King James’s Book of Sports, 1617

Historian article

By Trevor James, published 7th August 2017

Forty years after his higher degree research into the history of sport, Trevor James explores the much wider context in which that research now stands.

Four hundred years ago, in 1617, James I made a decisive intervention into the simmering debate which had existed since the puritanical upsurge in Queen Elizabeth’s reign over how Sunday should be respected and appreciated. Initially in Lancashire, and nationally the following year, King James’ ‘Book of Sports’ gave clear advice over what sporting or leisure activities could, and by implication what could not, be permitted on the Sabbath...

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