Home > Derbyshire Events > 2008 Ashbourne Shrovetide Football

Photographs of the Ashbourne Shrovetide Football game, in 2008. 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 taken at this years Wednesday game, played on the 6th February 2008.
For photographs from previous Ashbourne Shrovetide Football games that I have attended, please use the following links. 2006 Photos, 2005 Photos, 2004 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).

Tuesdays game was turned up by David Wheatcroft (Chief Executive of Derbyshire Dales District Council) and was won by the Up'Ards at 7.50pm, scored by Stuart Leeman.

Wednesdays ball was turned up by Dave Mellor (champion stock-car racer) and was won by the Up'Ards again at 9.55pm, scored by Matthew Burtonshaw.

Ashbourne Football - Interactive mapping.
Click the thumbnail to the right to view a large interactive map of the game.

On this map I have highlighted the Henmore Brook which is where the two goals are located.
Also marked is the starting plinth and the Green Man hotel.
By using the Zoom controls and your mouse you can have a real good look around at the play area. You can zoom in by double clicking on the map or by using the zoom controls in the top left of the map viewer. You can also change the map to a tradditional map view.

Interactive Mapping

Photo selection
To view large versions of any of the photographs below, simply click on a thumbnail.
001 - The goal at Sturston, this is located on private property so please dont try and access this without permission.
002 - The goal at Clifton
003 - Another view of the goal at Clifton
004 - This is a view showing the new Clifton goal (left), The old goal in the middle distance, a sign telling you about the history of the game and the memorial bench.
005 - The David Johnson memorial bench, He was a keen player of the game for over 20 years who sadly passed away at the end of the 2007 Tuesday match. A one-minute silence was held on the Wednesday in honour of the player.
006 - Close up view of the carved wooden detail on the bench.
007 - An old Ashbourne Shrovetide ball from 1938
008 - An old Ashbourne Shrovetide ball from 1943
009 - An old Ashbourne Shrovetide ball from 1970

010 - The ball for Wednesday 6th February 2008 being held aloft by Dave Mellor.




































© Andy Savage © www.derbyphotos.co.uk