You are here: Home > This Month's Highlight > 2011 Archive > June 2011: Death by Football

June 2011: Death by Football

North Moreton burials, 1598

If you too are in pain at the end of the 2010/11 football season - my problem is Reading FC - then how about this to put life into perspective.

Medieval and early modern football made tackling from behind look like a good luck handshake.  The basic principle had been established: try and get the ball/bladder over a set marker, and then you win.  Often the marker was a post or other feature, and the pitch typically spanned one end of a village to the other.

In between the markers on either side, there were two groups of players who might loosely be described as teams.  It was their job to get the ball the other side of the marker, and pretty much anything went in terms of tactics and behaviour.

Sometimes, though, things got very out of hand.  In May 1598, probably as part of traditional May Day festivities, a football match was held in North Moreton.  We know this because the parish register records the burials of both John and Richard Gregory, and says that they were 'killed at footeball'.

The register notes that a man known only as 'Ould Gunter' had drawn his dagger on the field of play, apparently after his own son had been involved in a fight with the Gregorys.  A few seconds later, and Gunter had stabbed both the Gregory brothers in the head.  One died on 20 May, the other on 25 May.

The period of old Gunter's FA suspension is unknown.


Leave a Comment

Fields marked with a * are required

0 response(s) so far…


Latest News
Survey of Visitors to UK Archives 2018
Survey takes place between 8th and 26th October
Stocktake and Christmas closure dates announced
Dates now available for when we will be closed this year
Distance Survey 2017 Results
BRO does very well in the latest survey of distance users
Visitor Survey 2016 Results
The results of the UK Visitor Survey 2016 are now available
We're Accredited!
The BRO is now an Accredited Archive Service
10,000th collection received at the BRO
The Berkshire Record Office celebrates receiving its 10,000th accession

Latest Galleries

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol
Biographies of Wilde and Berkshire's Victorian prison

Small Objects of Power

Small Objects of Power
An Exhibition about Medieval Seals

Enemies of the State

Enemies of the State
Irish Patriots in Reading Gaol

The Berkshire Echo

The Berkshire Echo 84
July 2018: Coleshill House and Estate - Conserving Coleshill - New to the Arc...