Tudor Games & Sports

Tudor adults enjoyed many games and sports, although these varied greatly between the wealthy and the poor.

Wealthy

Jousting was enjoyed in Tudor times, as was hunting and falconry.

A form of tennis was played indoors with a leather ball. This game is still played today as ‘Real Tennis’.

Bowls and skittles were also played.

Board games and cards were also enjoyed, with chess being very popular. The Tudors also played games similar to both backgammon and draughts.

Cock fighting and bear baiting was enjoyed by both the rich and the poor.

Poor

As work was the basis of their lives, there was little time to be had for sports or games.

If they had any time at all, football was a popular game, though very different to the game we know today.

It was still played with two teams, but there were no limits as to how many could play on the two sides. The goal posts were often over a mile apart and the ball was made from inflated pig’s bladder.

There were few if any rules, and the ball could be both kicked and thrown. Many people were injured and some even died. As this could affect the poor’s fitness for work, football was banned during the reign of Henry VIII.

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