Banned by the authorities

James II's Act of Parliament of 6 March 1457 banned golf and football. The Act is the earliest known written evidence for the game in Scotland.

With a weak monarchy, powerful nobles and a constant threat of invasion, military training was compulsory for all males over 12. However, instead of practising archery, ordinary people preferred to spend their leisure time playing golf and football.

Dangerous and a nuisance

People often played in enclosed public spaces, such as streets and churchyards. This was considered dangerous and a nuisance, as well as 'unprofitable'.

Golf and football were so widespread and popular that Parliament considered them a problem serious enough for legislation.

The 1457 ban was repeated in 1471 and 1491, so it could not have been entirely successful.

From a painting, man looking up at something, alarmed

The Sabbath Breakers

J C Dollman's painting of 'The Sabbath Breakers' shows golfers caught playing on the links by clergy.

Full image of 'The Sabbath Breakers' >

Part of a hand-written sheet

Perth Kirk Session minute book

Tells of 6 boys playing golf at Perth instead of being at church. The minute book records their punishment.

Full image of Perth Kirk Session minute book >