The game of quoits was always played outside The Hollies. Six flat iron rings were sent whirling through the air to a small mound of clay from which protuded a feather. The top score went to the player who was able to get as many of the six rings as possible over the feather. Sometimes scores were reckoned on the various distances from the feather when the quoits were thrown. The usual distance was 12 yards.
Tip Cat needed a circle marked on the ground; a long stick and a small piece of rounded wood sharpened at both ends called the Tip Cat. The boy/girl holding the Tip Cat was called Striker. The Striker had to throw the Tip Cat with such force so it would cut into the turf inside the circle. However, the boy/girl holding the long stick would attempt to stop the progress of the Tip Cat by whacking it with the stick as far away as possible from the circle. In order to retrieve the Tip Cat, the Striker was allowed so many jumps to retrieve it. If he/she failed, he/she lost the game.
Fox and Hounds was a chasing game, with the “fox” going way ahead, before the “hounds” followed. The “hounds” had to guess which way the “fox” went by listening for his cry.
Stag Warning was similar to Fox and Hounds.
Prison and Brace was a form of tag with two lines of children facing each other, and one in the middle who called out the name of someone in the opposite side to chase him.
Cricket was played on the village green (near the Manor gates). Bowling hoops and hop-scotch were games more for the girls, but the boys joined in.
Having fun games (tormenting!). One consisted of a pin, button and reel of cotton – and a dark night! The pin was stuck into someone’s window-frame. The cotton was threaded through the button, then fastened to the pin. The button was secured with knots a few inches from the pin. The cotton reel was then unravelled until the thread reached across the other side of the road. By pulling gently on the thread, the button would then tap on the window - irritatingly - scaring the occupants!
Another game – again in the dark, was to collect articles from all the houses, one per house, i.e. bucket, spade, broom etc. and pile them, in a heap in The Square. The enjoyment came next morning, watching the villagers sort out from the heap what belonged to them and take them back to their homes, muttering angrily.
Vic Radbourne told me of the time when some of his brothers and their friends tried their usual trick of banging on people’s doors on dark evenings, then running away and hiding to see what would happen when the householder came out. On this occasion, they chose the Pub door, then ran a few yards and crouched down in the darkness of the hedge. Suddenly a sash window upstairs opened and splashes of something wet landed on them,. They shot off home convinced it was the contents of Violet Woodward’s chamber pot!
Death from a game
FROM THE STRATFORD-UPON-AVON HERALD Friday October 24th 1941 Boy’s Death following a Kick on Ankle Fatal game of ‘hopping Jenny’ at Clifford Whilst playing at Clifford School a game variously known as ‘Hopping Jenny’ and ‘Hop-a-charger’, an eight-year old Milcote boy accidentally received a kick on the ankle. Septicaemia set in and he died in Stratford-on-Avon Hospital a few days later. This was the tragic story related to Mr. G. F. Lodder (Coroner for South-West Warwickshire) at an inquest at Stratford-on-Avon on Tuesday on Raymond John Bentley, son of Mr. Robert Bentley, a military policeman, and Mrs. Bentley of Richardson’s Cottage, Milcote. A verdict of ‘Accidental Death’ was recorded. Mr. D. P. Marks said that the boy was admitted to hospital on Sunday afternoon suffering from osteo-myelitis of the left fibula. An operation was performed that evening, but the boy died on the following day. He was suffering from a virulent form of the disease (inflamation of the bone due to a germ); otherwise he appeared quite healthy. He was not undernourished. Removed to Hospital Mrs. Vera May Bentley, the boy’s mother, said that his grandmother met him in the village on his return from school. He was limping and crying bitterly. She put him on her cycle and pushed him home. As soon as he had had tea, he asked to go to bed. He said that one of the boys kicked him on the ankle, which was then beginning to swell. He was restless all night and the next morning was feverish. At about 2.30pm, he had a convulsion. She sent for the doctor. The skin of the ankle was not broken and there was no bruise, bit it was swollen and became worse. The doctor visited the boy daily. She applied cold compresses to the injury – the doctor said that was all that could be done. The boy gradually became weaker. On Sunday he was very ill and was removed to hospital. Questioned about the kicking, witness said that Raymond did not tell the teacher because he did not like telling tales. The Coroner: He did not tell you anything about the kicking being done intentionally? Witness: He just said that he had been kicked. A schoolboy, Maurice John George Woodfield of Pear Tree Cottage, Clifford Chambers, said that the boys were playing ‘Hopping Jenny’, a game in which they hopped on one foot with their arms together and tried to barge one another over. One of the boys had to be in the middle and try to get across. Someone bumped Raymond, who complained that his leg hurt him, and he left the game and sat down, This occurred at about 11 o’clock, and as his ankle continued to hurt him, he did not play in the afternoon. Accidental Another boy, Malcolm John Best of Maybank Farm, Clifford Hill, said that in the game of ‘Hop-a-charger’, his heel caught Raymond’s ankle. On the way home from school, other boys hit witness because they thought that it was done purposely. Mrs. Millicent Timperley, headmistress of Clifford School, said that she knew nothing of the incident until the following day. The game was no more dangerous than any other. It was a Wolf-cub game. She and her assistant were in the playground at the time, but saw nothing. In recording his verdict, the Coroner described the case as “frightfully unfortunate.” “In the ordinary way,” he added, “this should have been some slight injury. Unfortunately there developed this frightful thing called septicaemia. I am sure it as a pure accident.” Mr. Lodder expressed sympathy with the parents.