Once popular throughout Cornwall, hurling now survives traditionally in only two places - St Columb Major and St Ives. It is a street ball game, similar to the mass football customs described elsewhere, but in hurling the ball is thrown or carried, but never kicked. The ball is also smaller, about the size of a cricket ball, and although made of wood is coated with silver. At St Columb, the game is still played in the streets, between two sides - the 'town' and the 'country', with the latter coming from the outlying districts. The ball is thrown up in the Market Square and the idea is to get the ball back to your side's base, which is about a mile away. This takes place on Shrove Tuesday and again on the second Saturday following. The game at St Ives has been tamed somewhat and takes place on the first Monday after 3 February (Quinquagesima Sunday), and play takes place mainly on the beach. References to hurling in Cornwall date back at least to 1602, when Richard Carew wrote of it in some detail. He described two versions of the game, one relatively polite and controlled by strict rules, and the other the mass sport which took place 'over hills, dales, hedges, ditches, yea, and through bushes, briars, mires, plashes, and rivers . . . '. Daniel Defoe called it 'rude violent play', and 'brutish and furious', but virtually the same thing was said about all the mass sports.
   ■ Carew, 1602/1953 edn.: 147-50; Daniel Defoe, A Tour Through the whole Island of Great Britain (1724-6; Everyman edn., 257); A. Ivan Rabey, Hurling at St Columb and in Cornwall (1972).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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