Hurling the Silver Ball

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Hurling the Silver Ball

Monday following February 3
St. Ia (or Eia or Ives) is the patron saint of St. Ives, Cornwall. She was one of a group of Celtic missionary saints believed to have reached the southwestern tip of England miraculously by crossing the Irish Sea in a millstone boat. They made a safe landing at the place where St. Ives now stands, and there are parishes and churches throughout Cornwall named after them.
St. Ives celebrates Feast Monday, near the Feast of St. Ia on February 3, by playing an ancient game known as hurling. In this case the ball is made of cork encased in silver, which is believed to be very old and is kept in the town clerk's office during the year.
The mayor begins the game by tossing the silver ball against the side of the parish church, which is dedicated to St. Ia. Children then take over, tossing the ball back and forth in what might be described as a kind of "hand football." The game stops promptly at 12 noon, and whoever has the ball in his or her possession at that time receives a cash prize or a medal. The festivities continue in the afternoon with more sporting events, and there is a municipal ball in the evening.
CONTACTS:
Town of St. Ives
St. Ives Town Council
The Guildhall, Street an Pol
St. Ives, Cornwall TR26 2DS United Kingdom
44-17-3679-7840
www.cornwall.gov.uk
SOURCES:
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 34
YrFest-1972, p. 123