Royal Shrovetide Football

The Royal Shrovetide Football Match is a "Medieval football" game played annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in the town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, England. Shrovetide ball games have been played in England since at least the 12th century from the reign of Henry II (1154–89). The Ashbourne game also known as "hugball" has been played from at least c.1667 although the exact origins of the game are unknown due to a fire at the Royal Shrovetide Committee office in the 1890s which destroyed the earliest records.[1][2][3][4] One of the most popular origin theories suggests the macabre notion that the 'ball' was originally a severed head tossed into the waiting crowd following an execution.[5] Although this may have happened, it is more likely that games such as the Winchelsea Streete Game, reputedly played during the Hundred Years' War with France, were adaptations of an original ball game intended to show contempt for the enemy.[6]

One of the earliest references to football in the county of Derbyshire comes in a poem called "Burlesque upon the Great Frost" from 1683, written after the English Civil War by Charles Cotton, cousin to Aston Cockayne, Baronet of Ashbourne (1608–84):[7]

Two towns, that long that war had raged
Being at football now engaged
For honour, as both sides pretend,
Left the brave trial to be ended
Till the next thaw for they were frozen
On either part at least a dozen,
With a good handsome space between 'em
Like Rollerich stones, if you've seen 'em
And could no more run, kick, or trip ye
Than I can quaff off Aganippe.

— Charles Cotton (1630–87)[8][9]

Shrovetide football played between "Two towns" in Derby is often credited with being the source of the term "local derby". A more widely accepted origin theory is The Derby horse race. Whatever the origins the "local derby" is now a recognised term for a football game played between local rivals and a Derby is a horse race.[10][11]

Shrovetide balls
Shrovetide balls typical of those on display in shops and public houses in Ashbourne. These three were on display at the Wheel Inn, Ash Wednesday, 2013. The central ball shows the three cocks that appear on the Cockayne coat of Arms. This image is common to many game balls. To the right is an example of a ball without decoration.

A previously unknown tentative link between Royal Shrovetide football and La soule played in Tricot, Picardy was established in 2012 by history and sociology of sport lecturer Laurent Fournier from the Universite de Nantes. Whilst undertaking a study of "folk football", he noticed that the Coat of arms of the Cockayne family (seated in Ashbourne from the 12th century) painted on a 1909 Shrovetide ball displayed in the window of the Ashbourne Telegraph office contained three cockerels in its heraldic design. He recognised this matched the emblem of Tricot (also carrying three cockerels) where La soule is played on the first Sunday of Lent and Easter Monday. He was welcomed to Ashbourne by the Royal Shrovetide Committee and was a guest at the Shrovetide luncheon. Research into Royal Shrovetide Football's lost history is ongoing (August 2012).[12]

Shrovetide football dated 1887
Shrovetide ball goaled by H. Hind on Ash Wednesday 1887 that pre-dates the fire which destroyed the earliest written records of the sport.


The concept of the ball game was understood in the Early Middle Ages (600–1066). Writing in the 9th century, Welsh monk and historian Nennius makes reference in his book Historia Brittonum to "the field of Ælecti, in the district of Glevesing, where a party of boys were playing at ball".[13][14] This account was attributed to a 5th-century source that has not survived.[15] Ball games may have been played throughout the 1st millennium despite a lack of documented evidence. Oral traditions from the West Country and South East Wales assert that the games of Cornish "Hurling to Country"[16] and "Hurling to Goals", Devon "Out-Hurling"[17] and Welsh "Cnapan" played during Christian festivals have more ancient Celtic origins.[18][19][20] The wooden balls used in these games are only found in regions where Celtic culture is still venerated. These communal events may even have started with prehistoric workers hurling forward carved wooden balls or stone balls Archaeologist's have theorised could have been used to move megaliths in stone circle construction.[21] Records from antiquity have survived relating to various ball games played by the Romans, notably Harpastum which contained many elements that feature in the Shrovetide ball game. These influences were available to a Catholic Church Clergy familiar with native customs and educated in Latin when a ball game was introduced to Shrovetide festivities.[22][23][24]

