Friday, 21 March 2008

Uppies and Downies

The Uppies and Downies is a series of ball games held in Workington each Easter. The games have been supported by the local Daglish family for over 300 years, and I had the pleasure of seeing the Tuesday game last year - and had hoped to be back this year, but unfortunately work commitments made this impossible.

The future of the games is in doubt following the sale of the Cloffocks, an open area on which the games are played, to Tesco - which intends to build a large supermarket and petrol station on the site (see illustration below).

In January Tesco's planning application received approval by Allerdale Council. As well as concerns for the future of the games, other questions have been raised about the way in which the local council conducted the sale.

These games are part of the history and tradition of the local community which Tesco hopes to serve - and it would be a real shame if these were lost. There have been some suggestions to re-locate the games to another site - but this would make it an organised event which is contrary to the spirit and tradition of the games.

On Tuesday evening, the ball was thrown off by Robert Daglish junior, continuing the long family tradition. His father, Robert Daglish senior, talking to the local media about the current situation said:

“I hope that the new Tesco won’t bring a stop the game as it is right in the heart of where the Uppies try to get the ball to. As long I have a breath in my body I want the game to continue. It is part of the tradition of Workington. It would be a sad day if the game had to stop.”

The Uppies won the 2008 series 2-1, their fourth successive win.

See recent coverage from the BBC and Times & Star.

The games are celebrated in a recent book "Uppies and Downies: The extraordinary football games of Britain" by Hugh Hornby, published by English Heritage.

Whilst the book takes its name from the Workington games, it also looks at other similar events around the country and provides a useful calendar of these.

The book includes a photograph from 1872 of Anthony Daglish, pictured holding the balls he had hailed for the Uppies in that and the previous year (the years are on the balls).
There is also reference to an article in the Whitehaven News in 1931 that the Daglish family once owned a 300-year old ball won by an ancestor. I wonder where that is now?

Update 2014:
I recently received an email which read:
Now that we have got rid of any talk of Tesco building on the Cloffocks we thought that would be an end to it but the council now want to build a leisure centre down there.

2014 games 
The 2014 games went ahead as usual, with the Downies winning 3-0. A report of the games appears here, with a link to a report and pictures from the Tuesday game - this notes:
The ball was thrown off by Robert Daglish, 34, who had had the honour for 24 years. He was with his wife Jennifer and their 16-month-old son Harry, who will throw off the ball when he is old enough.

The Barbarians of Workington
I also recently found another book "The Barbarians of Workington: Uppies v Downies" by Keith Wallace (Wallace & Scott 2009).

This contains many stories and photos, including the following one of Anthony Daglish:

There is also a list of Hailers of the Ball, including the following Daglishes:

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Daglish - the development of a name

There has been little new Daglish news to write about recently. If you have any stories, photos or anything that might be of interest, please let me know.

Today I attended a meeting of the London branch of the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society. The speaker was Rosalind Moffitt and the subject "Surnames in the North East".

Rosalind studies the history of surnames, in particular those from North East England where her family comes from. After studying English at Durham University, Rosalind trained as a Speech and Language Therapist and spent time working with children. She began her talk by looking at how young children adapt words - and how this might be applied to ways in which surnames developed in an age of widespread illiteracy.

Names might be simplified by dropping syllables from the word or maybe just the last consonant or by using different vowels.

Looking at the entries in the Whickham parish register for marriages - in which Daglishes have appeared since the late 1500s - we can perhaps see some examples of this.

The earliest entry is for the name Daglis, maybe a case where the last consonant has been dropped. Will Daglis married Magdalene Thompson on 30 January 1596.

Under burials, there is an entry for 3 April 1613 which reads:

"A POORE child of Daglis, his wife, and the mother and two other children of Daglis. Buried."

The spelling of Daglis continued to be used until around 1615, after which various others are used - including Dagglish, Dagleish and Dagleese - until the name is shown as Daglesh, a change of vowel. This begins with the marriage of John Daglesh to Barbery Croser on 31 May 1669 and continues until around 1691.

After this date the spelling Daglish is consistently used.

This is how the name may have developed in one key Parish - this may also have been influenced by changes in the local vicar and how the name was written down. In other places the name may have developed differently.

The subject of how the name may have changed is of interest because of some recent developments with the Daglish DNA Study.

We now have matching DNA results with a person named DOUGLAS and with a person named DALGLIESH. Both of these people live in Scotland. Both of these names have been suggested in various reference books as the source of the name Daglish (though neither have been found to be linked through standard research of historical records).

It is perhaps possible to see how Douglas may link to the early records as Daglis, and also to imagine that the Scottish name Dalglish or Dalgliesh may have been simplified if it moved across the border into North East England. This is a subject for further research.

Rosalind Moffitt runs a service Nameswell Surname Research and also writes for Family Tree Magazine.