Date of Award

Spring 1981

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Douglas G. Greene

Committee Director

Robert MacDonald

Committee Member

Charles Haws


Games and gaming provide insight into the lives of the people of the past. This thesis analyzes the games and gaming patterns of the aristocracy of Stuart England. This examination of gaming concentrates on the place of leisure games in the world of the elite. The study focuses on games suitable for inclement weather and includes both children's and adult's games from the period.

This thesis addresses three basic questions: 1) who were the gamesters, 2) when and where did they game, and 3) what games did they play and how did they play them? Answers to these questions have provided clues to several aspects of seventeenth century gaming in England. Traditional and customary gaming, regulation of gaming, professionalism in gaming, and the expansion of gaming locales and the intensity and frequency of play are prominent patterns which are investigated in this thesis. The study also provides a catalogue of the most popular games during the Stuart era. The rules, notable players, and history of the games are delinated.

Finally, the social context of Stuart England is examined as it relates to gaming. The political, economic, religious, and social turmoil of the era which includes the Civil Wars, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution, forms the background for an investigation of the gaming of the Stuart aristocracy. The conclusion is that leisure time use is directly keyed to the rapidly changing world of Stuart England.


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