|Sports and Exercises. The Quinten. ||249
to go about the Country to Noblemens Houses, and at some set Times only, to act
Plays; now Houses were built or bought, or hired, and set apart only for that
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
whereof was built the said Year, near White Fryars. Five Inns or common
were turned to Play Houses; one Cockpit: St. Paul's Singing School: the Globe on
Bankside: the Fortune near Golding-Lane: One in Black-Fryars, one in
&c. Besides the new built Bear-Garden, built as well for Plays, as Fencers,
and Bull baiting. Before the Space of the said Threescore Years, scarce any
Theatres were heard of. And this sort of Recreations hath continued to this
the Houses not so many; yet greatly complained of for the corrupting of Youth,
the instilling loose and Atheistical Principles into the Spectators Minds.
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.
great Justs at Westminster, and running at the Tilt. There rode the Trumpeters
their Trumpets with Scarfs of White and Black Sarcenet: Also the two Kings of
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
night after were the like Justings at Court. The Earl of Sussex, Lord Robert
and three more, against the Earl of Northumberland, the Lord Ambrose Dudley, and
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
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;
Money being laid on their Heads, when they fight in Pits: whereof some be
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
Man; but in their City they have used on Horse back, to run at a dead Mark
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
Quinten, and whosoever did best, should have a Peacock, which they had prepared
Running at the Quinten for Prizes.
Certain of the King's Servants, because the Court lay then at Westminster, came,
were, in despite of the Citizens, to that Game, and giving reproachful Names to
Londoners, which for the dignity of the City, and the ancient Priviledge which
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
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
seen a Quinten set upon Cornhill, by the Leaden Hall, where the Attendants on
Lords of merry Disports have run, and made great pastime: for he that hit not
End of the Quinten, was of all Men laughed to scorn; and he that hit it full, if
not the faster, had a sound blow in his Neck with a Bag full of Sand, hanged on
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,
Minshew fancies, it was one of the anicent Sports used every Fifth Year among
A Roman Exercise.
It was also corruptly called Whintane and Quintal. It is supposed by some to be
Roman Exercise, and left here in this Island ever since their Time. The learned
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,
then placed a slender piece of Timber on the Top of it on a Spindle, with a
to it on one end, and a Bag of Sand on the other. Against this Board they
rode with Spears. Dr. Plot writes, that he saw it at Deddington in Oxfordshire:
only strong Staves were used. Which violently bringing about the Bag of Sand,
made not good speed away, it struck them on the Neck and Shoulders, and
perhaps knocked them off their Horses."
The great Design of this Sport was
the Agility both of Horse and Man, and to break the Board. Which whosoever did
for that Time accounted Princeps Juventutis; i.e. the Prince, or Chief of the
This Custom is used to this Day at a Village called Blackthorn; which the said
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
Dr. Wh. Kennet. Paroch. Antiq. p.19.
Matthew Paris his Words, where he mentions this Exercise, are, Eo tempore
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
Seat, among other Sports for her Entertainment, was shewn a solemn Country
when in the Castle Yard was pight a comely Quintane, for Feats at Armes. Where,
great Company of Young Men and Lasses, the Bridegroom had the first course at
first Quintane, brake his Spear treshardiment. But his Mare in his Manage did a
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:
soon after Tag and Rag, Cut and long Tail. Where the specialty of the Sport was
see, how some for his slackness had a good Bob with the Bag: and some for his
topple down right, and come tumbling to the Post. Some put forth with Spurs,
run his Race-by as among the thickest of the Throng, that down came they
Hand over Head. Another, while he directed his Course to the Quintane, his
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
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.