Monday, January 30, 2017

Sports & Games - Medieval Bowling

Bowling taken from medieval manuscripts in Joseph Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes
The pastime of bowling, whether practiced on open greens or in bowling-alleys, was probably an invention from the middle ages. The earliest representation of a game played with bowls occurs in a 13C manuscript, on which 2 small cones are placed upright at a distance from each other; and the task of the players is evidently to bowl at them alternately; the successful candidate being the player who could lay his bowl the nearest to the mark. The French had a similar kind of game, called carreau, from a square stone which, says he, "is laid in level with and at the end of a bowling-alley, and in the midst thereof an upright point set as the mark where at they bowl." Displayed above is a 14C drawing from a MS. Book of Prayers. It represents 2 other bowlers; but they have no apparent object to play at, unless the bowl cast by the 1st may be considered as such by the 2nd, and the game requires him to strike it from its place. Below are 3 people engaged in the pastime of bowling; and they have a small bowl, which serves them as a mark for the direction of their bowl.  The most action is displayed by the middle figure, whose bowl is supposed to be rolling toward the jack.