Northamptonshire skittles can also be found in other parts of the East Midlands, such as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire. It is also known as hood skittles, or (locally) table skittles, and features a diamond of nine pins which the player attempts to knock down with a three cheeses, which should be made from the wood Lignum Vitae (I don’t know if the ones at the Kings Arms are made of this… but at least they are wooden and not plastic as is sometimes the case).
The table has a leather base with padded leather sides and a rope net over the top (hence hood skittles). This use of leather may be the reason for the variant of skittles in the area as workers from Northampton may have used the off-cuts from the shoe factories for the table.
If you want to try the game then this is the Kings Arms:
— words and pictures by Paul