The earliest recorded Shrovetide ball game comes during the High Middle Ages (1066–1272) from the cleric William Fitzstephen in his description of London Descriptio Nobilissimi Civitatis Londoniae (c.1174–83). The game he witnessed was played at Carnival, an alternative name for Shrovetide, from the Latin Carnilevaria, a word variant of carne levare meaning to "leave out meat" an act of abstinence for Lent.[25] Then as now games were played in the afternoon. His account suggests playing ball at Carnival had been an annual event for at least a generation.[26][27][28]

…"every year on the day called Carnival—to begin with the sports of boys (for we were all boys once)—scholars from the different schools bring fighting-cocks to their masters, and the whole morning is set apart to watch their cocks do battle in the schools, for the boys are given a holiday that day. After dinner all the young men of the town go out into the fields in the suburbs to play ball. The scholars of the various schools have their own ball, and almost all the followers of each occupation have theirs also. The seniors and the fathers and the wealthy magnates of the city come on horseback to watch the contests of the younger generation, and in their turn recover their lost youth: the motions of their natural heat seem to be stirred in them at the mere sight of such strenuous activity and by their participation in the joys of unbridled youth."[27]

The location given for the "suburbs" was to the north of London. The area described of open fields and rivers is typical of the terrain still used for current games played in Ashbourne and in Workington, Cumbria, where "Uppies and Downies" games take place on Good Friday, Easter Tuesday and Easter Saturday.[29][30][31]

…"Everywhere outside the houses of those living in the suburbs, and adjacent to them, are the spacious and beautiful gardens of the citizens, and these are planted with trees. Also there are on the north side pastures and pleasant meadow lands through which flow streams wherein the turning of mill-wheels makes a cheerful sound"….[27]

Although the names of the schools that participated were not stipulated, a previous reference to St. Paul's, Holy Trinity, Aldgate and St. Martin-le-Grand College indicates these Church schools were integral to celebrating this holy-day.

…"St. Paul, the church of the Holy Trinity, and the church of St. Martin have famous schools by special privilege and by virtue of their ancient dignity. But through the favour of some magnate, or through the presence of teachers who are notable or famous in philosophy, there are also other schools"….[27]

Leather Bottle improvised bakk1
Leather bottle used in village football from the 1800s on display at the National Football Museum, Manchester.

By the Late Middle Ages (1272–1485) there were many incarnations of the ball game being played at Shrovetide, Eastertide and Christmastide in and around the British Isles. All were played in a similar manner with localized innovations. Some of the other better-understood games, a few of which are still played, include the Ba' game (ba' being an abbreviation of "ball"), the Atherstone Ball Game, the Sedgefield Ball Game, Bottle-kicking (usually with a leather bottle as a substitute for the ball),[32] Caid (an Irish name for various ball games and an animal-skin ball), Camp-ball (late medieval includes "kicking camp"), Football (late medieval), The Shrove Tuesday Football Ceremony of the Purbeck Marblers (Masonic ceremonial), Haxey Hood ("Hood" being the name given to a leather tube used instead of a ball), La soule (soule being the name for the ball in northern France), and Scoring the Hales (an alternative name for goals used in Cumbria and the Scottish borders). A contemporary collective term coined for these games is "Mob football".[5][33]

During the early modern period public schools open to the paying public (an alternative to private home education) adopted the ball game as a sports activity.[34] The version they developed was called football and was played using a bladder-inflated ball.[35][36][37] Scholars from these schools wrote the first standard codes for football. These inspired the development of modern codes of football, many created by the descendants of emigrants who spread the concept of football around the world.[38][39]

