Enjoy this 18th century tradition of Hallaton and Medbourne villagers as they battle for the cask of ale.
This is an ancient custom with two distinct parts. The first is a charity dole and the second is a mass “ballgame” played with small wooden casks called bottles. The fun starts with a procession from the Fox Inn through the village, led by the Warrener with his hare-topped staff and his attendants with baskets of bread and the eponymous Hare Pie (I believe it’s minced beef these days). The Bottles, be-ribboned,filled with ale and each weighing 5 kg, are carried by three strong players. Once at the church gate, the pie is blessed and distributed to the crowd; the Procession then returns to the Buttercross in the centre of the village where the loaves are given out and then goes back to the Fox. A break follows then it all starts up again with another Procession, this time to Hare Pie Bank where the game takes place. Play is between the villagers of Hallaton and their neighbours from Medbourne and the goals are a mile apart; the bottles are thrown in the air and a fierce contest begins.Injuries are fairly common as the scrum heaves across the fields, over any obstacles including fences and streams in its path. Play can continue after dark and the game is decided by the best of three bottles. There are few rules!