May 17, 2015

Knor and Spell

Filed under: General — Bill @ 1:19 pm

Knurr 470oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooImage courtesy of Kirklees Museums & Galleries

Knor and spell (aka ‘knurr and spell’) was a popular game in the West Riding during the 19th century which was often played on Woodhouse Moor. The knor was a ball usually made of either box or holly. The spell was a tongue of steel which had a small brass cup at the end which held the knor. The knor was released by the player touching a spring attached to the spell, which cause the knor to fly into the air, allowing it to be hit by the player. The aim of the game was to hit the knor as far as possible.

During the 1860s, the champion knor and spell player was Kirk Stables of New Wortley. His main rival was Job (Nelly) Pearson of Farsley. The two played each other on numerous occasions, including on Woodhouse Moor, and in 1862 at the Old Brompton cricket ground in London.

Youths playing know and spell, and cricket on Woodhouse Moor, and the danger this caused to promenaders, are why byelaws were brought in in 1863 to restrict the playing of these games to certain parts of the Moor.

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