Tennis Around The Time Of Thomas Gresham: Webinar

Oct. 7, 2020: 19:30 - 20:15

In 1561, Thomas Gresham provided “bridging finance” and sanctuary in Antwerp to a young travelling spendthrift, Thomas Cecil; William Cecil’s son. “I see, in the end,” said the disapproving father in one of his letters:

“my sone shall come home lyke a spendyng sott, mete to kepe a tenniss court.”

This seems to be the only mention of tennis to be found in any biography of Thomas Gresham to date. Tennis does not seem to have been a big thing to Thomas Gresham. But it was a very big thing to the Cecil family and it was a big thing in Tudor times.

So why did William Cecil, a massive tennis fan, write in such disparaging tones about tennis in this context? And how on earth did this minor Cecil family intergenerational gripe find its way, some 40 years later, into a subplot of Hamlet?

Ian Harris will use the link between Thomas Gresham and the Cecil family to help describe Renaissance tennis and introduce us to some of the colourful real characters who helped to make the world of Tudor tennis what it is today.

You can read Ian's blog coverage of the event and view the recording here

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