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Bowled Over

Front cover for Bowled Over

The bowling greens of Britain

Paperback by Hugh Hornby


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Bowls is one of Britain's oldest sports, first recorded in the 13th century and played on thousands of greens spread across the nation, several of them hundreds of years old.

In Bowled Over, bowls historian Hugh Hornby traces the history of the game and its central place in British culture - from Sir Francis Drake and Charles I to the pristine suburban clubs of 21st century Britain and the indoor greens of modern holiday camps. He explains how different codes of bowling have emerged since Elizabethan times in different parts of the country; for example crown green bowls in Lancashire and Yorkshire, with its undulating greens, professional competitions and gambling culture, and flat green or rink bowls in southern England and Scotland, with its measured formality and amateur ethos.

Profusely illustrated with specially commissioned mapping, Bowled Over is the first study of this kind ever undertaken and in the spirit of the Played in Britain series overall brings to life a popular, yet little understood national pastime.


  1. Introduction
  2. The geography of bowls in Britain
  3. What is a bowling green?
  4. Medieval history / pre 1500
  5. Tudor - Stuart / 16th - 17th centuries
  6. Georgian / 18th century
  7. Victorian / 19th century
  8. Modern / 20th century
  9. Indoor bowls
  10. Equipment
  11. Greens and maintenance
  12. Rules
  13. Conclusions

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £18.99
  • Series: Sporting Heritage
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Paperback
  • Physical Size: 210 x 210
  • Pages: 232
  • Illustration: 500, colour
  • ISBN: 9781848024980


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Bowled Over image gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Barnes Bowling Club, London – demonstrating how bias works
  • Valentines Park, Redbridge
  • Carisbrooke Castle – Charles I regularly bowled while under house arrest
  • Bowling green overlooked by Lewes Castle
  • A Lewes jack (left), smaller and with flatter sides, compared with a standard biased crown green jack (on the right)
  • Lewes Bowling green as viewed from Lewes Castle keep
  • Knights Competition medals displayed at Southampton (Old) Bowling Green Club
  • Aerial view of Framlingham Castle and Framlingham Bowling Club seen to the left below the castle
  • Georgian gentlemen enjoy a game of bowls, as depicted on a copper panel created by FT Callcott for the Grade II listed Black Lion on Kilburn High Road, London
  • Grade II listed Bowling Green House at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
  • Entrance to North London Bowling Club, Hampstead Heath, London
  • Paddington Sports Club hidden away, housing the indoor bowling centre

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