Hurling or Hurling the Silver Ball (Cornish: Hurlian), is an outdoor team game played only in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is played with a small silver ball. Hurling is not to be confused with the Irish game, also known as hurling. There are profound differences between the two sports.
Once played widely in Cornwall, the game has similarities to other traditional football or inter parish 'mob' games, but certain attributes make this version unique to Cornwall. It is considered by many to be Cornwall's national game along with Cornish wrestling. An old saying in the Cornish language goes "hyrlîan yw gen gwaré nyi", which translated into English means "hurling is our sport"
In August, 1705, a fatality occurred during a hurling match at Camborne. The parish burials register contains the following entry 'William Trevarthen buried in the church. "Being disstroid to a hurling with Redruth men at the high dounes the 10th day of August". This is the only recorded death of a player during a hurling match.
Although the custom attracts fewer spectators, the annual hurling matches at St Columb Major have the same status in the Cornish calendar as the 'Obby 'Oss festival at Padstow and the Furry Dance at Helston in that all three are unique customs that have survived unchanged and have taken place annually since before records began.
The ball for hurling is made of sterling silver which is hammered into two hemispheres and then bound around a core of applewood which is held together with a band of silver. The band hold screws or nails which hold the ball together. In St Columb the ball was crafted for a few years by John Turver, although since the 1990s, the ball has been made by local craftsman Colin Rescorla. The winner of the ball has the right to keep it, but must have a new one made in its place for the next game. The price of a new ball is said to be around £1000, depending on the price of silver at the time. The current inscription on the St Columb ball is "Town and Country, Do your best", which derives from the motto: "Town and Country - do your best - for in this parish - I must rest".
The ball weighs just over a pound but there is no definitive size or weight, as the ball is handmade, but generally the weight is about 19 to 21 ounces (~ 570 grams) and is equal in size to a cricket ball (i.e. a sphere about 9 inches or 23 cm in circumference).
There are examples of hurling balls on public display at Truro Museum, Lanhydrock House, St Ives Museum, St Agnes Museum and St. Columb Major Town Hall. Many are also held in private hands. One held at Penzance Museum is thought to be very old and bears the following inscription in the Cornish language: Paul Tuz whek Gwaro Tek heb ate buz Henwis. 1704 The first two words signify "Men of Paul", i.e., the owners of the ball. The last seven words may be translated literally (retaining the word order of the engraving) into English as "sweet play fair without hate to be called", which may be roughly translated as: "Fair play is good play."
Little is recorded of the sport until about the 16th century when contests were generally between groups of men from two parishes. At this point there were two forms of the game, according to Carew's Survey of Cornwall (1602). "Hurling to goals" was played on a pitch similar to that of modern-day association football, and had many strict rules, similar to those of football and rugby; this was common in the east of the county. "Hurling to country", however, was often played over large areas of countryside and despite its name also involved goals; this was common in the west of the county. This had few rules and was more similar to the St Columb game of modern times (see below). Inter-parish matches died out towards the end of the 18th century but matches between different sections of the same township continued. At St Ives those named Tom, Will and John formed a team to play against those with other names on the Monday after Quadragesima. At Truro a team of married men played against a team of bachelors, and at Helston the men of two particular streets played against the men of the others. The field of the St Ives game has been changed twice, first to the beach, and in 1939 to the public park.
Hurling is very similar to the game of cnapan; a form of medieval football played until the nineteenth century in the southwestern counties of Wales, especially Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. George Owen of Henllys (1552–1613) believed cnapan was played by the Celtic Britons. There is circumstantial evidence to support this claim. The Cornish, Welsh and Bretons of Brittany are historically descended from Romano-Britons who inhabited the Roman province of Britannia before the Anglo-Saxons incursions from the 5th century.
