Who won the medieval sports?

Updated: 9/28/2023
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14y ago

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Sports would have developed rather than be invented by a group of people sitting down and working out the rules.

In the Medieval period both football and Golf were known, football from references to the boys of London in the late C12 going to the fields outside the town walls to kick a sheep's bladder around, golf from the detail from a stained glass window of a little later.

Other sports would have included tilting, sword play, riding, Archery, generally passtimes that the men of the time needed as soldiers and would practice.

Tournaments were sports with great followings, (A Knight's Tale may not be 100% accurate but the sense is right) and was practice for war. It was not the fancy jousting that is often shown, Ivanhoe got that so wrong, as that came a lot later in the C14, but what became the melee - all the competitors fighting at once, often in teams as real war would have been fought (William Marshal was manager of the 'team' whose captain was Geoffrey of Brittany, son of Henry II and elder brother of King John of England. Geoffrey died in a tournament). They could easily last all day and tactics were important to ensure you did not tire and become an easy target for someone who had sat out the early stages to be fresh at the end. They were fought over large areas of land, five of these were authorised by Richard I and none could happen outside these areas. Henry II had banned them in England completely. They were more common on the continent, France was a good place to make a living from tournaments, as William Marshal did. He was a younger son and stood to inherit nothing and needed to support himself. He was a very good combatant with a reputedly thick skull able to take bows that would have felled lesser men. He was once discovered having his helm beaten back into shape on an anvil so he could actually take it off after it was beaten out of shape in a tournament.

A bow was the only weapon allowed a peasant and in the C13 all boys over 12 were required to own a bow and two arrows and practice every Sunday. It is the reason the bowmen of England were so effective at the Battles of Agincourt and Crecy. It took a lot longer to master than the hated crossbow but was more accurate as it could be aimed and had a longer range.

Hunting counted as sport, but again one that was necessary in order to eat. Hunting with dogs or birds were popular with the nobility. Hunting with bows was more utilitarian.

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13y ago
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Manchester united that's what i heard of a friend anyway.

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Q: Who won the medieval sports?
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