mentioned by the writers of the three last centuries, but without any proper definition of the game. I (Mr Strutt) have been informed that a pastime called stool-ball is practised to this day in the northern parts of England, which consists simply in setting a stool upon the ground, and one of the players takes his place before it, while his antagonist, standing at a distance, tosses a ball with the intention of striking the stool, and this it is the business of the former to prevent by beating it away with the hand, reckoning one to the game for every stroke of the ball; if, on the contrary, it should be missed by the hand and touch the stool, the players change places; the conquerer at this game is he who strikes the ball most times before it touches the stool. I believe the same also happens if the person who threw the ball can catch and retain it when driven back, before it reaches the ground.
* From this description it is fairly obvious that a combination of stool-ball with club-ball, a bat being substituted for the hand, produced the origin of the game now known as cricket.
* The pastime of "handyn and handout" named in the prohibitory statute of 17 Edward IV., is supposed by some to refer to cricket.
The oldest known mention of the game by its modern name goes back to the time of Edward VI. In the "Constitution Book" of Guildford, there is record of a dispute of the year 1598 as to the enclosure of an acre of common land near the town. John Derrick, a county coroner, deposed that he knew it fifty years ago or more when it lay waste. "When he was a scholler in the free school of Guildeford he and severell of his fellowes did run and play there at crickett and other plaies."
* Cotgrave, in his French-English Dictionary of 1611, translates the French crosse, "a crosier, or bishop's staffe, also a cricket staffe, or the crooked staffe wherewith boies play at cricket." Edward Phillips, the poet Milton's nephew, in a work called The Mysteries of Love and Eloquence published in 1685, exclaims--"Would my eyes had been beat out of my head with a cricket-ball the day before I saw thee!" Several other references to the word and the game of seventeenth-century writers might be given, but when the eighteenth century is entered they become numerous.
* In the Cambro-British doggerel of D’Urfey, in 1719, occurs the stanza:
Pope wrote in the Dunciad--
Lord Chesterfield, in 1740, told his son that--"if you have a right ambition
you will desire to excell all boys of your age at cricket." Horace Walpole, Gray, and others allude to its being played early in the century at Eton, and there is a strikingly vivid description of the game in a poem in the Gentleman's Magazine for October 1756, where it is described as "An Exercise at Merchant Taylors' School." It ends with a moral:
* A writer in the same magazine for September 1743 abuses the extravagant use of the game, which was evidently by that time exceedingly popular, and is disgusted to find that "noblemen, gentlemen, and clergymen" were then, as now, in the habit of playing with their social inferiors. The moralist also considered that the game was responsible for propagating a sad spirit of idleness. He was on safer ground when finding fault with the heavy stakes, even for £500 or £1000, which "advertisements of the game most impudently recite." However much betting may have increased in England of late years, there is no doubt whatever that the habit in connection with cricket has much decreased as compared with that which was prevalent in the eighteenth and earlier part of the nineteenth centuries. 1
* Kent was one of the earliest counties where the game throve under the lead of Lord John Sackville. In 1746 a match was played on the Artillery Ground, London, by Kent against All England, eleven a side, when the latter won by two wickets. A newspaper advertisement announced a match on the same ground on July 24th, 1749, between five of the Addington Club and an All England five. The advertisement gave the names of the players, and thus concluded: "N.B.--The last match, which was play’d on Monday the 10th instant, was won by All England, notwithstanding it was eight to one on Addington in the playing."
* Hambledon, in Hampshire, was the special home of cricket; its club long maintained great efficiency and popularity, and it is to Hambledon that the honour belongs of being the first to promote regular laws for the guidance of the game. These rules were drawn up by a committee of noblemen and gentlemen who met at the "Star and Garter" in Pall Mall in the year 1774. Among those present were the duke of Dorset, Lord Tankerville, and Sir Horace Mann. The distance between the stumps was the same as at present; the crease was cut in the turf, not painted; the stumps were twenty-two inches in height; and there was only one bail, six inches in length. Just about this time the epic poet of the sport, James Love, comedian, put forth a shilling quarto, dedicated to the Richmond Club. The poem opens with an exhortation to Britain to leave "puny Billiards" and all meaner sports, and only to cultivate cricket:--
* The bat of those days has been described as "similar to an old-fashioned dinner-knife, curved at the back, and sweeping in the form of a volute at the front and end. With such a bat, the system must have been all for hitting; it would be barely possible to block; and when the practice of bowling length balls was introduced, which gave the bowler so great an advantage in the game, it became absolutely necessary to change the form of the bat, in order that the striker might be able to keep pace with the improvement. It was therefore made straight in the pod; in consequence of which, a total revolution, it may be said a reformation too, ensued in the style of play . . . the system of stopping or blocking was adopted." 1 A picture by Francis Hayman, R.A. (who exhibited between 1769 and 1772), belonging to the M.C.C., shows the almost cudgel shape of the bat in a country cricket match; the wicket is very low with only two stumps; a lad in the foreground is scoring "notches" on a stick.
