EBK Activity Sheets


Leisure Activities
What the Saxons did in their Spare Time

Playing Taefel -  Nash Ford Publishing
  • Anglo-Saxons probably didn't have much spare time, but the richer you were, the more you had.

  • Children liked playing all sorts of games and with all kinds of toys.

  • Sports were very popular with adults: hunting, falconry, swimming, ice-skating, horse and dog racing. Horse racing is mentioned in the 'Beowulf' poem.

  • People liked playing dice and knucklebones (or fives). Fun board games included merels (nine men's morris), tabula (backgammon) and taefel (the king's board). Chess was known, but not very popular.

  • Music and dancing were a big part of Saxon life. People liked to sing and play bells, flutes, horns, trumpets, even organs, but particularly pipes (including pan-pipes). Harps have been found in rich graves like those at Sutton Hoo and Taplow.

  • Just like today, women liked to spend time making themselves look pretty and men liked to boast and tell tall stories. This is also mentioned in the 'Beowulf' poem.

  • And everyone liked to get drunk!

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