Shrovetide football in Ashbourne: The celebrities who got down (and up) with the locals
LEGEND has it that Royal Shrovetide football in Ashbourne dates back to the 12th century.
Competitors traditionally play for the Up'ards or the Down'ards, depending on whether they were born on the Sturston or Clifton side of the Henmore Brook.
People born on the south side are Down'ards. They try to goal the ball at the old Clifton Mill.
Those born on the north are Up'ards and try to goal the ball at the old Sturston Mill.
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Play, which always takes place on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, begins when the ball is "turned up", often by a well-known celebrity on the first day and then by a local person on the second.
The goals are placed three miles apart and the teams can use any method to get the ball to the goals.
The few rules of play state that allotments and graveyards are off limits and that the ball must not be carried in a motorised vehicle.
Each day's play starts at 2pm and usually finishes at about 10pm.
If a ball is goaled before 5pm, another ball is turned up.
After that, play continues until 10pm, or until someone scores.
In terms of tactics, despite the apparent random nature of the game, each side has a hierarchy of senior players.
They spend months plotting different methods of play and improving their fitness for the matches.