May 28, 2010, 11:17 a.m. (ET)


The sport we love has an interesting name, but have you ever wondered where the word originated?  The word “badminton” came from the villages of Great and Little Badminton in Gloucestershire, England, whose existence was first recorded in 972AD.  A classic example of a rare English location name, the spelling then was BADIMYNCG TUN which has been translated as Beadmund’s farm or Baeddas mint farm.  The surname dates from much later and most likely would have been given to people from the Badmintons after they had left those villages. 


To the north of the main village of Badminton is the small rural settlement of Little Badminton , ninety-three miles west of London.  One can see farm houses, cottages, and estate lodges very much in the traditional Cotswold style of architecture.  Remains of a medieval “sunken village” can be seen in Little Badminton. 


Today the village of Badminton is famous for its horse trials which take place in early May each year in the grounds of the Duke of Beaufort’s residence, Badminton House. The house has been the seat of the Dukes of Beaufort since the late 17th century when the family moved into it.  Badminton House is not open to the public, but the National Badminton Museum arranges a visit each year which is restricted to Friends of the Museum. 


Queen Mary stayed at Badminton House for much of World War II, and her staff occupied most of the building.  Badminton House is also very strongly associated with fox hunting.  Successive Dukes of Beaufort have been masters of the Beaufort Hunt which is probably one of the two most famous hunts in the United Kingdom.  The house was open to the public at one time, but is not as present.  It was the location for some scenes of the movies The Remains of the Day, 28 Days Later, and Pearl Harbor. 


The sport of badminton was re-introduced from British India and popularized at the house, hence the sport’s name.  The sport was launched in 1873, referred to as
”The Game of Badminton,” and the game’s official name became Badminton.  Until 1887, the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in British India.  The Bath Badminton Club standardized the rules and made the game applicable to English ideas.  The basic regulations were drawn up in 1887.  In 1893, the Badminton Association of England published the first set of rules according to these regulations, similar to today’s rules, and officially launched badminton in September of that year.  The All England Open Badminton Championships, the first badminton competition in the world, were started by them in 1899.