‘Cnapan’ and a Ball Soaked in Fat

Posted on 8 February, 2011 13:41 pm

Last week on the Welsh Quest Twitter page you were asked:

‘Cnapan’ or ‘knapan’ is said to be an ancient form of C which of the following?

a. rugby b. shinty c. tennis

Welsh Quest board game comes with a Quest Quiz Book designed to give you additional information about the quiz questions you’re answering.

Any questions with a black dot next to them can be located in the Quest Quiz Book, and in this case you’d learn that the answer is a. rugby.

However, you’d also pick up this gem:

Cnapan was a game played between large groups of people from different parishes in the Middle Ages with a small, hard, wooden ball (the ‘cnapan’) that had been soaked in fat to make it more slippery.

The goal in this somewhat violent game was to ensure that the ball reached the church in the team’s parish by whatever means possible!

Some of the loose rules of the game are similar to rugby football, so cnapan has a good claim to be the ancient basis of today’s modern rugby football game.

Maybe cnapan and rugby aren’t that different after all; violent men struggling to handle a oddly shaped, slippery ball.

Not too sure about the “soaked in fat” aspect, however. Unless it applies to this guy;

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