The Royal Shrovetide Football 2015
The Royal Shrovetide Football, an annual game played in the streets of Ashbourne by thousands has begun. As we are based on the main industrial estate in Ashbourne, we all get very excited about the game!
The game can be traced back nearly 1000 years to medieval times and is taken very seriously by those who play. The matches are always played between the Up'ards and the Down'ards and your team depends on which side of the river Henmore you were born. The two goals are located 3 miles apart, at opposite ends of the town and are situated on the sites of two historic mills that have since been demolished. Scoring is achieved by knocking the ball against the goal three times, after which the goal scorer is carried back to the Green Man Pub by his teammates.
The ball used in the Shrovetide football is a traditional cork filled ball allowing it to float, as much of the game can be played in the river itself. The balls are beautifully decorated each match. There are very few rules for Shrovetide and the game can end up being played entirely in the river. Rules include: No play in areas of worship and building sites, no concealing the ball or using cars to transport it and no one is allowed to commit murder or manslaughter. The ball often travels slowly around the town, surrounded by a "hug" of players but play can move very quickly when the ball breaks free. The game is played over Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday every year and thousands of people come from miles around to see the game being played.