In Brittany, Normandy and Picardy a comparable game is known as la soule or choule. The earliest recorded game of Soule comes from Cornwall. Court records from 1283 show an entry in the plea rolls (No. 111) providing details of legal action taken when a man called Roger was accused of killing a fellow Soule player with a stone. (Medieval Cornwall by Leonard Elliott Elliott-Binns). Considering the clear similarities between Hyrlîan, Cnapan and La Soule, the common Brittonic languages, shared culture and ancestry it is likely these three sports evolved from the same game. The Romans are known to have played a ball game containing physical aspects of these sports called Harpastum. There is no hard evidence Harpastum continued to be played in Europe after the Western Roman Empire fell into decline although an alternative form was revived as Calcio Fiorentino during the renaissance in 16th century Tuscany. The Orkney 'Ba' Game', which has been played on Christmas Eve and Hogmanay every year since the mid-19th century, has some similarity to Cornish Hurling.
Up until the 19th century the game was still relatively common, with many Cornish towns and villages holding a match on feast and fair days, and games between St Columb Major and Newquay survived into the early 1900s. The town of Helston used to hold a hurl following the 'beating of the bounds', but the tradition there died out in the early 20th century.
The traditional St. Columb hurling matches take place on Shrove Tuesday and the second Saturday following. The usually rough game is played on the streets and in the surrounding countryside, between the Townsmen and Countrymen of the parish, with the shops in the town barricading their windows and doors to protect from accidental damage, which sometimes occurs. The aim of the game is to place the ball in respective goals that are set about two miles (3 km) apart, or take it across the Parish boundary. The objective is to control possession by running with the ball, passing, throwing, snatching and tackling.
The game starts with the throw-up in Market Square at 4:30 pm: a person chosen by the previous 'winner of the ball' climbs a stepladder and throws the ball to the crowd, usually followed by a large scrum.
Game play in the town normally lasts no longer than one hour; this period is non-competitive and the two teams are largely irrelevant: townsmen 'deal' the ball to countrymen and vice versa, whilst the tackles and scrums that occur are generally for amusement only. Play often stops for spectators to touch the ball, said to bring luck or fertility, or slows to allow younger players to participate.
At some point, usually after 45–60 minutes, a hurler or group of team-mates make a 'break' towards their goal or part of the parish boundary. The ball might go anywhere in the parish: sometimes play keeps to roads, though often hurlers go through fields, rivers, woods and farmyards, scrambling over hedges and ditches. In this latter stage of the match the two sides strive for possession, and the actual "Town against Country" hurling takes place. Sometimes hurls are won by a team effort, but occasionally a single hurler may attain the ball in the town and manage to run all the way to the goal or boundary without being caught by any of the opposition.
The 'winner of the ball' (the hurler that goals the ball or carries it over the boundary) is carried on the shoulders of two team-mates back to Market Square, while the victorious side sing the traditional hurling song. Here he declares "Town Ball" or "Country Ball".
At 8:00 pm, the winner returns to Market Square to call up the ball again. This is followed by a visit to each of the public houses of the town, where the ball is immersed in gallon jugs filled with beer. Each gallon will be called up and the 'silver beer' (as it is known), is shared amongst all those present.
The annual St. Ives hurling match happens on Feast Monday each February (the feast is on the Sunday nearest to 3 February). The game starts at 10.30am when the silver ball is thrown from the wall of the Parish Church by the Mayor to the crowd below on the beach. The ball is passed from one to another on the beach and then up into the streets of St. Ives. The person in possession of the ball when the clock strikes noon takes it to the Mayor at the Guildhall and receives the traditional reward of five shillings. At one time the game was played by the men of the village. These days it is played by the children.
Hurling survives as a traditional as part of Beating the bounds at Bodmin, commencing at the close of the 'Beat'. The game is organised by the Rotary Club of Bodmin. The game is started by the Mayor of Bodmin throwing a silver ball into a body of water known as the "Salting Pool". There are no teams and the hurl follows a set route. The aim is to carry the ball from the "Salting Pool" via the old A30, along Callywith Road, then through Castle Street, Church Square and Honey Street, to finish at the Turret Clock in Fore Street. The participant carrying the ball when it reaches the turret clock receives a £10 reward from the Mayor. The last Bodmin Hurl took place in March, 2015 following the beating the bounds, and is unlikely to take place again until 2020.
