Saturday, 10 November 2012

White Hart, Newbold-on-Stour, Warwickshire

The licensee of the White Hart at Newbold-on-Stour has made every effort to incorporate a range of traditional games into the pubs offering. The Aunt Sally 'Throw' to the side of the pub was originally laid as a Pétanque piste, but the game didn't find favour with the locals. When the nearby Bird in Hand pub was put up for sale, its future uncertain, the bright yellow Hook Norton backcloth of the 'local' game was moved across the road, where it is now stands facing the main road through the village.

The padded metal 'Iron' shown here is topped with a freely rotating 'Swivel', on which is located the wooden 'Doll'. The black circle on the sheet helps to highlight the white Doll during play.

The various Aunt Sally leagues all have well presented websites where a better understanding of the game can be found than I can give here. The White Hart team play in Division 3 of the Chipping Norton Invitation Aunt Sally League, and the game can be seen played on alternate Thursday evenings throughout the Summer.

Winter gaming is catered for in the cosy bar area of the White Hart with one of the oldest pub games still in play. A really splendid carved wooden Ring The Bull is mounted on a beam above the open fire, and is unusual in that it would originally have had five scoring hooks rather than the usual single hook game. The brass number plates for hooks 1, 2, and 5 still exist, and would presumably have been used for a scoring game of some description, or perhaps to go 'round the board' in a similar way to the game of Rings. The existing single hook may well be a later addition for a simplified game. Ringing the bull is more difficult than it looks, so it's perhaps surprising to learn that the record for consecutive 'rings' at the pub stands at well over a hundred! A Shut The Box, this one numbering to12 and using three dice, is also available for play in the bar.

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