Home > Derbyshire Events > 2004 Ashbourne Shrovetide Football

Photographs of the Ashbourne Shrovetide Football game, in 2004. Ashbourne, Derbyshire, UK.
This page features pictures and information about the following:
The annual Shrovetide football game, played in Ashbourne, derbyshire.

This set of exclusive images were live on the internet within 2 hours of taking them, I hope you like them. This years Tuesday game was played on the 24th February 2004.
For photographs from previous Ashbourne Shrovetide Football games that I have attended, please use the following links. 2007 Photos, 2006 Photos, 2005 Photos, 2002 Photos.
For other events in Derbyshire over the years use my Derbyshire Events index.

Ashbourne is about 16 miles from Derby and is very straight forward to reach via the A52. The journey takes 20 minutes by car. If you plan to visit on one of these two days then its best not to park in the town centre otherwise you may find your car gets damaged. Also despite the fact that the game starts in Shawcroft carpark, it is not possible nor desirable to park in it on one of these days for obvious reasons!

Ashbourne in Derbyshire is host to one of the Oldest Shrovetide football games in England.
It was first recorded in 1682, though thought to date back to the 12th Century ,various attempts were made to suppress it over the years.
It has continued unabated ever since, and by 1928 it had become so respectable that the then Prince of Wales was invited to start the game. From that year on it was known as the Royal Shrovetide Football game. The Game is played annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, and consists of two teams, one from anyone born to the North of the River Henmore, and one from people born South of the river, these are known as Up'ards and Down'ards.

The Goals are on the sites of Old mills, one at Clifton and one at Sturston, these are three miles apart.
A goal is scored by a player striking the mill wheel three times with the Ball.
The ball may be kicked, carried or thrown, but generally proceeds in a series of 'hugs' invisible to the spectator. The game can last for many hours, finishing well after dark.

The game starts at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when a specially prepared ball - larger than a football and filled with cork which weighs around 4lbs is thrown in by a visiting guest of honor. The balls used for the Shrovetide games are made by Ashbourne man John Harrison.
The hand sewn leather balls are filled with cork chippings.

The balls are a work of art and take a few weeks to paint.

If the balls are goaled, then it will become the proud possession of the person who has goaled it. If no-one goals it, then the person that turned-up the ball gets to take it home.

The game starts in the Shawcroft Carpark (back of Somerfield supermarket).

This year Tuesdays game was 'turned up' by Sir Richard Fitzherbert of Tissington Hall.

Wednesday's game was started by Fred Harrison, local farmer and businessman. No goals were scored in either of the two games this year, So it was a draw!

For an exact Map location of the start of the game click HERE. Use the Zoom controls to look around.

Andy's Better detailed map locations :
For an exact location of the place where the ball is "turned up" click HERE to see it on Google maps.
If you have the GoogleEarth application installed then click HERE to see the exact location marked.

Click here to visit the Google Earth site (Broadband required)

Photo selection
DP-240204ASHFOOT-01 - This is the corner of Dig street and Church street in the town centre, The shops have been prepared with wooden barriers just in case the crowd comes this way!
DP-240204ASHFOOT-02 - This is St John's Street, In half an hour from now the game will be under way.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-03 - This is Where St John's Street turns up onto Buxton Road (A515).
DP-240204ASHFOOT-04 - Here we see some of the players outside the Wheel Inn pub on Compton Street.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-05 - Here we see some other players outside Ye Olde Vaults pub in the Market Place.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-06 - This is Compton Street bridge which Henmore Brook runs under. 45 mins into the game the ball was in this water, only to end up coming back the other way again.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-07 - Here you can see the ball being held high as it is paraded through the crowd towards the "Turning up" stand by Sir Richard Fitzherbert of Tissington Hall.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-08 - Here Sir Richard Fitzherbert presents the ball to the crowds and is met with loud cheer.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-09 - Before the game can start, Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem are sung.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-10 - This is the moment that the crowd have been waiting for, the start of Tuesdays 2004 game.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-11 - The ball finally starts to make some progress, heading towards Compton Street.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-12 - Here the ball is by the side of Somerfield supermarket. To the left of this photo a lamppost was up-routed and knocked over while in play here, No one was hurt.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-13 - The ball only briefly entered the water, these players were ready to carry the ball up stream but their plans were dashed at the last minute.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-14 - The game stayed on Belper road for some time, Here we can see it in full flow on the corner of Belper Road and Park Road.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-15 - This poor lorry driver probably wished he had never come to Ashbourne as he got surrounded by the game on Sturston Road.
DP-240204ASHFOOT-16 - Notice the plumes of steam rising from where the ball is in play, this is the only real way you can tell where the ball is!

To view large versions of any of the photographs below, simply click on a thumbnail.

















© Andy Savage © www.derbyphotos.co.uk