hist-games: Freq. Asked Questions -- Part II

Jeff Singman jsingman at umich.edu
Mon Oct 20 14:06:13 PDT 1997

On Mon, 20 Oct 1997, David KUIJT wrote:
> There are certainly illustrations in 16c woodcuts of bowling against nine
> pins.  But throwing sticks against pins seems to be a parallel game to
> throwing balls against pins.  In particular, I believe Strutt (Games and
> Pastimes in Medieval England) reproduces illustrations of ball/pin games
> and stick/pin games from before 16c (by my memory of the clothing, I would
> guess 12c-13c).  Strutt is a poor source, but I've seen ball/pin games in
> (I think) the Luttrell Psalter (1340s) and elsewhere.  Also, I believe
> that one of the games in the background of Brueghel's Children's Games
> painting (mid 16c) shows stick/pin games.

I think both of us are to some degree firing from the hip--I myself
haven't been doing much with the games material of late. It is of course
much harder to prove the non-existence of a game than its existence; if
you have some specific references to nine-pins with a ball before 1500,
I for one would be interested to know about them. I have certainly never
seen them in any repros of the Luttrell Psalter known to me. Strutt does
have at least one illus which might be mistaken for a version of
nine-pins, but which is actually bowling at a wand instead of a jack--the
distinction between stick/stick and ball/stick is misleading, since there
are games in which the target is a stick, but the game is still
essentially the same as Bowls (hence my preference for the distinction
   Note also that I did *not* say that Nine-Pins replaced Kailes. The
latter continued throughout the 16c, and perhaps later--Shakespeare refers
to the game under the name Loggats.

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