The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Trippet Stones

Stone Circle


Whilst reading "The English Year - A month-by-month guide to the nation's customs and festivals, from May Day to Mischief Night" by Steve Roud, I came across an item in the section about traditional sports which could point to a possible origin of the name of the Trippet Stones.

"Tipcat was once and internationally popular game with children and adults alike, but is now largely forgotten in England. The 'cat' was a piece of wood, placed on the ground, so shaped at the ends that when a player hit it with their bat (or catstaff) it would fly into the air. As it came up, the player tried to hit it as far as they could. A large ring had been marked out, or agreed, and if the player failed to hit the cat out of the ring they were out. If they succeeded, then a score was awarded, depending on the distance the cat had travelled. Variant names for the game are 'Cat', 'Trippet', 'Nipsy', 'Piggy' or 'Peggy'.

The earliest reference to the game so far discovered in Britain is in an Anglo-Latin lexicon of c.1440, but wooden 'tipcats' were found in the ruins of Rahan, Egypt, dating from about 2500BC.

In a variant form, a number of evenly spaced holes were made round the circumference of a circle, and a player was placed by each hole, armed with a stick. The cat was thrown to the nearest batsman and if they hit it the players ran on from hole to hole until the cat was retrieved, scoring a point for each hole reached."

Holes with people in? In a circle? Sounds like a Pipers-/Hurlers-/Merry Maidens-/etcetc type legend to me!
goffik Posted by goffik
18th August 2010ce

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