Real tennis was played in Southampton from at least the late 15th century; a document of 1486 mentions a ‘tennis playing place’ but is not specific as to location. Corporation deeds of 1530 mention a tennis court, ‘Le Tenys play’, on the west side of French Street one block south of the tenement called The Vernacle. Court Leet records of 1550 mention a tennis court kept by Thomas Muckelow junior, which is probably the same French Street court mentioned above. Presentments to the Court Leet in 1569 show that Robert Vautier was keeping a tennis court, but it is not clear if this was on the French Street site or in another part of the town.
‘Tennis in Southampton in the 16th Century’, by Elizabeth Rothery, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, No.3,Spring 1992, p17-19. (HS/h)
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