Question from KG - Dicing and bowling in Henry VIII's reign
I have read that dicing and bowling were considered immoral in Henry VIII's reign, yet he and his courtiers enjoyed these activities. Would they have been judged for this, or was it socially (and religiously) acceptable?
Lots of things were considered immoral yet still indulged in by people at all levels of society. Fornication and adultery were certainly both immoral and illegal, yet a relatively large number of men of the sixteenth-century had illegitimate children, not least being Henry VIII himself. Gambling was considered immoral yet, again, large numbers of people at all levels of society engaged in gambling, even those of the lowest social ranks. The issue was no so much one of morality, but one of scandal. Most people in Tudor England, whether rich or poor, could engage in all sorts of immoral activities so long as they did not bring scandal upon themselves or those around them. Gambling and dicing, for example, were largely tolerated so long as the the gambler did not become so deeply in debt as to be unable to meet his other financial obligations. The wealthier one was, the more deeply in debt one might become due to gambling without incurring scandal. But there was a line, and going beyond that line usually had consequences. If scandal ensued, *then* the activity was deemed unacceptable for the individual involved in the scandal.
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