Table showing codes of conduct development to modern football

Celtic/Roman ball games (Antiquity) Mob football[33] (Medieval) Public-school football (Modern) Cambridge rules (1848) Association Football (1863)
Beach (1992)
Futsal (1930)
Sheffield rules (1857)
Rugby football (1845)
Rugby union (1871)
Rugby sevens (1883)
Rugby league (1895)
Beach rugby
Touch football
American football (1869) Arena football (1987)
Canadian football (1861) Flag football
Gaelic (1887) International rules (1967)
Australian rules (1859)

The Ashbourne game

Ball turned up Ash Wednesday 2011
Ball being 'turned up' from the 'plinth' at Shawcroft car park located along the line of a culverted section of Henmore Brook on Ash Wednesday 2011

The game is played over two days on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, starting each day at 2:00 pm and lasting until 10:00 pm. If the goal is scored (in local parlance, the ball is goaled) before 5.30 pm[40] a new ball is released and play restarts from the town centre, otherwise play ends for the day. The ball is rarely kicked, though it is legal to kick, carry or throw it. Instead it generally moves through the town in a series of hugs, like a giant scrum in rugby, made up of dozens if not hundreds of people. When the ball is goaled, the scorer is carried on the shoulders of his colleagues into the courtyard of The Green Man Royal Hotel (this ceremony returned to its recognised spiritual home in 2014 after an absence in 2013 due to the closure of the hotel[41]).

The two teams that play the game are known as the Up'Ards and the Down'Ards (local dialect for "upwards and downwards"). The Up'Ards are traditionally those town members born north of Henmore Brook, which runs through the town, and Down'Ards are those born south of the river. Each team attempts to carry the ball back to their own goal from the turn-up, rather than the more traditional method of scoring at/in the opponents goal. There are two goal posts 3 miles (4.8 km) apart, one at Sturston Mill (where the Up'Ards attempt to score), the other at Clifton Mill (where the Down'Ards score). Although the mills have long since been demolished, part of their millstones still stand on the bank of the river at each location and indeed themselves once served as the scoring posts. In 1996 the scoring posts were replaced once again by new smaller millstones mounted onto purpose-built stone structures, which are still in use to this day and require the players to actually be in the river in order to 'goal' a ball, as this was seen as more challenging.[41]

The actual process of 'goaling' a ball requires a player to hit it against the millstone three successive times. This is not a purely random event, however, as the eventual scorer is elected en route to the goal and would typically be someone who lives in Ashbourne or at least whose family is well known to the community. The chances of a 'tourist' goaling a ball are very remote, though they are welcome to join in the effort to reach the goal. When a ball is 'goaled' that particular game ends.

Ashbourne boarded up shops1
Shops on the approach to the Green Man & Black Head public house boarded up before the games commence.

The game is played through the town with no limit on the number of players or the playing area (aside from those mentioned in the rules below). Thus shops in the town are boarded up during the game, and people are encouraged to park their cars away from the main streets. The game is started from a special plinth in the town centre where the ball is thrown to the players (or "turned-up" in the local parlance), often by a visiting dignitary. Before the ball is turned-up, the assembled crowd sing "Auld Lang Syne" followed by "God Save the Queen". The starting point has not changed in many years, although the town has changed around it; as a consequence, the starting podium is currently located in the town's main car park, which is named Shaw Croft, this being the ancient name of the field in which it stands.[41]

The game has been known as "Royal" since 1928, when the then–Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) turned up the ball.[41] The Prince suffered a bloody nose. The game received 'Royal Assent' for a second time in 2003, when the game was once again started by the Prince of Wales, in this instance HRH Prince Charles.[41] On this occasion, the Prince threw the ball into play from a raised plinth. It is traditional for the dignitary of the day to be raised aloft near Compton Bridge, as the turner-up is escorted into the Shawcroft en route from the luncheon at the Leisure centre.[42][43]

