This film is part of Free

Ashbourne Shrovetide Football

Join the rough and tumble of the annual Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne - that's if you can see the ball amongst the brawling mass of limbs.

Non-Fiction 1974 11 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


ATV Today really went to town for the 1974 Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, sending two reporters to get different angles on the game. Peter Green is on hand to talk to Shrovetide veterans who try to outdo each other with their tales of past battles and goals whilst the more intrepid Chris Tarrant braves the cold of the River Henmore and pitches into the battle: "Some bloke keeps kicking me in the groin...".

As with many ancient customs the origins of Ashbourne's Shrovetide football is obscure, with claims of its roots dating back to the 12th Century. What is certain is that two teams from the town do battle: the up'ards and the down'ards. The up'ards are made up of people who were born north of the River Henmore and the down'ards from the southern side. They do battle over two days attempting to 'goal' the ball, generally relying on a moving scrum (the 'hug') to reach their objective. Two mills were traditionally used for the goals but by the time this film was shot only one was still standing: Sturston Mill, which has also since been demolished.