On Craddock Moor, near Minions, are "The Hurlers". These consist of three separate Bronze Age stone circles with thirteen, seventeen and nine surviving stones. Local tradition maintains that they are men turned to stone for profaning the Lords Day by taking part in a hurling match. The arrangement of the stones led to the name and was recorded as far back as 1584 by John Norden.
According to the law, or when the ball to throw;
And drive it to the gole, in squadrons forth they goe;
And to avoid the troupes (their forces that forlay);
Through dykes and rivers make, in the rubustious play;
Bodmin (Cornish: Bosvena) is a civil parish and historic town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated south-west of Bodmin Moor.The extent of the civil parish corresponds fairly closely to that of the town so is mostly urban in character. It is bordered to the east by Cardinham parish, to the southeast by Lanhydrock parish, to the southwest and west by Lanivet parish, and to the north by Helland parish.Bodmin had a population of 14,736 as of the 2011 Census. It was formerly the county town of Cornwall until the Crown Courts moved to Truro which is also the administrative centre (before 1835 the county town was Launceston). Bodmin was in the administrative North Cornwall District until local government reorganisation in 2009 abolished the District (see also Cornwall Council). The town is part of the North Cornwall parliamentary constituency, which is represented by Scott Mann MP.
Bodmin Town Council is made up of sixteen councillors who are elected to serve a term of four years. Each year, the Council elects one of its number as Mayor to serve as the town's civic leader and to chair council meetings.Crowns (band)
Crowns were a folk punk band from Launceston, Cornwall, formed in 2010. The band consisted of lead singer and guitarist Bill Jefferson, bass player Jake Butler, mandolinist Jack Speckleton and drummer Rob Ramplin (replaced Nathan Haynes in 2013).Football pitch
A football pitch (also known as a football field or soccer field) is the playing surface for the game of association football. Its dimensions and markings are defined by Law 1 of the Laws of the Game, "The Field of Play". The surface can either be natural or artificial. Artificial surfaces must be green in colour. The pitch is typically made of turf (grass) or artificial turf, although amateur and recreational teams often play on dirt fields.
All line markings on the pitch form part of the area which they define. For example, a ball on or above the touchline is still on the field of play, and a foul committed over the line bounding the penalty area results in a penalty. Therefore, a ball must completely cross the touchline to be out of play, and a ball must wholly cross the goal line (between the goal posts) before a goal is scored; if any part of the ball is still on or above the line, the ball is still in play.
The field descriptions that apply to adult matches are described below. Note that due to the original formulation of the Laws in England and the early supremacy of the four British football associations within IFAB, the standard dimensions of a football pitch were originally expressed in imperial units. The Laws now express dimensions with approximate metric equivalents (followed by traditional units in brackets), but use of the imperial units remains common in some countries, especially in the United Kingdom.Gorsedh Kernow
Gorsedh Kernow (Cornish Gorsedd) is a non-political Cornish organisation, based in Cornwall, United Kingdom, which exists to maintain the national Celtic spirit of Cornwall. It is based on the Welsh-based Gorsedd, which was founded by Iolo Morganwg in 1792.Institute of Cornish Studies
The Institute of Cornish Studies (ICS) is a research institute in west Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, affiliated with the University of Exeter. Formerly at Pool, near Redruth, then in Truro, it is now on the Penryn Campus near Penryn, Cornwall.Kī-o-rahi
Kī-o-rahi is a ball sport played in New Zealand with a small round ball called a 'kī'. It is a fast-paced game incorporating skills similar to rugby union, netball and touch. Two teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the 'pou' (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' or target. The game is played with varying rules (e.g. number of people, size of field, tag ripping rules etc.) depending on the geographic area it is played in. A process called Tatu, before the game, determines which rules the two teams will use.
In 2005 kī-o-rahi was chosen to represent New Zealand by global fast-food chain McDonald's as part of its 'Passport to Play' programme to teach physical play activities in 31,000 American schools.
