Ashbourne’s Shrovetide football match

The annual Shrovetide event which sees hundreds of people take part in a football match has begun in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

The Ashbourne Shrovetide football game is thought to date back more than 1,000 years, and some of the original players are still on the council. Records are only available from 1890 however.

Shops boarded up their windows and businesses closed early as the game took over the town which makes a pleasant change to seeing shops boarded up due to being empty.

Hundreds of players for each side – called the Up’ards and Down’ards, depending on which side of River Henmore you were born – battle in the streets to get the hand-painted cork-filled ball to goals three miles apart.

The game is played over two days – Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday – and often lasts into the night. The match starts at 14:00 GMT on both days.

The game is a big deal for Ashbourne because lets face it there is little else to look forward to in what is rapidly becoming a depressed town.

The game has attracted visitors and media from all over the world, including a television crew from Japan.

Goals are mill wheels set in huge stone plinths on the banks of the Henmore Brook at the sites of two former mills and to score, a player must stand in the Henmore and tap the ball three times against the wheel.

The game received royal assent in 1928 when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, threw the ball and Prince Charles started the game in 2003.

Chris Sabian is owner of a directory for Dog Friendly Accomodation, Pubs, Beaches & More Browse the UK’s most popular directory of dog friendly accommodation, pubs, beaches and days out


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2 Responses to Ashbourne’s Shrovetide football match

  1. john bull says:

    A partner of my mother made the Shrove Tuesday football his name is Jack Smith does anyone have any infornation photographs or the like, of the ball or his workshop which was a room set aside in his house

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