* Among the satirical prints of the British Museum 2 is one published on January 1st, 1778, from a picture painted in 1770, which bears witness to the early attention paid to this game by the fair sex, and also pourtrays with exactness the shape of the bat. It is entitled "Miss Wicket and Miss Trigger," and is a mezzotint engraving showing a meadow near a farmhouse, where two young women appear. Below are the lines--
* Miss Wicket is represented leaning on a cricket-bat, wearing a dress trimmed with ribbons, and red shoes. A little girl catches a ball in the fore-ground. The stumps of the wicket are but two, and forked at the top to carry a transverse stick or bail.
* The exact shape of the bat is also shown in the picture of "A Young Cricketer," of about the same date, ascribed to Gainsborough, which belongs to the M.C.C.
* The ball in Miss Wicket's picture has heavy cross seams; but a silver ball, over a hundred years old, which was used as a snuff-box by the Vine Club, Sevenoaks, is marked with seams like those now in use.
* That central parliament of cricket, the Marylebone Club, came into existence on the dissolution of the old White Conduit Club in 1787. One Thomas Lord, a cricket enthusiast, with the aid of some members of the dissolved association, made a ground on the site of what is now Dorset Square. This was the first "Lord's." After a move to North Bank, Thomas Lord finally pitched his camp, in the year 1814, on the present famous ground.
* This is not the place in which to chronicle the general run of cricket eccentricities, but early instances of attempts to play the game on horseback may perhaps be recorded.
* CRICKET ON HORSEBACK.--The advertisement columns of the Kentish Gazette of 29th April 1794, contain the following:--
"Cricketing on Horseback.--A very singular game of cricket will be played on Tuesday, the 6th of May, in Linsted Park, between the Gentlemen of the Hill and the Gentlemen of the Dale, for one guinea a man. The whole to be performed on horseback. To begin at nine o'clock, and the game to be played out. A good ordinary on the ground by John Hogben."
* In Lilywhite's Score Sheets it is stated that, in or about 1800, Sir Horace Mann caused a cricket match to be played on ponies at Harrietsham. 1
TRAP-BALL, AND KNUR AND SPELL.--The game of trap-ball, or trap-bat-and-ball, which can be traced back to at least the beginning of the fourteenth century (see Plate 13 2), afterwards developed into the northern game of knur and spell. In the first quarter of the nineteenth century this game was a favourite one amongst adults in several of our northern counties, particularly in Hallamshire. The knur, or ball, used in the game, was made of various hard materials. It was sometimes carved by hand out of a hard wood, such as holly, or engine-turned out of lignum-vitæ; in the pottery districts it was commonly made of white Wedgewood material, and usually called a "pottie"; whilst in its most scientific form the knur was made out of stag-horn and weighted with lead. The spell, or trap, was of varying design, sometimes assuming the shoe form, which could commonly be obtained in toy shops in the middle of the last century and later; but ingenuity devised a spring spell, which, being set and detached by means of a toothed click, could be regulated so as to always raise the knur to the same height, thus greatly increasing the certainty of the player hitting it. The third implement required for this game is the trip-stick used for striking the ball. It differs much from the old form of short bat, and consists of two parts, the stick and the pomel. The former is made of ash or lance wood, so as to combine stiffness and elasticity, and for a two-handed player is about four feet in length. The widened end, or pomel, is made of any hard heavy wood that will not easily split. The main point of the game is the distance to which the player can strike the knur; a first-rate hand is said to have been able to send a loaded ball as far as sixteen score yards. 3
80:1 No. lvii.
81:1 "Lusum pilæ celebrem." Stephanides de ludis.
81:2 "The scholars of each school have their ball or bastion in their hands." Survey of London.
81:3 Lord Lyttelton, History of Henry the Second, vol. iii. p. 295; and [Dr Pegge] the translator of Fitzstephen in 1772.
81:4 By the word celebrem Fitzstephen might advert to the antiquity of the pastime.
81:5 Jeu de paume, and in Latin pila palmaria.
81:6 Essais Historiques sur Paris, vol. i. p. 160.
81:7 Laboureur, sub an. 1368.
81:8 Roy. Lib. 20 D. iv. f. 207.
81:9 Hart MSS. 6563, f. 95.
82:1 Harl. MSS. 4375, f. 151, Two men are playing chess in a cloister at the back of the court.
82:2 Nichols' Progresses of Q. Eliz. vol. ii. p. 19.
82:3 Wilkins' Concilia, iii. 194.
