people of the Middle Ages shared a common life in the work of the fields, in
the sports of the village green, and in the services of the parish church.
They enjoyed many holidays; it has been estimated that, besides Sundays,
about eight weeks in every year were free from work. Festivities at
Christmas, Easter, and May Day, at the end of ploughing and the completion
of harvest, relieved the monotony of the daily round of labor.
Entertainment in the Middle Ages - The Entertainers
Who were the people who provided the entertainment during the Middle Ages?
The Medieval entertainers of the Middle Ages included Jesters (A fool
or buffoon at medieval courts), Mummers (Masked or costumed merrymaker or
dancers at festivals),
Troubadours, acrobats and jugglers and conjurers.
Games and Entertainment in the Middle Ages
Medieval Games of the Middle Ages were popular in all walks of society.
Games were played by the Upper classes and the Lower classes. By adults and
children. Different types of Games and entertainment fell into a number of
different categories including Card Games, Board Games, Dice Games, Sporting
Games and Children's games.
The following board games were played and
enjoyed as entertainment during the Middle Ages:
- Tables - Backgammon
- Nine Men's Morris
- Alquerques - A classic period strategy game, an
ancestor of Checkers
- Fox & Geese - a game of strategy
- The Philosophers Game - a game of strategy and numbers
- Shovelboard - the ancestor of shuffleboard
- Knucklebones - Early game of dice
- Hazard - an ancestor of Craps
Outdoor Entertainment in the Middle Ages
Outdoor Entertainment during the Middle Ages centred around the Village
Green and at local fairs and included a variety of Medieval Sports:
- Archery - Archery contests were especially popular
- Colf - the ancestor of Golf
- Gameball - a simple football game
- Hurling or Shinty - a similar game to hockey
- Horseshoes - throwing horseshoes at a target
- Quarter-staff contests
- Skittles - an ancestor of modern ten-pin bowling
- Stoolball - an ancestor of Cricket
Outdoor entertainment also included the practises of certain festivals
including May Day when people danced around a maypole and choose a May
Queen. Religious plays were re-enacted by the Mummers.
Entertainment for Rich People in the Middle Ages
Entertainment for rich people centred around the spectacles of jousting and
feasts or banquets. The Medieval Period of the Middle Ages was becoming more
refined and elegant and the concept of courtly love was introduced and
displayed at both tournaments and jousts. The sumptuous feasts and banquets
also provided entertainment for rich people during the Middle Ages. During
the feast musicians would play and provide musical entertainment. After
feasting entertainment might be provided by minstrels, troubadours, jesters,
acrobats, fire-eaters and conjurers. The dance was also important as part of
'courtly love' entertainment. Knights were expected not only to fight but
also to dance. Also refer to
Food for a King and
Jousting in the Middle