View Full Version : Help! Trying to learn 1600's game of billiards

07-10-2005, 11:23 AM
In the book "The Compleat Gamester" 1674, it shows a picture of an old billiard table with two hoops or arches (ports) on the table. I guess you would shoot your ball through one or both of these hoops (ports) to score points.

The text in this book, which is difficult to understand, mentions hitting the ball to in turn hit the port which will then change the direction the port is facing.

Question: Were these hoops or arches (ports) just resting on the table? (And not fastened to the table.)

One rule says: "...he must STRING his ball, that is, lay it EVEN with the KING."

What does "string" mean?

What does "lay it even" mean?

What is the "king"?

Question: Rule 8 says: He that hazards his Adversarie's Ball, or makes it hit down the King, winneth the END.

What does "winneth the end" mean? (as opposed to scoring a point?)

Rule 6 is funny: "He that is a Fornicator (that is, hath past through the back of the Port) he must pass twice through the fore-part, or he cannot have the advantage of passing that end.

Are the rules of this 1600's game of billiards explained anywhere (in modern English) on the internet?

07-10-2005, 11:38 AM
In English Billiards stringing is what you would call lagging. We put that around pipes.

Another thing to remember is the very early billiards game resembled croquet, and may simply have been an indoor version. Google for this to understand the concepts, like having to pass through the hoop in the correct direction.

Some other terms can be found here.
English Billiards & Snooker Terms (http://www.snookergames.co.uk/glossary7.html#s)

Boro Nut

07-11-2005, 08:07 AM
OK, I found the rules of billiards from the 1600's online at the following two web sites. Does anyone understand how this game was played?

See "Holme (1688)" [top of web page]

Page 11 - See "Upon Billiards"...