Home > Derbyshire Events > 2002 Ashbourne Shrovetide Football

Photographs of the Ashbourne Shrovetide Football game, in 2002. 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 Tuesday game, played on the 12th February 2002.
For photographs from previous Ashbourne Shrovetide Football games that I have attended, please use the following links. 2007 Photos, 2006 Photos, 2005 Photos, 2004 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).

The ball for Wednesdays game was turned-up by The Mayor of Ashbourne, Tony Millward. That game was a draw as no one had scored by 10pm which meant he could take the ball home with him

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-120202ASHFOOT-01 - The "Turning up" stand in Ashbourne town centre. This brick plinth is located in Shaw Croft car park near Park Road, (back of Somerfield supermarket). Notice the Central News at Six Television van, When the game was under way I was standing to the left of it, until the crowd came that way!
DP-120202ASHFOOT-02 - St Johns street 40 minutes before the game is due to start. Notice how all the shops have been boarded up in case the ball comes this way.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-03 - This is St Johns Street, the green Man pub is on the right side by the black archway going over the road.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-04 - Presenting the ball to the crowd. This is Simon Plumbley, a local farmer who was invited to turn-up the ball for Tuesdays 2002 game. The time is now 14:05 and the crowd are getting anxious.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-05 - The time is 14:08 This is the moment that the ball was "Turned-up" into the crowd and just about the last time I got to see the ball.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-06 - This is about a minute into the game and no sign of the ball. From time to time a trainer gets hurled into the air to cheers from the crowd.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-07 - After about 10 minutes the crowd started to move towards Park Road. The van you can see to the left had a camera man on the top filming for Central news but when the ball came towards it, the cameraman had to be helped down by policeman because it was getting rocked by the crowds.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-08 - The game has now moved across Park Road towards the Fire Station. The game stayed here for quite a while as there was a wire fence which had to be navigated.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-09 - This is the scene viewed from the fire station. The ball is in there somewhere!
DP-120202ASHFOOT-10 - After about 1 hour 20 minutes the game had moved through Lakeside and onto Park Avenue (at the bottom of Cullen Avenue.) I took this shot while standing on a wall in Lake side.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-11 - After 1 hour 40 minutes the game was still on Park Avenue as you can see here. This shot taken from the end of Park Avenue. At this time I decided to leave the game to go and find one of the Goals.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-12 - This structure is The Clifton Goal and it is located in Henmore Brook. This can be found by going to Clifton village (A515) and turning down Watery Lane, You will see the goal on your rightside just before you go over the bridge. This goal is 1.5 miles from the start of the game, It's hard to imagine that such a tranquil scene could soon look like it did in the town centre! The other goal which looks the same as this one, is located 3 miles upstream at Sturston Mill.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-13 - This structure is the old Clifton Goal and is about 3 metres behind the current Clifton goal. It is made of stone which was part of Clifton Mill. The current goal was sited in the water to make scoring a goal more challenging.
DP-120202ASHFOOT-14 - This is the green Man pub in St Johns street, before the game is played a few hundred guests meet here for lunch and speeches. Here you can see the crowds outside. The game starts in 25 Minutes so best to get back to the car park.

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















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