Tudor Football: Facts and Information

In Tudor times football was a very different game to the football (soccer) played today. Here are some facts about the Tudor game of football.

  • The number of players in each time was not limited. Sometimes one entire village or town would play against another.

  • The goal posts were not located at either end of a standard-size pitch. In Tudor times the goals might be more than a mile apart.
  • The ball could be kicked, but it could also be carried and thrown.
  • It was an exceedingly rough game – involving tackling, punching, tripping and kicking your opponent – and many injuries (and sometimes deaths) were suffered by the players.
  • Football was banned in 1540 (during the reign of Henry VIII) because so many young men were getting injured.
  • Football was seen as a sport for the poor and, as a result, the nobility didn’t take part.
  • Games of football could go on for hours (and days, in some cases).
  • The ball was made of a pig’s bladder stuffed with hair.

Check out this BBC video showing the Shrove Tuesday Football game in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Click here to find out more about Tudor sport and games.

Have a look at all of the Tudor resources on Primary Facts.

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