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Sports became increasingly popular in England and Ireland through the 17th century and there are several references to cricket and horse racing, while bare-knuckle boxing was revived. The interest of gamblers in these sports gave rise to professionalism. The first known attempts to organise football took place in Ireland.
Events of years in sports
|1001 to 1600 | 1601 to 1700 | 1701 to 1725 | 1726 to 1730|
- Having been firmly established in Spain and Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries, chess became increasingly fashionable in France which, by the end of the 17th century, was the main centre of European chess.
- c.1611 — the world's earliest known organised cricket match was played at Chevening, Kent between teams styled Weald and Upland and Chalkhill.
- 1611 to 1660 — numerous court cases concerning cricket.
- 10 September 1624 — death of Jasper Vinall (born c. 1590), the first cricketer known to die as a result of an injury received when playing the game.
- Village cricket thrived in the middle period of the 17th century, but there is no evidence of teams of county strength being formed at this time.
- c.1660 — in the wake of the English Restoration, the popularity of cricket as a gambling sport encouraged investment and patronage; the introduction of professional players and the formation of teams representative of multiple parishes, possibly whole counties, mark the beginning of an evolution from the level of village cricket towards a major standard.
- 1695 — Parliament decided against a renewal of the 1662 Licensing Act and so cleared the way for a free press on the Act's expiry in 1696; it is from this time that matters concerning cricket and other sports could be reported in the newspapers.
- 7 July 1697 — the Foreign Post reported a "A Great Match in Sussex" played for fifty guineas, the earliest known record of a top-class match.
- 1602 — Richard Carew described the game of "hurling to goals" being played in eastern Cornwall in his "Survey of Cornwall". The game had the earliest described rules requiring equal numbers, no playing of the ball on the ground, and banning the forward pass, with similarities to the modern game of american football.
- 17th century — football games grew in popularity and were widely played under the patronage of the gentry; games were organised between landlords with each team comprising 20 or more tenants and attracting wagers with purses of up to 100 guineas.
- 1670 — the earliest record of a recognised precursor to modern football dates from a match in County Meath in which catching and kicking the ball were permitted.
- 1695 — "foot-ball" is banned by the severe Sunday Observance Act, imposing a fine of one shilling (a substantial amount at the time) for those caught playing sports on the Sabbath but it proved difficult, if not impossible, for the authorities to enforce the Act.
- 1605 — Newmarket became known as the home of horse racing in England after its discovery by James I while out hawking or riding; the region has a long association with horses going back to the time of Boadicea and the Iceni.
- 1634 — by this time, spring and autumn race meetings had been introduced at Newmarket and the first Gold Cup event was held in 1634.
- 1654 — all horse racing banned by Oliver Cromwell and many horses requisitioned by the state.
- 1664 — following the Restoration, racing flourished and Charles II instituted the Newmarket Town Plate, writing the rules himself:
- "Articles ordered by His Majestie to be observed by all persons that put in horses to ride for the Plate, the new round heat at Newmarket set out on the first day of October, 1664, in the 16th year of our Sovereign Lord King Charles II, which Plate is to be rid for yearly, the second Thursday in October for ever".
- 15th–19th century — Native Americans played lacrosse to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, give thanks to the Creator and train for war in modern-day Canada and the United States.
- 1636 — Jean de Brébeuf, a French Jesuit missionary, watched a Huron game of lacrosse in what is now Ontario, and he noticed that the sticks resemble a bishop's crosier or "la crosse" in French.
- 400 Years of Olimpick Passion, Robert Dover's Games Society, archived from the original on 2010-06-06, retrieved 4 June 2010
- Williams, Jean (2009), "The Curious Mystery of the Cotswold 'Olimpick' Games: Did Shakespeare Know Dover ... and Does it Matter?", Sport in History, Routledge, 29 (2): 150–170, doi:10.1080/17460260902872602, S2CID 162367560
- Underdown, p. 4.
- McCann, pp. xxxiii–xxxiv.
- Altham, p. 23.
- Webber, p. 10.
- "Charles II, 1662: An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses". Statutes of the Realm: Volume 5. British History Online. 1628–80. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- Buckley, p. 1.
- McCann, p. 3.
- "Appleton Curling Club :: The History of Curling Info".
- Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin.
- Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell.
- McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society.
- Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9330-8.
- Webber, Roy (1960). The Phoenix History of Cricket. Phoenix.