Rural and Local: Individual units of activity were limited to a small area. Games fixtures were very local due to limited transport. Local environment was used for activities and was responsible for the activity coming about – rivers and lakes for fishing, shooting took place on local estates. Local fights took place.
Ritual and Festival: Many of them were pre-Christian and had links with early pagan rituals from tribal origins. Many ball games originated as ritualised representations of the sun. When combats were no longer real they were acted out in mock warrior experiences. Many pagan festivals were adapted by the church, for example, Christmastide, Eastertide and Whitsuntide.
Wagering: There was a tradition of making any contest more exciting by putting a bet on it. For the poor, winning a wager represented money for the family to live on. The peasants owned and trained fighting cocks and dogs to wager on. Prize fighters fought for large amounts of money and gained more money by wagering on themselves. All sports with unpredictability, attracted the gambler.
Cruel and Violent: Life in England in the 17 th and 18 th Century was a cruel place, death came from relatively minor injuries in a sporting context for. Violence in prize fighting was reflective of lower classes willing to trade bodily punishment and risk of death for money in a sport that was corrupt. Mob games were a battle field where casualties were part of the game.
Uncoded: The majority of players were illiterate. There were players and a crowd but little organisation. Due to localised games all the players knew the regulations. Rules were passed on from father to son.
Courtly and Popular: In the 17 th and 18 th century there was a two tier class system, the peasants and the gentry. Archery, hunting and real tennis were considered as courtly games. Violent activities were not participated in by the gentry, but they were involved in wagering at such events. The over riding feature of popular recreation in a two class society was the mutual support one group gave to the other to enable activities to take place.
Summary: In synoptic terms it is important to recognise that rational recreational patterns were carried into the public schools by the boys attending these schools; that there was a gradual but incomplete transition from popular to rational recreation, linking the two inseparably; and that popular recreation persisted in many working class communities, particular in the play forms of young children.
Question: Cultural Factors which influenced the development and relevant popularity of certain activities: Social Class Constraints Limited Communication Localisation Changing Attitudes of the Church Occupations and Free Time Limited Literacy and Publicity
What is the present day social class relationship in sport? What are the major differences in terms of social characteristics and communications? What is the impact on sport in this country?