Billets

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Game Billets
Game Family Baseball Baseball
Location England
Regions Britain
Invented No
Description

[A] in the 1670s, Francis Willughby listed hornebillets on his compilation of games, or "plaies."  Of all his games, this game description closest to base ball and cricket -- resembling the o'cat games with two or four or six players -- but it employs a section of animal horn, or a sort stick, and not a ball. 

[B] "Thomas Wright's 1857 Dict. of Obsolete and Provincial English(v. 1 p. 210) lists as the third meaning for "billet" the game of Tip-Cat and connects it to Derbyshire."

[C] Responding to John Thorn's Our Game blog on 2/26/2013, Clive Williams wrote that trap ball "is  a very similar game to one my brother encountered near Halifax, Yorkshire about 50 years ago. In Yorkshire the game was called I think 'Billets' and he was never able to make it clear whether the piece to be struck was a round wooden ball or just a small chunk of hardwood of no particular shape. What you had to do, as is mentioned in the article is to make sure that nobody can catch the wooden article so getting the direction and the height right with a sort of weapon like a walking stick (cane) must have been tricky."

 

 

Sources

[A] David Cram, Jeffrey L. Forgeng, and Dorothy Johnston, Francis Willughby's Book of Games: A Seventeenth Century Treatise on Sports, Games, and Pastimes [Ashgate Publishing, 2003], p. 182; see item 1672c.2

[B] Email from Tom Altherr, 2/27/2013.

[C] Email from Clive Williams to John Thorn, 2/26/2013.

 



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