English " Spell " Game Ball Thrower

19th Century
The game, which is said to be a little like golf, was at one time played all over Yorkshire.
The spell is a wooden frame which is stuck into the ground with it's wrought iron spikes.
Attached to it is a spring-loaded cup in which the knurr, a wooden or pottery ball, was placed.
Players would use a bat try to hit the ball after it was released from the spring-loaded cup, the aim being to hit it as far as possible.
Knur and spell – more usually billets or billeting, a variation of the ancient game , attracted huge support in its heyday, with hundreds of pounds changing hands. 
Knur and spell is believed to have originated in medieval times and was often played on Shrove Tuesday and Good Friday. It could be even older: the name derives from the Norse for ball game — “nurspel,” indicating that it may have come over with the Vikings, although “spell” is also a North Country word for a piece of wood.
The game was at the height of its popularity in the 19th century, played mainly in South Yorkshire and Lancashire. Billets, or billeting, acquired an equally enthusiastic following in the Calder Valley area where players congregated on any large open field and competed for prizes such as copper kettles.
Interest dwindled as wages rose and working men were able to afford to indulge in sports such as golf. There are still many, however, who have fond memories of knur and spell: truly the games of the labouring classes.


height: 15 in. (38 cm)
depth: 4&1/2
width/length: 24 in. (61 cm)

Number of items: 1
Materials/Techniques: iron and wood
Creator: unknown

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