THE GAME OF HURLING.
THE game of " Hurling" was, until a recent period, played in the parishes to the west of Penzance on the 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 side.
The run was from Burian Cross in the Church-town, to the Pipers in Boloeit. All the gentry from the surrounding parishes would meet at Boloeit to see the ball brought in.
"Hurling matches" are peculiar to Cornwall. They are trials of skill between two parties, consisting of a considerable number of men, forty to sixty a side, and often between two parishes. These exercises have their name from "hurling" a wooden ball, about three inches in diameter, covered with a plate of silver, which is sometimes gilt, and has commonly a motto, " Gware wheag yeo gware teag," "Fair play is good play." The success depends on catching the ball dexterously when thrown up, or dealt, and carrying it off expeditiously, in spite of all opposition from the adverse party; or, if that be impossible, throwing it into the hands of a partner, who in his turn, exerts his efforts to convey it to his own goal, which is often three or four miles' distance. This sport, therefore, requires a nimble hand, a quick eye, a swift foot, and skill in wrestling; as well as strength, good wind, and lungs. Formerly it was practised annually by those who attended corporate bodies in surveying the bounds of parishes; but from the many accidents that usually attended that game, it is now scarcely ever practised. Silver prizes used to be awarded to the victor in the games. A correspondent at St Ives writes :--
HURLING THE SILVER BALL--This old custom is still observed at St Ives. The custom is also kept up at St Colomb and St Blazey, on the anniversary of the dedication of the church. St Ives Feast is governed by the Candlemas-day, it being the nearest Sunday next before that day. On the Monday after, the inhabitants assemble on the beach, when the ball, which is left in the custody of the mayor for the time being, is thrown from the churchyard to the crowd. The sides are formed in this way, --
Toms, Wills, and Jans,
Take off all's on the san's--
that is, all those of the name of Thomas, John, or William are ranged on one side, those of any other Christian name on the other; of late years the odd names outnumbered the Toms, Wills, and Jans. There is a pole erected on the beach, and each side strives to get the oftenest at the "goold," i.e., the pole the other side as manfully striving to keep them out, and to send their opponents as great a distance from the pole as possible. The tradition is, that the contest used to be between the parishes of Ludgvan, Lelant, audi St Ives,--St lves, then being part of the living of Ludgvan,--and that they used to have a friendly hurling at Ludgvan, and that afterwards the contest was between Lelant and St Ives. A stone near to Captain Perry's house is, shown, where the two parishes used to meet at the feast, and the struggle' was to throw the ball into the parish church, the successful party keeping the ball, the unsuccessful buying a new one. St Ives is said to have out. numbered the Lelant folks, so that they gave up the contest, and the ball was left with St Ives. Thus much is certain--that the feasts of St lves, Lelant, and Ludgvan fall properly on one Sunday, though a misunderstanding has arisen, Lelant claiming to be governed by the day before Candlemas-day,. which will alter the three every seven years.
The game of hurling is now but rarely played, and the Sabbath is never broken by that or by any other game.