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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/94

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72
Correspondence.

The Hood-Game at Haxey.

(Vol. vii., p. 330.)

Since my paper on "Haxey-hood" went to press, my attention has been drawn to the fact that the game has a remarkable analogy with Cornish hurling, although in the latter amusement a ball, not a roll of sacking or leather, is the centre of interest.

According to an account given of the Cornish custom in The Sketch, November 11, 1896, p. 109, hurling is still kept up at St. Columb Major, and playing is annually commenced on Shrove-Tuesday. A ball of apple-wood with a thick coating of silver is the object contended for, and there are two goals each a mile distant from the place where the ball is thrown up, being thus two miles apart from each other. One is designated the "town goal" and the other the "country goal" ; and the aim of each party of players is to get the ball to its own goal. Hurling must have formerly been a quasi-ecclesiastical amusement, as it appears to have always been indulged in at some sacred season, or on Sunday, the east window of the parish church being commonly a goal ; while tradition says that in one parish at least the ball was thrown up in the church itself, and that the clergy took a leading part in the game. Hunt in his Popular Romances of the West of England (edition 1881), p. 400, speaks of hurling as recently practised in the parishes west of Penzance on Sunday afternoon. The game was usually between two parishes, "sometimes between Burian and Sancreed, or against St. Leven and Sennen, or the higher side of the parish played against the lower."

The game had its name from "hurling" a wooden ball about three inches in diameter, covered with a plate of silver, which was sometimes gilt and had commonly a motto, "Gware wheag yeo gware teag," i.e. Fair play is good play. The sport was formerly practised annually by those who attended corporate bodies in surveying the bounds of parishes ; but from the many accidents that usually resulted it is now rarely played. A St. Ives correspondent informed Mr. Hunt that the game had not yet died out at St. Ives, St. Columb, and St. Blazey, on the anniversary of the dedication of the church.