83:1 Marshall's Annals of Tennis, 53. In the 6th Series of Notes and Queries there are long and frequent references to the etymology of Tennis, in which Professor Skeat and other learned men took part.
84:1 Shillingford's Letters (Camd. Soc. 1871), p. tot.
84:2 Hist. MSS. Reports, v. pp. 516, 521, 523, 526.
85:1 Notes and Queries, Series IV. ii. 178; v. 263, 436.
85:2 The reproduction of this effigy is taken from plate viii. of Edward Richardson's Monumental Effigies of Elford Church (1852).
85:3 Harl. MSS. 3749.
86:1 Cott. MSS. Vesp. C. xii. fol. 281.
86:2 Annals of Tennis, 63.68.
86:3 State Papers, Scotland, x. No. 31d.
86:4 Dom. State Papers, Eliz. ccxliii. 58.
86:5 Henry IV. Part ii. Act ii. sc. 2.
87:1 His Majesties Instructions to his dearest Sonne, Henry the Prince (1603), p. 120.
87:2 Country Contentments, bk. i. p. 109.
87:3 Devon's Issues of the Exchequer, p. 116.
87:4 Cal. of State Papers, 1649-50, p. 542.
88:1 Annals of Tennis, 93, 94.
89:1 Tennis, Rackets, Fives (All England Series, 1890), p. 9.
89:2 Norbert's Statutes, Dist. i. cap. viii.
89:3 Holstein's Codex Regularum (1759), v. 206, 207.
89:4 Memoirs of George II. vii. 6x, 62.
90:1 Tennis, Rackets, Fives (All England Series, 1890), by Julian Marshall, pp. 43, 44.
91:1 Country Contentments, bk. i. p. 109.
91:2 Pl. cxxxiii.
91:3 The Benefit of the Ancient Bathes of Buckstones, 1572.
91:4 Survey of Cornwall, 2602, bk. i. p. 73.
92:1 Philogamus, black letter, without date.
92:2 Edit. 1842, vol. ii. p. 543.
92:3 Mr H. F. Prevost Battersby, in Football, Hockey, Lacrosse (The Sports Library), p. 80.
92:4 Hist. MSS. Com. 10th Report, app. v. p. 402.
93:1 Hamilton's Papers (Camden Soc.), p. 171.
93:2 Notes and Queries, Ser. VIII. ii. 214.
94:1 Ship of Fools, 1508.
94:2 Basilicon Doron, bk. iii.
94:3 Barclay, ut supra.
94:4 I rather think the elder Randel Holmes, one of the city heralds, MS. Harl. 2150, fol. 23.
95:1 An open place near the city.
95:2 Acted A.D. 1659.
96:1 Cal. of Papal Letters, ii. 214.
96:2 Football (Badminton Library, 1844), 7, 8.
96:3 Spelman's History of Sacrilege, 1632, edit. 1853, p. 251.
96:4 Edit. 1546, p. 32b.
97:1 Hist. MSS. Com. 10th Report, App. v. 402.
97:2 Ibid. 5th Report, 483.
97:3 Spelt goff throughout in the original edition, which is undoubtedly the right pronunciation. See Notes and Queries, Ser. viii. vols. 4, 5, and 6.
97:4 Cambuta vel cambuca. Baculus incurvatus, a crooked club or staff: the word cambuca was also used for the virga episcoparum, or episcopal crosier, because it was curved at the top. Du Cange, Glossary, in voce cambuta.
98:1 An anonymous author, Harl. MSS. 6391.
98:2 Roy. Lib. 10 E. iv. fol. 95.
98:3 Add. MSS. 24,098, fol. 27.
99:1 Napier's Memoirs of Montrose, 1856.
100:1 Historical Gossip about Golf and Golfers, Edinburgh, 1863; Golf, an Ancient and Royal Game, R. and R. Clark, Edinburgh, 1875; Golf (Badminton Library, 1898), historical chapter by Andrew Lang.
100:2 Bodl. 264.
100:3 Roy. Lib. 14 B. v.
100:4 Ibid. 10 E. iv. fol. 94b.
100:5 The Canonisation of St Osmund (Wilts Record Soc. 1902), pp. xiv. 71.
102:1 For an interesting account of betting at cricket see Pycroft's Cricket Field, ch. vi.
103:1 Nyren's Cricketer's Guide, 4th edit. (1846), pp. 93, 94.
103:2 Stephen's Catalogue, iv. 728.
104:1 On the general question of the early history of cricket, see Nyren's Cricketer's Guide; Blaine's Rural Sports, 133-136; Badminton Library Cricket, history of the game by Andrew Lang; Notes and Queries, Ser. ii. and v. etc.
104:2 Bodl. MS.
104:3 Reliquary, Ser. I. vi. 233-236.