1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Trap-ball
TRAP-BALL, or Knur and Spell (M. Eng. knurre, knot; Dan. spil, spindle), an old English game, which can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th century, and was commonly played in northern England as late as 1825, but has since been practically confined to children (bat, trap and ball). It was played with a wooden trap, by means of which a ball (knur) of hard wood about the size of a walnut was thrown into the air, where it was struck by the player with the “trip-stick,” a bat consisting of two parts: the stick, which was of ash or lancewood and about 4 ft. long, and the pommel, a piece of very hard wood about 6 in. long, 4 in. wide and 1 in. thick. This was swung in both hands, although shorter bats for one hand were sometimes used. Originally the ball was thrown into the air by striking a lever upon which it rested in the trap; but in the later development of the game, usually called knur and spell, a spell or trap furnished with a spring was used, thus ensuring regularity in the height to which the knur was tossed. The object of the game was to strike the knur the greatest possible distance, either in one or a series of strokes.