Saturday, 27 May 2006

The Sport of the Martyrs?

Outside the Conference Centre at Ushaw College (near Durham) is a strange wall with arches, as seen in the picture above. At first glance it might appear to be an extension of Hadrian's Wall or some medieval ruin, but it was actually built for the Ushaw version of handball. This is thought to have been brought to Ushaw from its mother foundation, the English College, Douai. Similar games were played at Downside, Ampleforth and elsewhere - an unexpected survival from recusant times. I wonder if some of the English martyrs, many of whom trained at Douai, happily spent their leisure time playing this fast-moving game?

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Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

An the pitch in front of the handball courts is for the games of 'Cats', also imported from Douai and a predecessor of baseball. It is still played in the summer at the Ushaw Reunion days...

7:47 pm  

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