Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sports hooligans

Yes, I'm back after a long visit to England and recovery therefrom.

If I were a true-blue blogger I'd have posted day by day and yes, I would have had interesting things to pass on about history. But though I had the laptop with me, I never connected it to the internet while I was there.

And of course I've forgotten most of the tid-bits I stumbled over on my travels. Which is why true-blue bloggers post every day.

But even though I'm writing a Regency set book that doesn't require much research at the moment, I'm still digging through medieval stuff in preparation for writing that book or books one day set in the mid 13th century Barons' War.

Where I found out that the British tendency to be unruly sports fans is nothing new.

In 1222, London defeated Westminster in an annual wrestling match.

Pause for note. The City of London is still a separate area within what people think of as London. Back then, London was a distinct place with its own walls. Which was to prove important during the Baron's War.

Westminster started out as an Abbey. (Westminster Abbey, remember?) In time it was chosen to be a royal enclave separate and a good distance from the troublesome city, with a palace and a center of administration.

So in 1222, they were like two separate towns. Rivalry was obviously keen, because when Westminster lost, their supporters rioted.

There, however, the similarities end.

The leaders were hanged and many of the others had their hands and feet chopped off.

I found no record of what happened at future matches, or whether there even were any.


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