The game of crosse has always been a working class game, without saying that the gentry did not like the game. When a game is popular, there is a good chance that it will be mentioned in one way or another in songs and poems.
In the course of the centuries crosseurs played their game in the vicinity of cafés (often their ‘clubhouse’), where they had a few glasses of wine or beer and sometimes a simple meal.
It is obvious that there existed many ‘pub songs’ to celebrate victory or defeat.
When from the end of the 19th century, crosse societies were founded, many of these societies had club songs. Most of these songs were lost when many of these societies were disbanded in the 1970’s.
An exception is the ‘Marche des Crosseurs’ from 1901 which we present you here, including its sheet of music.
Happy singing!


Le jeu de crosse a toujours été un jeu pour le peuple, sans que cela veuille dire que la noblesse n’aimât pas aussi y jouer. Quand un jeu est populaire, il y a de fortes chances pour que des chansons ou des poèmes s’en empare.
Au fil des siècles, les crosseurs jouaient aux alentours de leurs bistrots (souvent leur « club house ») là où ils prenaient quelques verres de vin ou de bière et quelquefois un repas simple. Il est évident que beaucoup de chants de bistrot célèbrent la victoire ou la défaite.
Quand à partir de la fin du 19ème siècle, des sociétés de crosse furent fondées, beaucoup d’entre elles eurent leurs chansons de club. La plupart de ces chansons se sont perdues quand, dans les années 1970, beaucoup de sociétés se sont dissoutes.
Une exception est la « Marche des Crosseurs » de 1901 que nous vous présentons ici ; même la feuille de musique a survécu jusqu’à nos jours.
Bon chant !

In the history of European stick and ball games, women and children have hardly ever played a more than marginal role. It took until the end of the 19th century for women in sports to become notable, often under the patronage of men.
During the many centuries of the existence of the games of crosse, colf, mail and golf not much has been written, drawn or painted of women and children playing these games. It was far more the exception than the rule when references were made in words or pictures to women and children hitting balls with a club. Certainly for ages these games were considered (by men) as being unsuitable for women. Playing in the streets, churchyards, fields and in and around the towns was not an acceptable environment. In the Middle Ages, cursing, swearing, drinking and fighting were more common.
If you want to know more about women in colf history click hear.
Happy reading.

It is said that originally the game of colf (like the game of golf) was a winter game. That people played colf in extreme ‘arctic’ conditions is rather exceptional.
Some four hundred years ago a Netherlandish complement played colf within the polar circle. Click here to read more about colf in the freezing cold.

In the course of the years not much attention has been paid to the influence of nature on Scottish golf and continental colf, crosse and mail.
Why did players use wooden balls of approximately the same size? Could it be that golfers used balls defined by the size of boxwood branches?
Do we accept that the whippy feature of the ash wood shaft was enhanced by the moon phases and that the end of the playing season was determined by the growth of certain weeds?
Here you can read about our findings.


One of the historical buildings in the ancient town of Largs on the west coast of Scotland is the remains of a church: the Skelmorlie Aisle of Largs Old Kirk. On the wooden ceiling of the aisle there is a painting from 1636 showing among others a picture of people playing with sticks or whatever on the ice.
The authors researched the winter scene picture and tried to find out what kind of game was presented: golf on the ice, colf on the ice or curling.
Here you can read about the research and perhaps find an answer yourself.

Some estimates suggest that up to a third of the current Scottish population may have had Flemish ancestors. While this is almost certainly an exaggeration, many Flemish émigrés did settle in Scotland over a 600 year period between the 11th and 17th centuries. Many shed their continental sounding names to take on the name Fleming or its variants. Others took on different names that give little clue as to their country or region of origin.
As the Flemish left Flanders over a relatively long time period they were absorbed into Scottish society gradually. So while the Flemish may well be one of Scotland’s largest immigrant groups the question of why they came, their significance in Scottish history, and their broader impact on the economy, society and culture of their adopted homeland has never been examined in detail. At the University of St. Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research a major project, called ‘Scotland and the Flemish People’, started in 2013.
This month we were contacted by Alex Fleming, cosponsor of and researcher in the project. At this point in the project the researchers would like to post guest pieces on the Flemish influence on sport in Scotland. One of these areas that has come up from time to time is the possible Flemish influence on the game of golf, reason why Alex Fleming invited us to write a posting for the blog of the project. Here you can read our contribution.

On the 1st and 2nd October the European Association of Golf Historians and Collectors organized its 10th annual conference in St Raphaël in the south of France at the Golf and Tennis Club de Valescure which celebrates its 120th anniversary.
At the conference several presentations were given on the history of golf and on collecting golf memorabilia. Members at the conference suggested making these presentations available, if possible, for all members of the association and for other interested readers.
Our presentation about the origin of golf under the name ‘All roads lead to Scotland’ you can find here..

In the first centuries in which golf was played, people played only or mainly in the winter season. In the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a climate change. Winters became extremely cold; this period is called the ‘Little Ice Age’. During these winters playing games on land was hardly possible. The Scots invented an ice game called curling in which people threw stones over the ice to a target. Several paintings exist of people playing this game.
But what about golfers? Where did they play their game? For more question marks see ‘The Little Ice Age in Scotland’.

In this second part of ‘Nautical Archaeology’ we would like to discuss the excavation of the ‘Lastdrager’ and the ‘Kennemerland’ which shipwrecked both on the rocks near the Shetland isles in 1653 and 1662.

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