Out of these ranks they match themselues by payres, one embracing another, & so passe away: euery of which couple, are specially to watch one another during the play.

After this, they pitch two bushes in the ground, some eight or ten foote asunder; and directly against them, ten or twelue score off, other twayne in like distance, which they terme their Goales. One of these is appoynted by lots, to the one side, and the other to his aduerse party. There is assigned for their gard, a couple of their best stopping Hurlers; the residue draw into the midst betweene both goales, where some indifferent person throweth vp a ball, the which whosoeuer can catch, and cary through his aduersaries goale, hath wonne the game. But therein consisteth one of Hercules his labours: for he that is once possessed of the ball, hath his contrary mate waiting at inches, and assaying to lay hold vpon him. The other thrusteth him in the breast, with his closed fist, to keepe him off; which they call Butting, and place in weldoing the same, no small poynt of manhood.

If hee escape the first, another taketh him in hand, and so a third, neyther is hee left, vntill hauing met (as the Frenchman sayes) Chausseura son pied, hee eyther touch the ground with some part of his bodie, in wrastling, or cry, Hold; which is the word of yeelding. Then must he cast the ball (named Dealing) to some one of his fellowes, who catching the same in his hand, maketh away withall as before; and if his hap or agility bee so good, as to shake off or outrunne his counter-wayters, at the goale, hee findeth one or two fresh men, readie to receiue and keepe him off. It is therefore a very disaduantageable match, or extraordinary accident, that leeseth many goales: howbeit, that side carryeth away best reputation, which giueth most falles in the hurling, keepeth the ball longest, and presseth his contrary neerest to their owne goale. Sometimes one chosen person on eche party dealeth the ball.

The Hurlers are bound to the obseruation of many lawes, as, that they must hurle man to man, and not two set vpon one man at once: that the Hurler against the ball, must not but, nor hand-fast vnder girdle: that hee who hath the ball, must but onely in the others brest: that he must deale no Fore-ball, viz. he may not throw it to any of his mates, standing neerer the goale, then himselfe. Lastly, in dealing the ball, if any of the other part can catch it flying between, or e're the other haue it fast, he thereby winneth the same to his side, which straightway of defendant becommeth assailant, as the other, of assailant falls to be defendant. The least breach of these lawes, the Hurlers take for a iust cause of going together by the eares, but with their fists onely; neither doth any among them seek reuenge for such wrongs or hurts, but at the like play againe. These hurling matches are mostly vsed at weddings, where commonly the ghests vndertake to encounter all commers.


The hurling to the Countrey, is more diffuse and confuse, as bound to few of these orders: Some two or more Gentlemen doe commonly make this match, appointing that on such a holyday, they will bring to such an indifferent place, two, three, or more parishes of the East or South quarter, to hurle against so many other, of the West or North. Their goales are either those Gentlemens houses, or some townes or villages, three or foure miles asunder, of which either side maketh choice after the neernesse to their dwellings. When they meet, there is neyther comparing of numbers, nor matching of men: but a siluer ball is cast vp, and that company, which can catch, and cary it by force, or sleight, to their place assigned, gaineth the ball and victory. Whosoeuer getteth seizure of this ball, findeth himselfe generally pursued by the aduerse party; neither will they leaue, till (without all respects) he be layd flat on Gods dear earth: which fall once receiued, disableth him from any longer detayning the ball: hee therefore throwet the same (with like hazard of intercepting, as in the other hurling) to some one of his fellowes, fardest before him, who maketh away withall in like maner.

The Survey of Cornwall Page 64

Richard Carew

16th Century Literature

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Richard Carew
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