Sunday, 21 February 2010

Your first pair of boots

Dr Maria Hayward, an expert at Southampton University, has discovered that Henry VIII - the Tudor King who had six wives, owned a pair of football boots.

These shoes, costing four shillings [approximately £100 in today's money] were made by his personal shoemaker, Cornelius Johnson, in 1525.

Dr Hayward found them in a list of the king's clothes made when he died in 1547.

Sadly we don't know what the football boots looked like so we cannot compare them with those worn by David Beckham or Ronaldo. However, it is not likely they were anything like the boots worn today. Historians think they were probably heavier than the normal shoes of the time and made of especially strong leather.

They needed to be strong because football during the 16th century, when Henry VIII was king, was a very tough game. 'Football in Tudor times was a very vicious game, with no teams and no rules, so it was not a game for gentlemen, 'comments Dr Hayward. According to a Tudor writer called Sir Thomas Elyot, it was a game of 'beastly fury and extreme violence'.

It is known that it was especially popular on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and Henry VIII even tried to ban the game because it so often led to riots and violence.

Behaviour generally, it appears, has improved over the ages! or has it?

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