QUOITS - THE OLDEST GAME STILL PLAYED IN THE AREA
Quoits is one of the most ancient games played in the North of England and is reputed to have been played in the reign of King John (1199 - 1216) though probably not in its present form.
Forget your rope rings and rubber quoits; these are the genuine article.
The standard dimensions of the quoits used in this area are 8 1/2 inches outside diameter with a 5 1/2 inch hole and 5 1/4 pounds (2.4kg) in weight.
The quoits are shaped with a slightly concave bottom and are described as having a ‘hill’ side and a ‘hole’ side.
These heavy steel rings are designed to be thrown 11 yards into traditional clay pits at a stake protruding 4 inches above the surface of the clay. Quoits is clearly not a game for the faint hearted and when you pick up your first quoit and feel the solid weight, it is easy to understand that quoits were thought to be originally used as weapons of war and for hunting.
This ancient game is alive and well in these modern times and a number of leagues in the area play on a regular basis. These include the Whitby Rifle Club Indoor League, the Danby Invitation League, the North Yorkshire Moors League and the Cleveland League, to name just four. The ringing sound of the steel quoit as it hits the metal pin is a familiar sound on balmy summer evenings in the North Yorkshire Moors villages surrounding Whitby.
The Rifle Club indoor league runs from October each year to the following April. Games are played on Monday nights when visitors are welcome to come and watch. With matches being played on four pitches there is always plenty to see. Whilst the rules of the game are simple, members are always happy to explain the finer points of the game.