The goals

External video
Official players committee footage
Review of Shrovetide 2013
Tuesday Up'ard Goal Shrovetide 2012
Wednesday Down'ard Goal Shrovetide 2012
Up'Ards Goal
Up'Ards purpose-built goal at Sturston Mill, upstream from the plinth at Shawcroft
Down'Ards Goal
Down'Ards purpose-built goal at Clifton Mill, downstream from the plinth at Shawcroft

The Up'Ards' traditional goal was Sturston Mill in Sturston village east of Asbourne and the Down'Ards' goal was Clifton Mill in the village of Clifton west of Ashbourne. Clifton Mill was demolished in 1967. A stone obelisk with commemorative plaque marking the site was unveiled in 1968. This became the Down'Ards goal for the next 28 years. Sturston Mill was demolished in 1981. A timber post salvaged from the mill was erected on the site of the old mill to act as a goal for the Up'Ards.[44][45] The purpose-built goals erected in 1996 on the banks of Henmore Brook are located 3 miles (4.8 km) apart. The Up'Ards goal is upstream from Shawcroft adjacent to the site of the former Sturston Mill and the Down'Ards goal is downstream from Shawcroft adjacent to the site of the former Clifton Mill. The ball is goaled when tapped three times against a millstone incorporated in the goals.[46]

The ball

Shrovetide Football
A Shrovetide football preserved in Derby Museum.[47]

The game is played with a special ball, larger than a standard football, which is filled with Portuguese cork to help the ball float when it ends up in the river. It is now hand-painted by local craftsmen specially for the occasion, and the design is usually related to the dignitary who will be turning-up the ball. Once a ball is goaled it is repainted with the name and in the design of the scorer and is theirs to keep. If a ball is not goaled it is repainted in the design of the dignitary that turned it up and given back to them to keep.[8][48] Many of the balls are put on display in the local pubs during the game for the public to view; traditionally these pubs are divided by team (The Wheel Inn being a popular Down'Ard base, and the Old Vaults for the Up'ards, for example).

The rules

There are very few rules in existence. The main ones are:[49][50]

  • Committing murder or manslaughter is prohibited. Unnecessary violence is frowned upon.
  • The ball may not be carried in a motorised vehicle.
  • The ball may not be hidden in a bag, coat or rucksack, etc.
  • Cemeteries, churchyards and the town memorial gardens are strictly out of bounds.
  • Playing after 10 pm is forbidden.
  • To score a goal the ball must be tapped 3 times in the area of the goal.



  • 2006: 1–1 Draw[51]
  • 2007: Up'ards win 1–0
  • 2008: Up'ards win 2–0
  • 2009: 1–1 Draw
  • 2010: Down'ards win 1–0
  • 2011: 2–2 Draw[52]
  • 2012: Draw[53]
  • 2013: Draw
  • 2014: Up'ards win 2–0
  • 2015: Up'ards win 1–0
  • 2016: Draw 1–1
  • 2017: Up'ards win 1–0
  • 2018: Draw 1–1
  • 2019: Down'ards win 1–0

Roll of Honour

Since 1891 a "Roll of Honour" has been kept, documenting both the turner-up and scorer of each game played. It can be seen from the list that the event has only been cancelled twice during that time, once in 1968 and again in 2001, both times due to the outbreak of Foot-and-mouth disease. Even during both World Wars the games were played; indeed, the Ashbourne Regiment even played a version of the game in the German trenches during the First World War.

On 7 March 1916 the 1/6th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby) Regiment played a game whilst stationed in the French village of Invergny. The ball was presented by the Ashbourne Committee and the first goal was scored by Private Robinson of "C" Company.

