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Benefits for Adults Seen in Ballplaying in English Shire: Tutball Rules Described

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Females, Holidays, Pre-modern Rules
Location England
Game Tut-Ball, Rounders, Stoolball
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Juvenile, Youth, Adult
Holiday Ash Wednesday

"Yorkshire: Now only played by boys, but half a century ago [1850's] by Adults on Ash Wednesday, believing that unless they did so they would fall sick in harvest time.  This is a very ancient game, and was elsewhere called stool-ball. [West Yorkshire]. Shropshire: Tut-ball; as played at a young ladies school at Shiffnal fifty years ago. (See also 1850c.34).  The players stood together in their 'den,'behind a line marked on the ground, all except one, who was 'out', and who stood at a distance and threw the ball to them.  One of the players in the den then hit back the ball with the palm of the hand, and immediately ran to one of three brick-bats, called 'tuts' . . . .  The player who was 'out' tried to catch the ball and to hit the runner with it while passing from one 'tut' to another.  If she succeeded in doing so she took her place in the den and the other went 'out' in her stead.  This game is nearly identical with rounders." 


Joseph Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary (Henry Frowd, London, 1905), page 277.  Part or all of this entry appears to credit Burne's Folklore (1883) as its source.


Note: This describes a scrub form of tutball/rounders.  It suggests that all hitting was forward, thus in effect using a foul line, as would make sense with a single fielder.

The claim that tutball and stoolball used the same rules is surprising; stoolball is fairly uniformly described as having but two bases or stools, and using a bat.

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