Games and pastimes – Feature Fridays

December 04 2020 | Castle History

Games and pastimes is the theme for this week’s #FeatureFridays with Historic Houses.

Entertainment during Tudor times was an important part of life and that included people like Anne Boleyn, who grew up at Hever Castle.

Cards and dice were popular with all classes during Tudor times and many regularly gambled with Henry VIII losing a fair sum to Anne Boleyn.

One of the more genteel hobbies was Tenes (or tennis, which was played in a specially built building – only for very rich as the building were costly to build).

Anne was watching a game of real tennis at Greenwich Palace on the morning of 2 May 1536 when a messenger interrupted the game to summon her to the council chamber.

When she arrived, she was faced with a royal commission, including her Uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who informed his niece of her arrest.

Other games and pastimes enjoyed during Tudor times included running at the quintain and the tilt, archery (shooting at the butts), hawking and hunting which were still mainly the preserve of the rich.

Poorer children and some adult men liked to kick balls and there was an early version of football that was particularly violent.

There was also something called cudgel-play where the aim was to be the first to draw blood from the opponents head.

In 1534, Anne Boleyn presented her husband King Henry VIII with an exotic set of Pyrenean boar spears as a New Year’s gift.

He gladly accepted them, whilst rejecting a gold cup from his former queen, Katherine of Aragon.

Another former owner of Hever Castle, Anne of Cleves enjoyed hawking and her brother William sent some hunting birds to Hever Castle. She thanked him for them in a letter written from Hever.

Hever Castle holds annual jousting tournaments and have a go archery.

If you enjoyed this item on games and pastimes why not discover the previous #FeatureFridays news items:

Clocks, sundials and bells
Stained glass
Weddings and betrothals
Herb gardens
Armour and costumes
Musical instruments
Secret passageways
American Connections
Priest Holes