Visitors to Ashbourne can now view the series of wooden display frames carrying the names that are updated yearly at the new Ashbourne Library on Compton. The boards were originally in the entrance foyer of the function room at the Green Man, but were removed from there after the hotel shut in 2012.[54]

Local dialect

The following are words and phrases used at the game, with a brief explanation of their meaning:

The person who starts that day's game.[8]
Turning up
The act of throwing the ball from the "plinth" into the crowd of waiting players to start a game.[55]
The scrum-like formation that naturally forms as the Up'Ards and Down'Ards battle for the ball.[49][56]
When the ball is released from the hug and play moves quickly.[57]
Players that wait on the outside of the hug for the ball to break in order to collect the ball and cover as much ground as possible in the direction of their team's goal. There are selected runners for each team and they train regularly throughout the year, usually by running from goal to goal.[56]
River play
As the name suggests, this is a reference to the sections of the game played in the river; as with runners there will be members of the team that specialise in river play. It is possible for the entire game to be played solely in the river.[58]
The Down'ards goal location.[59]
The Up'ards goal location.[59]
Local colloquialism used as a friendly greeting, for example "Do you know where the ball is, duck?" Comparable words from other regions would include "mate" or "pet'".[60]
The Green Man Royal Hotel
Name of the pub/hotel where the pre-game dinner was hosted and speeches given; the turner-up was carried from here on the shoulders of the players and over to the Shawcroft. This function and ceremony has now moved to the Leisure Centre due to the closure of the Green Man in 2012. For 2014, it has been agreed with the new owner that the goal confirmation ceremony will return to the Green Man courtyard.[55][61]
Slang for Shrovetide.[62]
"Down wi' it"
Often shouted by many onlookers supporting the Up'ards or Down'ards, mainly women. To force the ball down in the centre of the "hug" thus slowing down the progress of the opposing team who are trying to throw the ball clear to their "runners" so they can make a "break" towards goal. This would typically happen when a team has won that day or the previous day and wish to force a draw in the game becoming overall winners that year.[63][64][65][66]
From where the ball is "turned up" (thrown) to start a game.[49][55]

The anthem

The anthem is sung at a pre-game ceremony in a local hotel. It was written in 1891 for a concert held to raise money to pay off the fines ordered for playing the game in the street.[8][67]

Shrovetide song Ashbourne1
Original lyrics from 1891 mounted on the plinth.

There's a town still plays this glorious game
Tho' tis but a little spot.
And year by year the contest's fought
From the field that's called Shaw Croft.
Then friend meets friend in friendly strife
The leather for to gain,
And they play the game right manfully,
In snow, sunshine or rain.


'Tis a glorious game, deny it who can
That tries the pluck of an Englishman.

For loyal the Game shall ever be
No matter when or where,
And treat that Game as ought but the free,
Is more than the boldest dare.
Though the up's and down's of its chequered life
May the ball still ever roll,
Until by fair and gallant strife
We've reached the treasur'd goal.


'Tis a glorious game, deny it who can
That tries the pluck of an Englishman.

Films and media

The event is often attended by reporters and documentary makers from several European countries, along with those from the USA and Japan. Appearances on UK television include Blue Peter, where the presenters experienced the game for themselves, and gameshow They Think It's All Over, where it was featured as the "Unusual Sport" and later in the show some local Down'Ards appeared on the "Feel the Sportsman" round.

The 2006 game was attended by a Los Angeles film company acquiring footage for a documentary titled Wild In The Streets, produced and co-directed by Peter Baxter[68] and narrated by Sean Bean. The film premiered at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, USA.[69] The film was released online and on-demand in the US in April 2013.[68]

