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Easter Ball Play at Churches Ends in France

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Bans
City/State/Country: France, England
Immediacy of Report Retrospective

"Certain types of ball games had a prominent place in heathen rituals and were believed to promote fertility. Even after Christianity had gained the ascendancy over the older religion, ball continued to be played in the churchyard and even within the church at certain times. In France, ball was played in churches at Easter, until the custom was abolished in 1538. In England, the practice persisted up to a much later date."

The abolition in France is attributed to an act of the French Parlement. 




Brewster, Paul G., American Nonsinging Games [University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1953] pp. 79-89. Submitted by John Thorn, 6/6/04.  Brewster gives no source for the French dictum, nor for the "later date" when Easter play ceased in England.

Bob Tholkes (email of 10/4/2017) found a later source: Dawn Marie Hayes, “Earthly Uses of Heavenly Spaces: Non-Liturgical Activities in Sacred Place”, in Studies in Medieval History & Culture, Francis G. Gentry, ed., Routledge, 2003, p. 64. 


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Submitted by John Thorn, Bob Tholkes
Submission Note Emails to Protoball, 2006 and 2017

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