K is for Knurr and Spell


Knurr and Spell… sounds like something out of a storybook, something involving chanting and ritual, doesn’t it?

Well, in fact it does, but in real life. Or at least it used to, out on the Moors of Yorkshire. It’s a sport. Not sure what sort of chanting there might have been. I’m sure there was something.

From Wikipedia:

Knurr (from Middle English: knurre, knot) refers to a hardwood or pottery ball, as could be made from a knot of wood. Spell (spil, spindle) is the stick of wood used to strike it.

Here they are, out on the Moors of Yorkshire, with their Knorrs and Spells…


I’m wondering about that fellow in the background. Do you suppose he was the scorekeeper? Or the target? Perhaps both? We’ll never know, but you are welcome to conjure away in the comments.

Here is a close up example of a Knurr and Spell. The white ball is the Knurr, which looks like a snowball perched on a slide (sort of). Notice the sharp feet … that’s for poking the device (a trap) into the grass. The spell appears to be sleeping. Or biding its time…


Example shown from Mullock’s Auction

In honor of Poetry Month, I’ll close with this:

The silent K of the Knurr

Breaks just as the game begins: WhacK.

Note: I’m participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge for 2016. Getting a little punchy, but only fifteen more letters to go!






2 thoughts on “K is for Knurr and Spell

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