See also


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  2. ^ England (19 October 2010). "Royal Shrovetide Football, Ashbourne — Google Sightseeing". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football". Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Wild In The Streets". 18 March 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  6. ^ "The Ancient Town of Winchelsea, East Sussex". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Sir Aston Cokayne (1608–1684)". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d "Ashbourne, Derbyshire – Shrovetide Football". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  9. ^ Jacqueline Simpson, Steve Roud. English Folklore. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Old Firm's enduring appeal". 2 January 1939. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  11. ^ aitch (24 November 2010). "SING UP THE RIVER END !: The Origins Of The Local Derby". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Shrovetide links to French football game | Ashbourne News". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Nennius: The Historia Brittonum". Six Old English Chronicles, of which two are now first translated from the monkish Latin originals. trans. John Allan Giles. London: George Bell and Sons. 1891. Retrieved 24 February 2014.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ Fox, J. (2012). The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062101624. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Medieval Sourcebook: Nennius: Historia Brittonum, 8th century". Medieval Sourcebook. Fordham University. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
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  17. ^ "~dewnans/folklore__customs_and_traditions". Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
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  22. ^ Britain Express. "Early Christianity in England". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  23. ^ DLVF. "Greek & Roman Mythology – Tools". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Roman ball games in Dalmatia – Secret Dalmatia Blog – Travel Experiences in Croatia". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
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  28. ^ "The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England: Joseph Strutt: 9781430456643: Books". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  29. ^ "Cumbria – Features – Uppies and Downies". BBC. 20 March 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  30. ^ "Workington is home to a tradition known as Uppies and Downies". Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  31. ^ "25/3/2010 – Bridge safety warning for Uppies and Downies games : Cumbria County Council". 25 March 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  32. ^ "Leather Bottle – History of Mattingley". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  33. ^ a b "History of Football - Britain, the home of Football -". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  34. ^ "Fpublic". Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  35. ^ "Fcambridge". Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Pages/History". Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
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  39. ^ Gems, G.R.; Pfister, G. (2009). Understanding American Sports. Taylor & Francis. p. 38. ISBN 9780203886175. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  40. ^ Updated in 2017
  41. ^ a b c d e "Shrovetide football in Ashbourne". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  42. ^ "BBC – The history of Royal Ashbourne Shrovetide Football". BBC News. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  43. ^ "Royal Shrovetide Football". Honi Soit. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  44. ^ "The Mill, Sturston, Ashbourne | Root – Europeana". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  45. ^ "Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Information Board. | Flickr". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
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  47. ^ Shrovetide Football, Derby Museum,, accessed August 2011
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  51. ^ Results to 2010
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  69. ^ "Wild in the Streets". Retrieved 28 December 2012.

External links

Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Ashbourne is a market town in the Derbyshire Dales, England. It has a population of 7,112. It contains many historical buildings and many independent shops and is famous for its historic annual Shrovetide football match.

Due to its proximity to the southern edge of the Peak District and being the closest town to the popular area of Dovedale, the town is known as both the 'Gateway to Dovedale' and the 'Gateway to the Peak District'.

Atherstone Ball Game

The Atherstone Ball Game is a "Medieval football" game played annually on Shrove Tuesday in the English town of Atherstone, Warwickshire. The game honors a match played between Leicestershire and Warwickshire in 1199, when teams used a bag of gold as a ball, and which was won by Warwickshire. At one time similar events were held in many towns throughout England, but Atherstone's is now one of at least three such games that are still played each year at Shrovetide, the others being the Royal Shrovetide Football match held in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and The Alnwick Shrovetide Football Match in Alnwick, Northumberland.

The two-hour game is played in the town's main street, Long Street, and sees groups of players compete for possession of a giant ball that is specially made for the occasion. The match is usually started at 3.00pm on Shrove Tuesday by a celebrity guest, usually someone associated with the area, who is invited to throw the ball from an upstairs window of the Atherstone branch of Barclays Bank. The game itself has few rules, two being that play is restricted to Long Street and participants are not allowed to kill anyone. The winner is declared at 5.00pm, the title going to the person who has possession of the ball when the whistle sounds. Ahead of the game itself, sweets and pennies are thrown from Barclays Bank to local children. The ball is decorated with ribbons before the game, and prizes are also awarded to anyone who gets hold of one, as well as to the person who gets the golden penny, thrown into the crowd shortly before the game commences.Medieval football matches were more common before the 20th century, but their violent nature led the government of the time to pass the Highways Act 1895 to prevent it being played in the streets, although games continued to take place in Atherstone. Before the 1970s the game was played throughout the town, but was restricted to Long Street because the ball frequently ended up in the Coventry Canal. In 1986, a public meeting was held to determine the game's future after that year's event got out of hand. The outcome of this meeting was the formation of a Ball Game committee, which now has responsibility for organising the event.For several years the ball was made by the sportswear manufacturer Webb Ellis. Following the 2017 game Webb Ellis cancelled their contract to make the ball. As a consequence, Atherstone upholsterer, Pete Smith, was commissioned to produce the ball for the 2018 game. This marked the first occasion the ball had been made in the town since 1982. Smith based his design on an original cardboard template made by local craftsman Brian Brown.Coverage of the game was first heard on BBC radio in 1934, and footage of it was first shown on television in 1958.

