Shrove Tuesday Sculpture


Stone Sculpture showing Shrove Tuesday ball game

Sedgefield: Shrove Tuesday ball game sculpture.  The sculpture, outside the parish church, was designed by Brian Sutherland and made in 2000 by David France. It illustrates a local custom which is alleged to have originated in playing with the head of a Scotsman.


This Shrove Tuesday ball game stone sculpture stands within the grounds of St Edmund’s  Church, Sedgefield, County Durham.  The tradition of this pancake day ball game is reputedly between 700 to 1000 years old.  A sort of Shrovetide football match.

It starts when an honoured guest passes the small ball (just bigger than a cricket ball) three times through the Bull Ring, Sedgefield Town Green, and then throws it to the players.  Originally contested by two teams, The Tradesmen and The Countrymen, it has now become a free for all.  A mass scramble ensues to gain possession, and be the first to kick the ball into a goal and then back to the playing field.

The leather ball is said to bear the inscription:

‘When with pancakes you are sated
Come to this ring where you’ll be mated
Where this ball will be uncast
May this game be better than the last’

However, on the day, not a lot is apparently seen of the ball and reading an inscription is last on the minds of the contestants.




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