Sports and Exercises. The Quinten. 249

Sports and Exercises. The Quinten.

to go about the Country to Noblemens Houses, and at some set Times only, to act their Plays; now Houses were built or bought, or hired, and set apart only for that Purpose. And no less than Seventeen common Play Houses were built in and about London within Threescore Years, (as an Historian that was alive 1629, observed) the last whereof was built the said Year, near White Fryars. Five Inns or common Osteries were turned to Play Houses; one Cockpit: St. Paul's Singing School: the Globe on the Bankside: the Fortune near Golding-Lane: One in Black-Fryars, one in White-Fryars, &c. Besides the new built Bear-Garden, built as well for Plays, as Fencers, Prizes, and Bull baiting. Before the Space of the said Threescore Years, scarce any such Theatres were heard of. And this sort of Recreations hath continued to this Day; tho' the Houses not so many; yet greatly complained of for the corrupting of Youth, and for the instilling loose and Atheistical Principles into the Spectators Minds.

E. Howes.

Justs and Torneaments was a Court Recreation in former Days at solemn Times: and lasted to the beginning of Q. Elizabeth's Reign. In the Month of April, 1560. were great Justs at Westminster, and running at the Tilt. There rode the Trumpeters blowing their Trumpets with Scarfs of White and Black Sarcenet: Also the two Kings of Arms, and the Haralds, Somerset, Lancaster, Richmond, York, Rouge Dragon, and more of them, having Scarfs of White and Black Sarcenet, about their Necks. And the Seven- night after were the like Justings at Court. The Earl of Sussex, Lord Robert Dudley and three more, against the Earl of Northumberland, the Lord Ambrose Dudley, and the Lord Hunsdon, and Mr. Cornwallys. Many Staves were broken. There stood in the standing as Judges, Lord Marquess Northampton, Lord of Rutland, and Lord of Pembroke, and the French Ambassador. And by the Chance of the breaking of a Staff, a Piece flew up where the Judges sat, and hit my Lord of Pembroke.]

Justs at Westminster.

Also, Cocks of the Game are yet cherished by divers Men for their Pleasures; much Money being laid on their Heads, when they fight in Pits: whereof some be costly, made for that Purpose.


The Ball is used by Noblemen and Gentlemen in Tennis Courts, and by People of meaner sort in the open Fields and Streets.

The Ball at Tennis play.

The Youths of this City, and other Young Men Time out of Mind, have left off to Practise the disarmed Launce and Shield on Horse back, in the Fields, Man against Man; but in their City they have used on Horse back, to run at a dead Mark called a Quinten.

[ Click here to view Image of quintain   ] For note whereof, I read, that in the Year of Christ 1253. the 38 of Hen. 3. the Youthful Citizens, for an Exercise of their Activity, set forth a Game to run at the Quinten, and whosoever did best, should have a Peacock, which they had prepared as a Prize.

Running at the Quinten for Prizes.

Mat. Paris.

Certain of the King's Servants, because the Court lay then at Westminster, came, as it were, in despite of the Citizens, to that Game, and giving reproachful Names to the Londoners, which for the dignity of the City, and the ancient Priviledge which they ought to have enjoyed, were called Barons: they said Londoners being wrongfully abused, fell upon the King's Servants, and beat them shrewdly, so that upon complaint made to the King, he fined the City to pay a Thousand Marks. This Exercise of running at the Quinten, was practised by the Youthful Citizens, as well in Summer as in Winter; namely, in the Feast of Christmas. I have seen a Quinten set upon Cornhill, by the Leaden Hall, where the Attendants on the Lords of merry Disports have run, and made great pastime: for he that hit not the broad End of the Quinten, was of all Men laughed to scorn; and he that hit it full, if he rode not the faster, had a sound blow in his Neck with a Bag full of Sand, hanged on the other end.

The Kings Servants deriding the Citizens, were sore beaten, but the Citizens were fined by the King.

Quinten upon Cornhill.

This Sport was called also Quintane, or Quintain, from the Latin Quintus, because as Minshew fancies, it was one of the anicent Sports used every Fifth Year among the Olympian Games.

A Roman Exercise.

J. S.

It was also corruptly called Whintane and Quintal. It is supposed by some to be a Roman Exercise, and left here in this Island ever since their Time. The learned Dr. Kennet, (now Ld. Bp. of Peterburgh) in his Parochial Antiquities from Dr. Plot, describes this thus: "That they set up a Post perpendicularly into the Ground, and then placed a slender piece of Timber on the Top of it on a Spindle, with a Board nailed to it on one end, and a Bag of Sand on the other. Against this Board they anciently rode with Spears. Dr. Plot writes, that he saw it at Deddington in Oxfordshire: where only strong Staves were used. Which violently bringing about the Bag of Sand, if they made not good speed away, it struck them on the Neck and Shoulders, and sometimes perhaps knocked them off their Horses." The great Design of this Sport was to try the Agility both of Horse and Man, and to break the Board. Which whosoever did was for that Time accounted Princeps Juventutis; i.e. the Prince, or Chief of the Youth. This Custom is used to this Day at a Village called Blackthorn; which the said Dr. Kennet concludes they had from the Romans, (through which Village the Roman Way lay) being usual at their Weddings on the Common Green with much Solemnity and Mirth.

Dr. Wh. Kennet. Paroch. Antiq. p.19.

Matthew Paris his Words, where he mentions this Exercise, are, Eo tempore juvenes Londinenses, statuto Pavone pro Bravio, ad stadium quod Quintena dicitur, Vires proprias & equorum Cursus sunt experti.

Sub init. Ann. 1253.

When Q. Elizabeth was at Kenelworth Castle in Warwickshire, the Earl of Leicesters Seat, among other Sports for her Entertainment, was shewn a solemn Country Bridal: when in the Castle Yard was pight a comely Quintane, for Feats at Armes. Where, in a great Company of Young Men and Lasses, the Bridegroom had the first course at the first Quintane, brake his Spear treshardiment. But his Mare in his Manage did a little stumble, that much adoe had his Manhood to sit in his Saddle. But after the Bridegroom had made his Course, ran the rest of the Band a while in some Order: but soon after Tag and Rag, Cut and long Tail. Where the specialty of the Sport was to see, how some for his slackness had a good Bob with the Bag: and some for his hast to topple down right, and come tumbling to the Post. Some put forth with Spurs, would run his Race-by as among the thickest of the Throng, that down came they together Hand over Head. Another, while he directed his Course to the Quintane, his jument would carry him to a Mare among the People. Another would run, and miss the Quintain with his Staff: and hit the Board with his Head. As it is related merrily in a little Tract, by way of Letter: giving a Relation of this Entertainment by the Earl of Leicester.]

The Quinten Sport before the Queen at Kenelworth.

I have seen also in the Summer Season some upon the River of Thames, rowed in Wherries with Staves in their Hands flat at the fore End, running one against

Running with Staves on the Thames.