Clifton, Derbyshire

Clifton is a village in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England. The village is situated about 1.2 miles (2 km) south west of Ashbourne, and is close to the border with Staffordshire. The appropriate civil parish is called Clifton and Compton. The population of this civil parish at the 2011 Census was 500.

Early history of American football

The early history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Both games have their origin in varieties of football played in Britain in the mid–19th century, in which a football is kicked at a goal or run over a line, which in turn were based on the varieties of English public school football games.

American football resulted from several major divergences from association football and rugby football, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, a Yale University and Hopkins School graduate considered to be the "father of gridiron football". Among these important changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage, of down-and-distance rules and of the legalization of interference.In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, gameplay developments by college coaches such as Eddie Cochems, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Parke H. Davis, Knute Rockne, John Heisman, and Glenn "Pop" Warner helped take advantage of the newly introduced forward pass. The popularity of college football grew in the United States for the first half of the 20th century. Bowl games, a college football tradition, attracted a national audience for college teams. Boosted by fierce rivalries and colorful traditions, college football still holds widespread appeal in the United States.

The origin of professional football can be traced back to 1892, with William "Pudge" Heffelfinger's $500 contract to play in a game for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In 1920 the American Professional Football Association was formed. This league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) two years later, and eventually became the major league of American football. Initially a sport of Midwestern industrial towns, professional football eventually became a national phenomenon.

English folklore

English folklore is the folk tradition which has developed in England over a number of centuries. Some stories can be traced back to their roots, while the origin of others is uncertain or disputed. England abounds with folklore, in all forms, from such obvious manifestations as the traditional Robin Hood tales, the Brythonic-inspired Arthurian legend, to contemporary urban legends and facets of cryptozoology such as the Beast of Bodmin Moor.

Morris dance and related practices such as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance preserve old English folk traditions, as do Mummers Plays. Pub names may preserve folk traditions.


Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears. Sports commonly called football in certain places include association football (known as soccer in some countries); gridiron football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby football (either rugby league or rugby union); and Gaelic football. These different variations of football are known as football codes.

There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games played by indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world. Contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the codification of these games at English public schools during the nineteenth century. The expansion of the British Empire allowed these rules of football to spread to areas of British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. By the end of the nineteenth century, distinct regional codes were already developing: Gaelic football, for example, deliberately incorporated the rules of local traditional football games in order to maintain their heritage. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, becoming the first of many professional football competitions. During the twentieth century, several of the various kinds of football grew to become some of the most popular team sports in the world.

Haxey Hood

The Haxey Hood is a traditional event in Haxey, North Lincolnshire, England, on 6 January, the Twelfth Day of Christmas (unless the 6th falls on a Sunday, in which case it's held on Saturday 5th).

A large football scrum (the "sway") pushes a leather tube (the "hood") to one of four pubs, where it remains until the following year's game.

