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Elizabethan Sports

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"


Types of Elizabethan Entertainment - Elizabethan Sports

Various Sports were played and watched and formed much of Elizabethan Entertainment, especially for the Nobility.

  • Sports and games which included archery, bowling, dice, hammer-throwing, quarter-staff contests, quoits, skittles and wrestling

  • Elizabethan Animal Blood Sports - Including Bear and Bull baiting. Dog and Cock fighting
  • Elizabethan Hunting - Sport followed by the nobility often using dogs
  • Elizabethan Hawking - Sport followed by the nobility with hawks

Elizabethan Team Sports
Elizabethan Team sports gained in popularity during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The team sports were enjoyed by both the players and the spectators. The Elizabethan era was dangerous and violent. Blood sports were enjoyed involving bears, bulls, cocks and dogs - team sports were also rough and violent. Even some card games were played in teams such as 'Ruff and Honors'. And the outcome of team sports contests were subject to heavy gaming and gambling. The following Elizabethan Sports were played in teams:

  • Elizabethan Hunting - 'At Force' Hunts were the most strenuous forms of hunting, designed for fit, young and very active men who worked in teams to hunt ferocious wild boars
  • Elizabethan Tournaments - Tournaments or Tourneys included many team elements. The Melees featured teams of knights fighting on horseback and on foot
  • Battledore and Shuttlecock - these team sports were the  ancestors of modern badminton
  • Elizabethan Bowls - Sir Francis Drake was famous to playing a game of Bowls, prior to fighting the Spanish Armada. It was believed that Bowls were also played in teams similar to the modern day ten pin bowling
  • Gameball - was a simple but extremely rough and violent football game
  • Hurling or Shinty - similar to hockey
  • Pall Mall - an ancestor of Croquet
  • Rounders - a bat-and-ball game similar to the modern baseball
  • Skittles -  an ancestor of modern ten-pin bowling
  • Stoolball -an ancestor of Cricket

Elizabethan Individual Sports
All Elizabethan sports tended to include an element of gaming and gambling. And even Elizabethan sports such as Fencing attracted considerable bets. The following Elizabethan Sports were played as individuals:

  • Elizabethan Archery - Archery contests were extremely popular during the Elizabethan era and prizes could be won for the most skilled of archers
  • Billiards - A forerunner to the Pool played today
  • Colf - the ancestor of Golf. The origin of the word golf is believed to be the Dutch word of "colf" meaning "club".The balls consisted of a leather casing, usually made from a bull's hide, soaked in alum and stuffed with softened goose feathers
  • Elizabethan Fencing - A sword was an important part of a nobles apparel and it was important that he had adequate fencing skills. The wearing of the sword with civilian dress  was a custom that had begun in late fifteenth-century Spain.
  • Hammer-throwing - a sport of skill, technique and strength
  • Horseshoes - throwing horseshoes at a target
  • Quarter-staff contests - popular amongst the Lower classes
  • Elizabethan Tennis - The ball was often hit against courtyard walls and played with a glove. The glove was replaced by a racket. The balls were at first made from solid wood then replaced by leather balls which were  stuffed with bran.
  • Wrestling - A particularly rough and violent version of the modern day sport
Elizabethan Fencing
Elizabethan Tournaments
Elizabethan Entertainment
Elizabethan Games
Elizabethan Gaming and Gambling
Elizabethan Bear & Bull Baiting
Elizabethan Hunting
Elizabethan Hawking
Elizabethan England
Queen Elizabeth I

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