Thursday, 8 December 2016

Orkney Archive Advent Calendar - Ba' Humbug!

The account book shown above belonged to Patrick Graeme of Graemshall and the entry for 26th December 1781 reads: ' By given for a prize to be played for at the football on Christmas Day'.

This presumably refers to the Holm ba' game which no is no longer played. John Robertson's book Uppies and Doonies describes it thus:

'The sides were the East and West ends of the village and the throw-up took place at the Post Office, the Youth's ba' starting at noon and the men's ba' two hours later. The goals were St Mary's loch at the West End and the old Grain Store at the East end... that there should be a water goal is in the true tradition of the game.

The contests were rough and punishing, and one of my informants who had been present nearly sixty years before, said "they tore the very claes aff yer back".'

Orkney Archive reference: D5/11/7 (this is a closed collection but applications, in writing, can be made via the archives department for consideration of the owners of the collection..)

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