Fun and games

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Features, Issue 3 (May/June 2012), Volume 20

Fun and games 1Hervey organised elaborate games and competitions between local clergymen, inviting his most overweight vicars to splendid dinners without portion control and then ordering after-dinner races over bogland, or calling for jumping competitions on full stomachs. For his delight, he organised cross-community horse-racing along Downhill strand, pitting lean and fit Presbyterians against his own overfed ministers and enjoying the spectacle of hurt pride when his own clergy lost, as they always did. He delighted in games of all kinds, and was known to scatter flour on the floor of the servants’ wing of his mansion, for the prurient delight of discovering who was sleeping with whom. He loved a good scandal, and when none was apparent did his best to provoke one.

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