Our Director, Lee Mortimer, has had a super busy week with mortgages, insurance and... being part of a traditional Shrovetide Football match played in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Lee enjoyed the game with great company, including client/friend Mark and also Anthony Lomas, from Boxall Brown & Jones, who took a well-deserved break from selling houses! They even managed to get extremely close to the ball!
Some REALLY interesting facts about Royal Shrovetide football!
Shrovetide football also known as hugball, has been played almost every year since at least 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.
The name 'Royal Shrovetide' was given to the game in 1928 after the then Prince of Wales, now known as King Edward VIII, visited the town to 'turn up' the ball. In 2003 King Charles, who was then the Prince of Wales, also attended the Royal Shrovetide Football match to turn up the ball.
The game starts from a plinth located in the town centre, where a specially made hand-painted ball is thrown to the players waiting below – known as the “turning up” of the ball. During this boisterous event, shopkeepers board up their shops – just in case! Unlike a conventional football match, it's played over two days.
The two teams that play are known as the Up'Ards and the Down'Ards (which is local dialect for "upwards and downwards"). The Up'Ards are traditionally members of the town born north of Henmore Brook, which runs through the town. The Down'Ards are those born south of the river.
The ball then moves through the town, assisted by adrenalin-pumped crowds, covering a massive area from streets to muddy fields, banks and sometimes the icy-cold river! The goalposts are three miles apart - one at Sturston Mill, east of Ashbourne, where the Up’Ards aim to score and the other at Clifton Mill, west of the town, where the Down’Ards hope to score.
This year the ball was "goaled" on day two by Tom Allen who was playing for the Up'Ards. Tom was then carried by the crowds through the market town on Wednesday evening to celebrate their victory.
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