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Gruesome British folk sports – from cheese-rolling to Hare Pie Scramble

Harry Pearson’s tour of village games over the centuries even includes a Georgian football match where an Englishman’s severed head was used as the ball

3 June 2023

9:00 AM

3 June 2023

9:00 AM

No Pie, No Priest: A Journey Through the Folk Sports of Britain Harry Pearson

Simon & Schuster, pp.256, 16.99

‘Two mobs of men fighting over possession of a ball in a freezing, muddy river in Derbyshire,’ writes Harry Pearson, ‘is the British equivalent of the Rio Carnival.’ He’s not wrong. Brazil may have the sun, but we’ve got the capacity for mindless violence. It’s a trait expressed in many of the folk sports covered in this highly entertaining book.

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