With working hours that traditionally aligned to the hours of daylight, the time available for pastimes and sports was, at best, limited to the Breton peasants of days gone by. This narrow opportunity was further limited by the often isolated nature of rural dwellings and the poor transport infrastructure that connected communities. It is therefore unsurprising that people took full advantage of the chances offered by major communal events and celebrations, such as weddings, saint’s pardons and quarterly markets, to amuse themselves in competitive field sports and games of strength and skill.
I do not propose to detail all the outdoor sports that were once so popular across the breadth of rural Brittany; many of the old favourites, such as horse racing and hunting, remain prevalent and little changed to this day. Others, such as the regional versions of shuffleboard, boules, bowls and skittles or tug-o-war were similar enough to…
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