Part of a medieval bone skate: 12th century

Part of a medieval bone skate: 12th century
3 0 c m
40cm
actual image size: 29cm x 22cm

Full image caption

Partial view of the base of a bone skate. This skate has been worn flat and shiny through use. The front of the skate (which is not seen in the image) has been shaped to a point. In 1173, William FitzStephen described how Londoners went skating on polished bone skates like this, when the marsh known as the Moor or Moorfields, on the north of the city, froze in winter. "When the great marsh which washes the northern walls of the city freezes, crowds of young men go out to play on the ice. Some of them fit shinbones of cattle on their feet, tying them round their ankles.They take a stick with an iron spike in their hands and strike it regularly on the ice, and are carried along as fast as a flying bird or a bolt from a catapult."

© Museum of London

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