(Detail from Brueghel's Painting)

Get The Hat

This can be a very "rough" game. It appears to be a forerunner of games such as rugby and football.

According to Alice Gomme, Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland London; Thames and Hudson; 1894; 2 vol, this game is also called Cock Stide.

How The Game Is Played

Gomme offers this method of play:

"One boy is chosen as Cock. He is blindfolded, and stands alone, with his legs as far apart as possible. The other boys then throw their caps as far as they are able between the extended legs of the Cock. After the boys have thrown their caps, and each boy has taken his stand beside his cap, the Cock, still blindfolded, stoops down and crawls in search of the caps. The boy whose cap he first finds has to run about twenty yards under the buffeting of the other boys, the blows being directed chiefly to the head. He becomes Cock at the next turn of the game."

In a later version of this game reported in a descriiption of "playground games", the players are devided into two teams. A hat or some other object is taken from one of the players and tossed on the ground. (The choice of a "hat" is arbitrary. It could be a glove, a shoe, etc.) A "home area" or "goal line" is established before the game begins. The object of the game is for one team to try to retrieve the object and carry it to the "home area" or "goal line" while the other team prevents them from doing so. There does not seem to be any definition of "prevent" and supposedly this depended upon the players, their ages, and what the public would permit!

Last update February 9, 2010