Description of the Rules of Football as played at Charterhouse School (1863)

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Description of the rules of football as played at Charterhouse School  (1863) 

Taken from a November 1863 newspaper article.

The printed rules do not state how the game is to be commenced; we believe it is by a kick-off.

The ball is not allowed to be carried or thrown by the hands. It may be caught, either before touching the ground or after, provided it has bounded from the ground above the height of the knees. What privilege attends a catch made in either of these ways is not stated. Stopping the ball with the hands is declared legitimate; but it may not be struck either when in the air or upon the ground.

Holding, pushing with the hands, purposely kicking, or tripping any player, or in any way pushing him behind his back, is not allowed.

The ball when kicked out of the side bounds is returned at right angles, and is, we suppose, nothing being said to the contrary, immediately in play again.

When kicked beyond the goal-line the defending side are entitled to a fair kick in any way they please within six yards of their goal without obstruction from any opposing player.

The question of "off side," which is considered to present so many difficulties, is thus dealt with by rule eight: "Any player is off his side, or behind, when only three or less than three of the opposite side are between himself and the opposite goal. Any player off his side is not to stop or kick the ball until it has been kicked or otherwise moved by one of the opposite side. This does not include the case of a player who is fairly following up the ball." Provision has to be made in every game for this kind of case. Rugby has its provisions for off side and on side, and Eton does not allow a player to obtain a rouge unbullied, or to "sneak" the ball behind his foot with less than three of the opposite party before him.

The fourth rule is the one in the Charterhouse code which states how the game shall be won. It says, "In order to win a game the ball must go between the two flags and underneath the cord of the goal of the opposite side, provided it be not hit or otherwise impelled through by the hands of any one of the side who are not defending the goal. If hit, or in any way impelled through by any of the side who are defending the goal, the game is counted."


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

The author died in 1924, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.