Riding The Quintain

This looks like an early example of a couple of selfie sticks but the hobby horses are the giveaway. This is a couple of young boys playing at being knights, aiming to unseat their opponent in safety.

This is the next stage. A youth attempting to hit a target without falling off his horse.

All this fell into disuse when gunpowder was introduced from China and weaponry became more destructive.

In 1677 Dr Robert Plot wrote about his home county of Oxfordshire where he saw the ancient sport of riding the Quintain at Deddington when it was only on request at weddings.

“Set up in the way for young men to ride at as they carry home the bride, he that breaks the board being counted the best man.”

A century before, it had ceased to be a military exercise and was become a rustic pastime.

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