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Aristocratic Sports – Victorian Era

Below is a detailed article speaking about the Aristocratic Sports in the Victorian Era as well as modern-day England. Let us discuss a few sports below.

What is aristocracy?

Aristocracy refers to the high class of certain societies. They are special people that hold authority or power over others and are considered noble subjects. It is basically a high social rank which includes the ruling class. These titles are usually hereditary and in some cases held by offices as well.

The aristocracy in England is called the British nobility. Its origins can be traced right back to the Roman era in England.  It is not uncommon even today.

What are some Aristocratic Sports?

The sports played and enjoyed by the aristocratic society which is the gentry of England included Badminton, croquet, polo. It also includes hunting for pleasure. The royal family in England has always encouraged the development of sports in England and made wide contributions to its culture.

Badminton itself is an English game played by British officers. It helps them use their sense of projectile and sharpen focus. This was primarily the reason the game became so popular. The Wimbledon tournament in England is dedicated to making badminton a worldwide global sport by the British. It is an ancient game originating before the Victorian era.

The croquet has a French origin clearly seen in the name. It reached England and gained its popularity in the Victorian era, specifically during the 1850s. It may have entered England during the Norman invasions. The word croquet refers to ‘hook’ which basically refers to the nature of the sport – striking the ball into the hook.

The game polo originates in Central Asia and entered the United Kingdom during 1842 when English Cricketer and world traveller Godfrey Thomas Vigne travelled to Asia and in northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The British showed enthusiasm in adopting polo as an aristocratic sport and was played by members of the British Army.

Hunting was also amongst a popular sport in Victorian times. It was not abnormal to hear someone say ‘ Looks like a good day to kill something!’ The green cover during the Victorian era was full of deers and foxes. Many aristocrats hired a hunter and enjoyed their act of hunting. The shooting with a gun was popular and it was found obnoxious when a man never shot or was afraid of the gun.

Effect of Sports on the Aristocratic life

Most Britishers during the Victorian Era were always dedicated to the pleasures of sports. Special arrangements were made that the upper classes enjoyed their weekend with hunting or a game of badminton. Game laws differed from place to place. Sports were so important that a tournament date was given utmost priority. Marriages or divorce or any other significant event was postponed or preponed depending on the date of the tournament.

Scotland was full of court officials and colonels from August onwards for the purpose of hunting. Fox hunting was popular in Scotland and went on from August until February. Therefore, most of the houses and estates, including castles and palaces were built at a place where the proximity to the forest was least.

Sports costumes in aristocratic life were different for different sports. Not only that, there was a different diet maintained for different sports played by men. For example, horse riders ate the least to remain lightly weight on the horse and badminton and cricket players ate more comparatively due to long hours in the sun and requirement of increased stamina.

These opened new job opportunities for the lower classes. The aristocrats paid a good sum to the owners of the horses, the caretakers, ground keepers, the cleaners, consultants, etc. Thus it not only affected aristocratic life but also the life of the lower class.

Aristocratic sports also became a matter of political importance. There was a division of teams on the basis of many factors such as political parties, places, counties, townships and more. Therefore, there was an interest shown by huge masses in the Victorian era.

The Victorian sports life was a huge deal as it encompasses the change of cultures, construction of new sports ground and structures, reforms in laws and regulation and many other such factors.