BALL, JOHN (d. 1381), an English priest who took a prominent part in the peasant revolt in 1381. Little is known of his early years, but he lived probably at York and afterwards at Colchester. He gained considerable fame as a preacher by expounding the doctrines of John Wycliffe, but especially by his insistence on the principle of social equality. These utterances brought him into collision with the archbishop of Canterbury, and on three occasions he was committed to prison. He appears also to have been excommunicated, and in 1366 all persons were forbidden to hear him preach. His opinions, however, were not moderated, nor his popularity diminished by these measures, and his words had a considerable effect in stirring up the rising which broke out in June 1381. Ball was then in prison at Maidstone; but he was quickly released by the Kentish rebels, to whom he preached at Blackheath from the text, “When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then a gentleman?” He urged his hearers to kill the principal lords of the kingdom and the lawyers; and he was afterwards among those who rushed into the Tower of London to seize Simon of Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury. When the rebels dispersed Ball fled to the midland counties, but was taken prisoner at Coventry and executed in the presence of Richard II. on the 15th of July 1381. Ball, who was called by Froissart “the mad priest of Kent,” seems to have possessed the gift of rhyme. He undoubtedly voiced the feelings of the lower orders of society at that time.
BALL, JOHN (1585–1640), English puritan divine, was born at Cassington, Oxfordshire, in October 1585. After taking his B.A. degree from St Mary's Hall, Oxford, in 1608, he went into Cheshire to act as tutor to the children of Lady Cholmondeley. He adopted Puritan views, and after being ordained without subscription, was appointed to the small curacy of Whitmore in Staffordshire. He was soon deprived by John Bridgeman, the high church bishop of Chester, who put him to much suffering. He became a schoolmaster and earned a wide and high reputation for his scholarship and piety. He died on the 20th of October 1640. The most popular of his numerous works was A Short Catechisme, containing all the Principal Grounds of Religion (14 editions before 1632). His Treatise of Faith (1632), and Friendly Trial of the Grounds tending to Separation (1640), the latter of which defines his position with regard to the church, are also valuable.
BALL, JOHN (1818–1889), Irish politician, naturalist and Alpine traveller, eldest son of an Irish judge, Nicholas Ball, was born at Dublin on the 20th of August 1818. He was educated at the Roman Catholic College at Oscott near Birmingham, and at Christ's College, Cambridge. He showed in early years a taste for natural science, particularly botany; and after leaving Cambridge he travelled in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe, studying his favourite pursuits, and contributing papers on botany and the Swiss glaciers to scientific periodicals. In 1846 he was made an assistant poor-law commissioner, but resigned in 1847, and in 1848 stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for Sligo. In 1849 he was appointed second poor-law commissioner, but resigned in 1852 and successfully contested the county of Carlow in the Liberal interest. In the House of Commons he attracted Lord Palmerston's attention by his abilities, and in 1885 was made under-secretary for the colonies, a post which he held for two years. At the colonial office he had great influence in furthering the cause of natural science, particularly in connexion with equipment of the Palliser expedition in Canada, and with Sir W. Hooker's efforts to obtain a systematic knowledge of the colonial floras. In 1858 he stood for Limerick, but was beaten, and he then gave up politics and devoted himself to natural history. He was first president of the Alpine Club (founded 1857), and it is for his work as an Alpinist that he is chiefly remembered, his well-known Alpine Guide (London, 1863–1868) being the result of innumerable climbs and journeys and of careful observation recorded in a clear and often entertaining style. He also travelled in Morocco (1871) and South America (1882), and recorded his observations in books which were recognized as having a scientific value. He died in London on the 21st of October 1889.
BALL, THOMAS (1819- ), American sculptor, was born at Charlestown, Massachusetts, on the 3rd of June 1819. He was the son of a house-and-sign-painter, and after starting, self-taught, as a portrait painter he turned his attention in 1851 to sculpture, his earliest work being a bust of Jenny Lind. At thirty-five he went to Florence for study; there, with an interval of work in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1857–1865, he remained for more than thirty years, being one of the artistic colony which included the Brownings and Hiram Powers. He returned to America in 1897, and lived in Montclair, New Jersey, with a studio in New York City. His work includes many early cabinet busts of musicians (he was an accomplished musician himself, and was the first in America to sing “Elijah”), and later the equestrian statue of Washington in the Boston public gardens, probably his best work; Josiah Quincy in City Hall Square, Boston; Charles Sumner in the public gardens of Boston; Daniel Webster in Central Park, New York City; the Lincoln Emancipation group at Washington; Edwin Forrest as “Coriolanus,” in the Actors' Home, Philadelphia, and the Washington monument in Methuen, Massachusetts. His work has had a marked influence on monumental art in the United States and especially in New England. In 1891 he published an autobiographical volume, My Three Score Years and Ten.
BALL (in Mid. Eng. bal; the word is probably cognate with “bale,” Teutonic in origin, cf. also Lat. follis, and Gr. πάλλα), any rounded body, particularly one with a smooth surface, whether used for games, as a missile, or applied to such rounded bodies as the protuberance at the root of the thumb or the big toe, to an enarthrosis, or “ball socket” joint, such as that of the hip or shoulder, and the like. A ball, as the essential feature in nearly every form of game requiring physical exertion, must date from the very earliest times. A rolling object appeals not only to a human baby but to a kitten and a puppy. Some form of game with a ball is found portrayed on Egyptian monuments, and is played among the least advanced of savage tribes at the present day. In Homer, Nausicaa was playing at ball with her maidens when Odysseus first saw her in the land of the Phaeacians (Od. vi. 100). And Halios and Laodamas performed before Alcinous and Odysseus with ball play, accompanied with dancing (Od. viii. 370). The Hebrews, the least athletic of races, have no mention of the ball in their scriptures. Among the Greeks games with balls (σφαῖραι) were regarded as a useful subsidiary to the more violent athletic exercises, as a means of keeping the body supple, and rendering it graceful, but were generally left to boys and girls. Similarly at Rome they were looked upon as an adjunct to the bath, and were graduated to the age and health of the bathers, and usually a place (sphaeristerium) was set apart for them in the baths (thermae). Of regular rules for the playing of ball games, little trace remains, if there were any such. The names in Greek for various forms, which have come down to us in such works as the Ὀνομαστικόν of Pollux of Naucratis, imply little or nothing of such; thus, ἀπόρραξις only means the putting of the ball on the ground with the open hand, οὐρανία, the flinging of the ball in the air to be caught by two or more players; φαινίνδα would seem to be a game of catch played by two or more, where feinting is used as a test of quickness and skill. Pollux (i. x. 104) mentions a game called ἐπίσκυρος, which has often been looked on as the origin of football. It seems to have been played by two sides, arranged in lines; how far there was any form of “goal” seems uncertain. Among the Romans there appear to have been three types or sizes of ball, the pila, or small ball, used in catching games, the paganica, a heavy ball stuffed with feathers, and the follis, a leather ball filled with air, the largest of the three. This was struck from player to player, who wore a kind of gauntlet on the arm. There was a game known as trigon, played by three players standing in