A version of badminton has been played since the times of Ancient Greece, with so-called ‘battledore and shuttlecock’ one of the oldest known racket sports. It became a popular sport among the upper class in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, and author Jane Austen wrote about playing it with her nephews in the early 19th century. Battledores (rackets) had parchment or leather stretched across the wooden frames and a wooden handle. Shuttlecocks were made with a cork core and feathers – a similar design to the ones used today.
Battledore and shuttlecock was also known as by its French name, ‘jeu de volant’