King James I of England

James VI of Scotland 1567. James I 1603.

Born 1566. Died 1625.

A Contemporary Description





This Kings Character is much easier to take then his Picture, for he

could never be brought to sit for the taking of that, which is the

reason of so few good peeces of him; but his Character was obvious to

every eye.

James Ist

He was of a middle stature, more corpulent through his cloathes then

in his body, yet fat enough, his cloathes ever being made large and

easie, the Doublets quilted for steletto proofe, his Breeches in great

pleites and full stuffed: Hee was naturally of a timorous disposition,

which was the reason of his quilted Doublets: His eyes large, ever

rowling after any stranger came in his presence, insomuch, as many

for shame have left the roome, as being out of countenance: His Beard

was very thin: His Tongue too large for his mouth, which ever made

him speak full in the mouth, and made him drink very uncomely, as if

eating his drink, which came out into the cup of each side of his

mouth: His skin was as soft as Taffeta Sarsnet, which felt so, because

hee never washt his hands, onely rubb’d his fingers ends slightly with

the wet end of a Naptkin: His Legs were very weake, having had (as was

thought) some foul play in his youth, or rather before he was born,

that he was not able to stand at seven years of age, that weaknesse

made him ever leaning on other mens shoulders, his walke was ever

circular …

James I

He was very temperate in his exercises, and in his dyet,

and not intemperate in his drinking; however in his old age, and

_Buckinghams_ joviall Suppers, when he had any turne to doe with

him, made him sometimes overtaken, which he would the very next day

remember, and repent with teares; it is true, he dranke very often,

which was rather out of a custom then any delight, and his drinks were

of that kind for strength, as Frontiniack, Canary, High Country wine,

Tent Wine, and Scottish Ale, that had he not had a very strong brain,

might have daily been overtaken, although he seldom drank at any

one time above four spoonfulls, many times not above one or two…

Mob Football

Unknown malefactors to the number of over one hundred assembled themselves unlawfully and played a certain unlawful game called football, by means of which there was amongst them a great affray, likely to result in homicides and serious accident.’

Quarter Session Records of the County of Middlesex 1576

Mob Football

Mob Football

They get the bladder and blowe it great and thin, with many beanes and peason put within, It ratleth, shineth and soundeth clere and fayre, While it is throwen and caste up in the eyre, Eche one contendeth and hath a great delite, with foote and hande the bladder for to smite, if it fall to the ground they lifte it up again… Overcometh the winter with driving the foote-ball.’

In 1526 King Henry VIII ordered a pair of leather football boots. It is not hard to imagine this king playing such a violent game for fun even though it was later categorised as unlawful.

The aim of the game was to get the ball from a middle point to one or other side’s ‘home’ point through kicking, punching, tripping and generally beating up your opponent. In London in the 16th Century the game was usually played between the apprentices of London and the apprentices of Westminster.

In 1615, James I was treated to a match in Wiltshire causing him to announce – ‘From this court I debarre all rough and violent exercises, as the foot-ball, meeter for lameing than making able the users thereof.’

And a few years later, a young Oliver Cromwell was described as ‘one of the chief matchmakers and players of football’ at Cambridge University.

The sturdie plowmen lustie, strong and bold,

Overcometh the winter with driving the foote-ball,

Forgetting labour and many a grievous fall.