The programme will give instruction in 15 ethnic games to seven million primary school children.The New Zealand kī-o-rahi representative organisation, Kī-o-Rahi Akotanga Iho, formed with men's and women's national teams, completed a 14 match tour of Europe in September and October 2010. The men's team included 22-test All Black veteran Wayne Shelford who led the team to a 57–10 test win against Kī-o-Rahi Dieppe Organisation, the French Kī-o-Rahi federation.
Shelford's kī-o-rahi test jersey made him the first kī-o-rahi/rugby double international for NZ. The women's team coached by Andrea Cameron (Head of PE at Tikipunga High School) also won by 33–0. These were the first historic test matches between NZ and France.List of sports
The following is a list of sports/games, divided by category.
According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games.Medieval football
"Medieval football" is a modern term used for a wide variety of localised football games which were invented and played in Europe during the Middle Ages. Alternative names include folk football, mob football and Shrovetide football. These games may be regarded as the ancestors of modern codes of football, and by comparison with later forms of football, the medieval matches were chaotic and had few rules.
The Middle Ages saw a rise in popularity of games played annually at Shrovetide throughout Europe, particularly in Great Britain. The games played in England at this time may have arrived with the Roman occupation but there is little evidence to indicate this. Certainly the Romans played ball games, in particular Harpastum. There is also one reference to ball games being played in southern Britain prior to the Norman Conquest. In the ninth century Nennius's Historia Britonum tells that a group of boys were playing at ball (pilae ludus). The origin of this account is either Southern England or Wales. References to a ball game played in northern France known as La Soule or Choule, in which the ball was propelled by hands, feet, and sticks, date from the 12th century.These archaic forms of football, typically classified as mob football, would be played between neighbouring towns and villages, involving an unlimited number of players on opposing teams, who would clash in a heaving mass of people struggling to drag an inflated pig's bladder by any means possible to markers at each end of a town. By some accounts, in some such events any means could be used to move the ball towards the goal, as long as it did not lead to manslaughter or murder. Sometimes instead of markers, the teams would attempt to kick the bladder into the balcony of the opponents' church. A legend that these games in England evolved from a more ancient and bloody ritual of kicking the "Dane's head" is unlikely to be true. These antiquated games went into sharp decline in the 19th century when the Highway Act 1835 was passed banning the playing of football on public highways. In spite of this, games continued to be played in some parts of the United Kingdom and still survive in a number of towns, notably the Ba game played at Christmas and New Year at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands Scotland, Uppies and Downies over Easter at Workington in Cumbria, and the Royal Shrovetide Football Match on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, England.Few images of medieval football survive. One engraving from the early fourteenth century at Gloucester Cathedral, England, clearly shows two young men running vigorously towards each other with a ball in mid-air between them. There is a hint that the players may be using their hands to strike the ball. A second medieval image in the British Museum, London clearly shows a group of men with a large ball on the ground. The ball clearly has a seam where leather has been sewn together. It is unclear exactly what is happening in this set of three images, although the last image appears to show a man with a broken arm. It is likely that this image highlights the dangers of some medieval football games.Most of the very early references to the game speak simply of "ball play" or "playing at ball". This reinforces the idea that the games played at the time did not necessarily involve a ball being kicked.National Theatre of Cornwall
The National Theatre of Cornwall, or Cornish National Theatre, is a new theatre company proposed by Cornwall Council.Nickanan Night
Nickanan Night (sometimes called Hall Monday or Peasen Monday) is a Cornish feast, traditionally held during Shrovetide, specifically on the Monday before Lent.Sometimes called roguery night in West Cornwall, England, UK, this event was an excuse for local youths to undertake acts of minor vandalism and play practical jokes on neighbours and family. The name Nickanan may come from the practice of knocking on doors and running away which is known as 'Nicky nicky nine doors' in some parts of the English-speaking world. The eating of pea soup and salt bacon was also associated with this date.Outline of Cornwall
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Cornwall:
Cornwall – ceremonial county and unitary authority area of England within the United Kingdom. Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall is also a royal duchy of the United Kingdom. It has an estimated population of half a million and it has its own distinctive history and culture.Rugby union in Cornwall
Rugby union in Cornwall is one of the county's most popular sports and has a large following in Cornwall. The followers of the county side are dubbed Trelawny's Army. In 1991 and 1999 Cornwall made the County Championships finals, played at Twickenham Stadium, with Cornwall beating first Yorkshire and in 1999 Gloucestershire to win the cup.
