Sports and Pastimes. 251

Sports and Pastimes.

" se indulgent; Per quod dictum regnum de Sagittariis, infra breve, deveniet verisimiliter, quod absit, destitutum;"

" Nos volentes super hoc Remedium apponi opportunum, vobis præcipimus, quod in locis in Civitate prædicta, tum infra Libertates quàm extra, ubi expedire videritis, publicè faciatis proclamari, quod quilibet ejusdem Civitatis in corpore potens, dieb. festivis cum vacaverit, arcubus & sagittis, vel pilettis aut boltis in jocis suis utatur, artemq; sagittandi discat & exerceat, omnibus & singulis ex parte nostra inhibentes, ne ad hujusmodi jactus Lapidum, Lignorum, Ferri, Pilam manualem, pedinam vel bacularem, vel cambucam, vel gallorum pugnam, aut alios ludos vanos hujusmodi, qui valere non poterunt, sub pœna Imprisonamenti, aliqualiter intendant, aut se inde intromittant. TR. apud Westmonaster. 12 die Junij."

" Consimilia Brevia diriguntur singulis Vicecomitibus Angliæ."

In English thus:

The King to the Sheriffs of London, Greeting. Because the People of our Realm, as well of good Quality as mean, have commonly in their Sports, before these Times, exercised the Skil of Shooting Arrows, whence it is well known, that Honour and Profit have accrued to our whole Realm; and to us, by the Help of God, no small Assistance in our Warlike Acts. And now the said Skil being as it were wholly layed aside, the same People please themselves in hurling of Stones and Wood and Iron; and some in Hand-Ball, Foot-Ball, Bandy-Ball, and in Cambuck *, and Cock-fighting; and some also apply themselves to other dishonest Games, and less profitable or useful; whereby the said Realm is likely in a short Time to become destitute of Archers:


We willing to apply a seasonable Remedy to this, command you, that in Places in the foresaid City, as well within the Liberties as without, where you shall see it expedient, you cause publick Proclamation to be made, that every one of the said City, strong in Body, at leisure Times on Holydays, use, in their Recreations, Bows and Arrows, or Pellets or Bolts, and learn and exercise the Art of Shooting; forbidding all and singular on our behalf, that they do not after any manner apply themselves to the Throwing of Stones, Wood, Iron, Hand-Ball, Foot-Ball, Bandy-Ball, Cambuck or Cock-fighting, or such other like vain Plays, which have no profit in them; or concern themselves therein, under pain of Imprisonment. Witness the King at Westminster, the 12 Day of June.

The like Letters were sent to all the Sheriffs in England.]

And for defence and use of the Weapon, there is a special Profession of Men that teach it. You may read in mine Annals, how that in the Year 1222. [and the 6. of King Henry the 3. on Saint James's Day,] the Citizens kept Games of defence and wrestlings near to the Hospital of Matilda, at St. Giles in the Field, where they challenged and had the Mastery of the Men in the Suburbs, and other Commoers, &c.

Games of Defence.

The Bailliff of Westminster devising to be revenged, proclaimed a Game to be at Westminster upon Lammas Day; whereunto the Citizens willingly repaired.

A Game at Westminster on Lammas Day.

A. M.

When they had played a while, the Bailliff, with the Men of the Suburbs, harnessed themselves treacherously, and fell to such fighting, that the Citizens (being sore wounded) were forced to run into the City, where they rung the common Bell, and assembled the Citizens in great Number. When the Matter was declared, every Man wished to revenge the Fact: but the Lord Maior of the City, being a wise and quiet Man, willed them first to move the Abbot of Westminster in the Matter, and if he would promise to see amends made, it was sufficient. But a certain Citizen, named Constantine Fitz Arnulit, willed that all the Houses of the Abbot and Bailliff should be pulled down. Which desperate Words were no sooner spoken, but the common People (as unadvisedly) issued forth of the City without any Order, and fought a cruel Battel, Constantine pulling down divers houses; and the People (as praising Constantine) cryed, The joy of the Mountain, the joy of the Mountain; God help, and the Lord Lodowike.

The Advice of the Lord Maior.

The bad Council of Constantine Fitz Arnutil as bad followed.

A few Days after this Tumult, the Abbot of Westminster came to London, to Philip Dawbeny, one of the King's Council, to complain of the Injuries done to him: The Londoners perceiving it, beset the House about, and took by violence twelve of the Abbot's Horses away, cruelly beating his Men, &c.

Chron. Don.

The Abbot of Westminster put to his Shifts.

But whilst the said Dawbeny laboured to pacify the uprore, the Abbot got out at the back Door of the House, and so, by a Boat on the Thames, hardly escaped; the Citizens throwing Stones after him in great abundance.

These Things being thus done, Hubert de Burge, chief Justice of England, with a great Army of Men, came to the Tower of London, and sent for the Maior and Aldermen, of whom he enquired for the Principal Authors of this Faction. Constantine, being constant in the Sedition, was more constant in the Answer; affirming, that he had done it, and that he had done much less than he meant to have done.

The Lord Chief Justice entred the City of London with an Army.

The Justice took him, and two other with him, and that Morning sent him to Faulcatius by Water, with a great Number of armed Men, who brought Constantine to the Gallows.

But when he saw the Rope about his Neck, he offered for his Life Fifteen Thousand Marks, yet it would not seem to save him: so he was hanged, with Constantine his Nephew, and Galfrid that proclaimed his Proclamation, on the 16th of August.]

Constantine and others hanged.

Also in the Year 1453. of a Tumult made against the Maior, at the wrestling besides Clerks Well, &c. Which is sufficient to prove, that (of old Time) the exercising of wrestling, and such like, hath been much more used than of latter Years.


The Youths of this City also have used, on Holidays, after Evening Prayer, at their Masters Doors, to exercise their Wasters and Bucklers: and the Maidens, one of them playing on a Timbrel, in sight of their Masters and Dames, to dance for Garlands, hanged thwart the Streets. Which open Pastimes in my Youth being now suppressed, worser Practices within Doors are to be feared.

Playing at the Bucklers.

Dancing for Garlands in the Streets.

As for the baiting of Bulls and Bears, they are till this Day much frequented, namely in Bear Gardens on the Bank side, wherein he prepared Scaffolds for Beholders to stand upon.

Bear and Bull Baiting.

Sliding on the Ice is now but Childrens Play: but in Hawking and Hunting many grave Citizens at this present have great delight, and do rather want leisure than good will to follow it.

Sliding, Hawking and Hunting.

Of Triumphant Shows made by the Citizens of London, ye may read in the Year 1236, the twentieth of Henry the Third, Andrew Bockrel then being Maior, how Helianor, Daughter to Reymond Earl of Provence, riding thorow the City toward Westminster, there to be Crowned Queen of England, the City was adorned with

Mat. Paris.

Shews for Triumphs.