Henmore Brook

The Henmore Brook or the River Henmore is a tributary of the River Dove in Derbyshire, England, and is 20 km (12 miles) in length.In its upper reaches it is known as the Scow brook, much of which was inundated by the Carsington Water reservoir in 1991. It becomes the Henmore brook in the middle reaches, where there are three tributaries called the Parkside, Kniveton and Dayfield brooks.The brook drains a catchment of mixed geology, which has an area of 46 square kilometres (18 square miles). It flows through the market town of Ashbourne, where flooding of the town centre by the brook has historically caused significant damage. The brook is designated as a Main river by the Environment Agency from the outflow at Carsington Water to the confluence with the River Dove.

La soule

La soule, later choule, is a traditional team sport that originated in Normandy and Picardy. The ball, called a soule, could be solid or hollow and made of either wood or leather. Leather balls would be filled with hay, bran, horse hair or moss. Sometimes the balls had woolen pompons.

List of cultural icons of England

This list of cultural icons of England is a list of people and things from any period which are independently considered to be cultural icons characteristic of England.

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.

List of types of football

This is a list of various types of football, most variations found as gridiron, rugby, association football.

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.

Peak District

The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines. It is mostly in northern Derbyshire, but also includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. An area of great diversity, it is split into the Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, and the limestone area of the White Peak.

The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951. With its proximity to the cities of Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield, and access by road and rail, it attracts millions of visitors every year.Inhabited from the Mesolithic era, evidence exits from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. Settled by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, the area remained largely agricultural and mining grew in importance in the medieval era. Richard Arkwright built his cotton mills at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Quarrying became important as mining declined. Tourism grew after the advent of the railways, visitors attracted by the landscape, spa towns at Buxton and Matlock Bath, Castleton's show caves, and Bakewell, the national park's only town.

Tourism remains important for its towns and villages and their varied attractions, country houses and heritage sites. Outside the towns, walking on the extensive network of public footpaths, cycle trails, rock climbing and caving are popular pursuits.

Played in Britain

Played in Britain is a ten-year research project for English Heritage which seeks to record and celebrate Britain's sporting and recreational heritage, coinciding with the period from the staging of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester to the 2012 Olympics. Much of the research has been made publicly available in a series of books, also called Played in Britain, featuring historic buildings (such as grandstands, pavilions, swimming pools and billiard halls) and sportscapes (such as golf courses, racecourses, rivers and lakes). The series also looks at sporting artefacts and archaeology.

The Played in Britain research project is led by author and architectural historian Simon Inglis, best known for his books on football grounds, stadiums and football history. Simon Inglis is also the series editor of the Played in Britain books.

Sedgefield Ball Game

Shrove Tuesday Football (or Mob Football) is a game which takes place in Sedgefield in County Durham; locally it is known as the Ball Game.

According to tradition, the parish clerk is obliged to furnish a football on Shrove Tuesday, which he throws into the market place, where it is contested for by the mechanics against the agriculturists of the town and neighbourhood. More recently, however, it is a secret group of local residents who organise the game, provide the ball and choose who will start the game off.The ball is made from leather. Its maker is a secret for fear of persecution. At 1.00 p.m, it is passed three times through a bull ring in the centre of the village. The object of the game used to be to "ally" the ball at two goals at either end of the village. However the ball can not be allied until 4.00 p.m.. due to the expansion of the village it now has only one "ally", which has been slightly moved from its original setting. The ally is a beck at the south of the village. During the time between 1 and 4 the ball is played around the surrounding villages, and it is a great privilege to get even a kick, as it can get quite physical. The first person to get the ball to any of the local pubs by tradition receives a free drink.Once the ball has been allied it must be returned to the bull ring in the centre of the village and passed through it three times. The whole task is quite difficult as this is an individual and not a team game.Winners:

2014 -

2015 -

2016 - DAZ

2017 - Thomas Adcock

2018 - Joe Saunders

2019 - Michael Adcock

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday (also known in Commonwealth countries and Ireland as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day) is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of "fat eating" or "gorging" before the fasting period of Lent.

This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive, meaning "absolve". Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, who "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with."As this is the last day of the liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one gives up for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. The term Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

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