Cornish rugby has produced many fine rugby players who have played at the international level, including Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman, (both England), Brian 'Stack' Stevens (England and British and Irish Lions), Graham Dawe (England), along with Andy Reed who has represented Scotland and the Lions, and many others.
Also, the Cornish rugby team can boast an Olympic silver medal. In 1908, they won the County Championship for the first time, and the prize was to represent Great Britain at rugby in the 1908 Olympic Games. They lost to Australia 32-3 in the final, and remain the only county side to represent Great Britain at rugby in the Olympics.St Columb Green Book
St Columb Green Book is a very rare 16th century handwritten manuscript, bound in green leather detailing the parish records of St Columb Major, Cornwall. It was kept with a few intermissions from 1585 onwards. It gives a rare glimpse in day to day life in 16th century Cornwall. The original is very fragile and is now kept at Cornwall Record Office. A reprint of selected passages was published in 1912 by Thurstan Peter, in a Supplement to Journal of Royal Institution of Cornwall, vol. 19.
The book dating back to Elizabethan times covers just the Parish of St Columb Major. It is important, as it contains one of the earliest references to Morris dancing in the United Kingdom. Another entry gives the earliest written reference to the ancient sport of Cornish Hurling Also contained is an early reference to Robin Hood plays that existed in Cornwall.St Columb Major
St Columb Major is a town and civil parish in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. Often referred to locally as St Columb, it is approximately seven miles (11 km) southwest of Wadebridge and six miles (10 km) east of Newquay
The designation Major distinguishes it from the nearby settlement and parish of St Columb Minor on the coast. An electoral ward simply named St Columb exists with a population at the 2011 census of 5,050.Twice a year the town plays host to "hurling", a medieval game once common throughout Cornwall but now only played in St Columb and St Ives. It is played on Shrove Tuesday and then again on the Saturday eleven days later. The game involves two teams of several hundred people (the 'townsmen' and the 'countrymen') who endeavour to carry a silver ball made of apple wood to goals set two miles (3 km) apart, making the parish, around 25 square miles (65 km2) in area, the de facto largest sports ground in the world.St Ives School
The St Ives School refers to a group of artists living and working in the Cornish town of St Ives. The term is often used to refer to the 20th century groups which sprung up after the First World War around such artists as Borlase Smart, however there was considerable artistic activity there from the late 19th Century onwards.The Hurlers (stone circles)
The Hurlers (Cornish: An Hurlysi) is a group of three stone circles in the civil parish of St Cleer, Cornwall, England, UK. The site is half-a-mile (0.8 km) west of the village of Minions on the eastern flank of Bodmin Moor, and approximately four miles (6 km) north of Liskeard at grid reference SX 258 714.The North/South Language Body
The North/South Language Body (Irish: An Foras Teanga Thuaidh/Theas; Ulster-Scots: Tha Noarth/Sooth Boord o Leid or The Language Curn) is an implementation body, provided for by the Belfast Agreement, that exists to implement policies agreed by Ministers in the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland with regard to the Irish and Ulster-Scots (or "Ullans") languages on a cross border all Island basis.
It is a single body reporting to the North/South Ministerial Council, but composed of two separate and largely autonomous agencies: Foras na Gaeilge, the Irish language agency, and Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch, the Ulster-Scots Agency.West Cornwall May Day celebrations
The West Cornwall May Day celebrations are an example of folk practices found in the western part of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, associated with the coming of spring. The celebration of May Day is a common motif throughout Europe and beyond. In Cornwall there are a number of notable examples of this practice including the Obby Oss in Padstow and Furry Dance or Flora day in Helston. The celebrations are in contrast to the Cornish midwinter celebrations that occur every year such as the Penzance Montol Festival and the Padstow Mummer's Day festival.
Cornish: Gonisogeth Kernow
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