Any Fact in This 'Story'?

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Any Fact in This 'Story'?

Post by miscreant »

I heard a quick blurb from a friend of mine that he had read somewhere, but can't remember where, that some nobleman hit Edward, the Black Prince, with a tennis ball and so thoroughly upset the prince that he had some of the man's lands taken away. Upon asking another friend he proposed these stories that he'd heard: One was in the intro to Walter Scott's Ivanhoe where the author, who was trying to come up with a good name or two for his book remembered a childhoold ryhme about 3 manors forfeited to the Prince by Lord Hampden for having hit him with his tennis racket,
"Tring, Wing and Ivanhoe, For striking a blow, Hampden did forgo, and glad he could escape so."
Now, what I find wrong with this story is that rackets weren't used until about the 16th century if I remember and in the beginning, around the Black Princes time, tennis was a game for commoners and somewhat looked down upon by the aristocracy. So, is there any historical documentation the Hampden possibly struck the Prince during an argument and that is where this story came from?
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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Any Fact in This 'Story'?

Post by Brother Ranulf »

I haven't read it, but I suspect it may feature in a novel titled "I Serve; A tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor [sic]".

Any resemblance to genuine English history is purely accidental (like the spelling of honour and using a comma before and). :wtf:
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Re: Any Fact in This 'Story'?

Post by RottenCad »

Brother Ranulf wrote:I haven't read it, but I suspect it may feature in a novel titled "I Serve; A tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor [sic]".

Any resemblance to genuine English history is purely accidental (like the spelling of honour and using a comma before and). :wtf:
Not an Oxford comma, evidently ...

I can't find evidence for racquets as opposed to gloves before C16 - although the OP refers to The Black Prince being hit by a ball, not a racquet as in the Ivanhoe example. I will keep digging.

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Re: Any Fact in This 'Story'?

Post by the real lord duvet »

this was obviously an attempt prior to the use of the superinjunction to put the press of the scent of a good story.

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Re: Any Fact in This 'Story'?

Post by Graham Field »

Not heard that before, but by coincidence, yesterday I was re-reading some information on games and sport, including tennis.

from The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England, 2008, Ian Mortimer pg 262
Law tennis is not wholly a nineteenth-century invention; its earlier 'real tennis' form comes to England in the late C14. Chaucer refers to it as being played with racquets in Troilus and Criseyde, and it is also mentioned in The Second Shepherds Play the most entertaining of the Wakefield Cycle of mystery plays. Do not expect to see a neat rectangular court marked with lines. You might not even have a racquet. The term 'tennis' refers to the server's exclamation as he serves. When played without a raquet it is called handball or jeu de paume.
This does state that raquets were used in the C14. If it did come from France in the late C14, then it could have been too late for Edward of Woodstock, unless it was present in Aquitaine at that time, or of course present in England before its mentioning above.
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Re: Any Fact in This 'Story'?

Post by randallmoffett »

Supposedly Louis X of France does in 1316 while playing real tennis. So it certainly could have been played by the time of the Black Prince. That said I have read through many royal records during the period and while some do of course have lands stripped during Edward III's reign I do not see any links to tennis. After Edward II's land grabs such behavior would run against much of what Edward III worked hard to accomplish the first 30-40 years of his reign so my feeling is this is another one of those historical myths.

The Black Prince does go down to Limoges and basically strip several of their rights there but he was well within his rights to do so and this was not over a game of tennis.


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