Book of Sports

The name given to a declaration of James I in 1617/8 in which he authorized, but did not command, the continuance of the old English Sunday—e.g., morris dancing, archery, vaulting, etc., following morning worship and midday meal. It was aimed at the “Puritan Sabbath” to which the declaration ascribed two evils-the hindering of the conversion of Roman Catholics because Protestantism seemed to be too austere, and the fact that it did not keep men healthy and ready to fight in war, but rather caused them to become drunken. The declaration was reissued in 1633 by Charles I when a determined Archbishop Laud* forced it upon many unwilling clergy: they had to read it in their churches or else face expulsion. It was burned in 1643 by the Long Parliament.