‘Footeball play’

The Library’s first edition of Positions … Necessarie for the Training up of Children (London, 1581) by the sixteenth-century schoolmaster Richard Mulcaster contains a nice passage on the subject of football.

Mulcaster attributed the sport’s popularity to its benefit ‘both to health and strength’ but criticised the current state of the game: ‘with thronging of a rude multitude, with bursting of shinnes, & breaking of legges, it be neither civil, neither worthy the name of any traine to health’. He goes on to recommend several reforms to improve the sport: a ‘judge over the parties’ (i.e. a referee) and a ‘smaller number’ of players ‘sorted into sides’. He concludes that football, properly conducted, could be ‘good for the bowells’ and ‘helpeth weake hammes’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s