Medieval Football’s coming home…

Bishop Thomas Beckynton’s regulations for cathedral choristers, dated circa 1460, contain the earliest reference we have to sport at Wells Cathedral School:

‘Seeing that it is of advantage to provide relaxation from time to time from the cares of work and observances in quire, it is right that the Master or under-Master should assign a suitable time and place for the boy’s games; provided that in their games the boys are in no way associated with laymen or boys from outside the school or any persons whatever of a dissolute nature. Their games must be played decently without any swearing, fighting, quarrelling, or any vestige of raillery.’

In homage to this tradition, head of history, Chris Eldridge, decided to resurrect the ancient sport of medieval football that Beckynton’s choristers would have played at this year’s senior school sports day on Wednesday. The original game had virtually no rules: no boundaries, no rules on possession, nor on how the ball might be propelled. Wells referee Sam helped evolve a set of guidelines which preserve the spirit of the game but also made it safe for a school environment. Thus was born the Beckynton Trophy – a match each for the senior boys’ and senior’ girls houses. All three houses play simultaneously with three goals using a ball made of hay and after two tense matches the victors were Plumptre captained by Adele, and Ritchie captained by Tom. Thus a new Wellensian tradition has been born…