The History of Modern Day Lawn Bowling
and beyond.

Charles lays down the Law!

No doubt at the urging of their masters, greenkeepers during the reign of Charles II began to get to grips with the task of providing a well grassed and level bowling surface which would be easy to control. This period also the King, together with his brother, James, Duke of York and George, Duke of Buckingham, attempt to formalise the game with a set of rules to replace the rag bag of ?local? rulings usually designed to cheat the unwary visitor out of his meagre savings. A preface to this innovatory document stated that the game should consist of five or seven points as might be agreed upon, four or six bowlers to constitute a set and from that we can deduce that the game had moved, or was about to move, away from the single confrontation into a team game.

                  This first attempt at controlling the game while no doubt finding favour with the more genteel upper classes, appeared to have little effect on the rough and ready masses. The sullied reputation of bowls and bowlers alike hardly became shining bright overnight and the game drifted on, despised by those good people who resisted its temptations and still a pastime outside the law. In Scotland however it was a different matter entirely. North of the border the game was never proscribed but neither did it fall into disrepute by the activities of its players and bowls flourished in an all together more healthy environment. It is to the Scots that all bowlers owe a debt of gratitude for rescuing their game and its revival, which led to the modern game we play today, stems from their influence and the discipline they brought to bowls. While in England the game continued its headlong rush into ignominy, the Scots assumed an altogether more civilized approach towards bowling and bowlers alike. Although records in Glasgow dating back to 1595 reveal that play was forbidden of the Sabbath, the game was never in danger of being outlawed nor ever regarded as a threat to the general well being of the country.

                                                       In his book, The Complete Bowler (Adam & Charles Black 1912), Charles A Manson credits Glasgow as being the birthplace of the game north of the border but, with James IV known to have enjoyed the occasional roll-up at Holyrood Palace, surely Edinburgh must also have a claim in that direction. One fact we can be certain of is that bowls took a very firm root in Scotland and was nurtured there as it never was in England

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Part 1
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Part 8
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The S.B.A. is born