1893 text

Iron skates appear to have been introduced by the Dutch, as the name certainly was; but we learn from Fitzstephen that bone skates (although not so called) were used in London in the twelfth century.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

4 Annotations

First Reading

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Warrington has it that skating was introduced by the Cavaliers who had been with Charles II in Holland.

Becky Wallower  •  Link

Numerous examples of medieval and post medieval skates have been excavated from sites around the City (and indeed from across Britain - artefacts are found for example from the Anglo/Scandinavian period in York). These are of bone, usually a cow or horse metatarsal, which is polished to a smooth flat surface on one side. Sometimes there is a hole for a thong in one end for fastening the skate onto the shoe. Skating wasn't as we now know it, but more like cross country skiing, using poles to scoot along the ice. Bone skates feature in an exhibit in the new Medieval Galleries at the Museum of London.

'max dohle  •  Link

The Dutch word 'schaats' does not mean 'leg bone' (this is called a 'glis'). The Dutch imported the word 'schaats' (scate) from the French 'echasse', meaning stilt.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



  • Feb