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Medieval Games and Sports

In a world of no technology playing games and sports were a big pastime. People of middle ages enjoyed playing many types of sports. Most of the medieval sports were targeted towards increasing the fighting skills of men. Both indoor and outdoor games were played.

Games that were played in the middle ages



It was an expensive sport and usually played by nobles. It was also good practice for knights to handle weapons for battle. Bows used for hunting were also used in war. Rules governing this sport were not so strict and the nobles often hunted within their own territory. They rode horse and used bow and arrow to pin down their targets. Animals were also involved in the hunting, such as deer, wolf etc.

Hunting animals

Jousting Tournaments

This was played between knights, in tournaments many participants were used to be killed while playing. Lance and rondel were used in this game. A main objective of the game was to knock the opponent off their steed. This was very risky to perform. But this game proved the skill of the knights. Later jousting was transformed into tilting.

Jousting tournament


This was similar with jousting, but the knights were sponsored by the kings and nobles. Winners received a reward.


Archery was an important medieval sport and was an essential skill in warfare. In 1252, The Medieval Archery Law was passed, according to which every Englishman of the age between 15 and 60 was required to equip himself with a bow and an arrow. People were trained to perform archery in specific areas known as Butts. Englishman invented the Long Bow which was an important weapon that helped English to defeat France in the battle of Crecy in 1346. The longbow archers were highly trained and they could fire up to 12 arrows an 60 seconds.



Chess came to Europe from Persia in the 9th century. Chess was played by nobles and upper class people. Chess was invented because of war- pawns are like peasants, rooks look like castles that the king and queen lived in, knights look like horse-that the knight rode on, bishops are like bishops-fighting for the king. This is basically a game of strategy.

Chess board

Nine-Man’s Morris

This game was similar with present day game tic-tac-toe. It is also known as Merrills, mill and merels. The game could be adjusted to accommodate more players or to increase the level of difficulty. It is a strategy board game for two players. The board consists of a grid with twenty four playable points. Each player has nine pieces in black and white color.

Nine man morris


It was famous in the 14th century, it was played on the ground with wooden balls which were stuck with hooked sticks and mallets.

Billiard game

Battledore and shuttlecock

This game is similar with present day badminton. Teams of two players attempted to keep the shuttlecock in the air as long as possible.


Shinty or Hurling

Present day game of hockey where the Hurley stick is broad and slightly curved



This game involved throwing a metal, or rubber rings over a distance to land over or near a spike. The spike is positioned centrally in a square of moist clay standing vertically. This game was mostly played by peasants.


Similar with present day golf, the clubs were wooden and the players hit wooden balls. It was played in open fields, streets or in the churchyard. Instead of trying to hit the ball into a hole like modern day golf, players would choose a target such as a tree or stake. The player who took the least amount of hits to reach the target wins.


It was played by a member of a village with member of other village. It was played by peasants.


Lifting games

This was the game of strength where men lifted heavy objects like stones or grain bags.

Thus, we can say that games and sports played an important role in medieval era, through games people strengthen their skills; they spent their leisure time playing with those games

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