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Chambers, Robert, 1802-1871 / Chambers's book of days, a miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, including anecdote, biography & history, curiosities of literature and oddities of human life and character
Vol. I (1879)

May,   pp. [unnumbered]-714 PDF (97.6 MB)

Page 714

tion of woodwork, brought to the spot every
year. The sports took place at Whitsuntide,
and consisted of horse-racing (for which small
honorary prizes were given), hunting, and
coursing (the best dog being rewarded with a
silver collar), dancing by the maidens, wrestling,
leaping, tumbling, cudgel-play, quarter-staff,
casting the hammer, &c., by the men.
Tents were erected for the gentry, who came
in numbers from all quarters, and here refresh-
ments were supplied in abundance; while tables
stood in the open air, or cloths were spread on
the ground, for the commonalty.
'None ever hungry from these games come home,
Or e'er make plaint of viands or of room ;
He all the raak at night so brave dismisses,
With ribands of his favour and with blisses.'
Horses and men were abundantly decorated
with yellow ribbons (Dover's colour), and h?
was duly honoured by all as king of their sports
for a series of years. They ceased during the
Cromwellian era, but were revived at the Resto-
ration; and the memory of their founder is still
preserved in the name Dover's Hill, applied to an
eminence of the Cotswold range, about a mile
from the village of Campden.
Shakspeare, whose slightest allusion to any
subject gives it an undying interest, has immor-
talized these sports.  Justice Shallow, in his
enumeration of the four bravest roisterers of his
early days, names 'Will Squell, a Cotswold
man;' and the mishap of Master Page's fallow
greyhound, who was 'out-run on Cotsale,' occu
pies some share of the dialogue in the or Quing
scene of the Merry Wives of Windsor.
L     _J

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