'quoits' can also refer to...


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An outdoor game in which a ring, usually made of iron, is aimed at a target stuck in the ground, commonly a pin or a peg. It was played in England in the 14th century, and branded as illegal by a statute of 1388. It was considered that the game undermined archery practice and other forms of martial preparation at a time of elongated war with the French. The game's popularity persisted, despite the legislation, and it was one of the activities common to the festivities of holiday times such as Easter in the later 18th century. In the early 1800s, as Robert Malcolmson documents, drawing on a source describing the ‘agriculture of Derbyshire’, ‘Quoits seemed a very prevalent amusement of the lower and more idle part of the manufacturing People, at the Ale-house Doors, in the north of the county, about Sheffield in particular’ (Popular Recreations in English Society, 1700–1850, 1973). At the same time, the tin miners of Cornwall in south-west England were observed to practise quoits among their ‘idle exercises’. In the north and eastern regions of England, often in mining communities, and in Scotland, the sport remained visible into the modern industrial period as far as the 1930s. Part of its popularity lay in its flexibility: it could be played between pairs, teams, or individuals, the scoring system could be decided between participants, and it could be played in and among what historians have called ‘casual social gatherings’ outside or in the vicinity of public or communal spaces such as alehouses or taverns.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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