MacLennan, Hugh D. (University of Stirling)
The Sports Historian, Vol. 19:2 (1999)
This paper will argue that the “British” history of the stick and ball game of shinty, as it is now known in Scotland, has been under-researched and that consequently perceptions of the sport as a game played only by Highlanders in the Highlands of Scotland needs considerable revision. It will be argued that far from being confined to a linguistic and cultural hinterland, the game spread widely in England for a considerable time during the nineteenth century, and that its conduct and development in England played a crucial role in laying the foundations of the modern, organised sport of shinty. The paper will also identify common roots between shinty and other stick and ball games commonly found in England, establishing the credentials of several modern soccer clubs as shinty, shinny or bandy playing. And several examples of play will be cited to show that the nature of shinty in England varied considerably over time involving in some instances only a social elite and at others the working classes in settings which might not ordinarily be anticipated. The paper limits its scope to pre-1893, which was the date of the foundation of shinty’s ruling body, the Camanachd Association.