Laws of the Eton Wall Game (1874)

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The Laws of the Eton Wall Game

Laws of the Eton Wall Game, as of 1874. Exact date of adoption uncertain.[1][2]


1. The game lasts an hour and is commenced by a "bully" in the middle.

2. At the expiration of half the time "goals" must be changed and a bully formed as before.

3. The two umpires, appointed one by each Club keeper are to enforce the rules, to decide on disputes that arise, to put in the ball alternately, to break the "bully" when it becomes necessary to make any player move if he is in the way of the ball when put in, also to keep an account of the number of goals and shies obtained.

4. When no umpire is present all disputes are to be left solely to the Captains of the sides.

5. Two players at least on each side must be behind the bully at the commencement.

6. The ball must be put in by the umpire gently and along the ground; if it is prevented from touching the wall, it must be taken out and the bully formed anew.

7. The ball must be put in without waiting for players to come up; but when behind the white line, time must be allowed, at the discretion of the umpires, for the "bully" to be regularly formed.

8. No player may run outside the line to stop the ball before it be kicked, the ball may be kicked outside the furrow, provided the player do not touch the ground outside with his foot in so doing.

9. If the ball bounds back off a bystander, or any other object, it may be immediately kicked on coming in.

10. If the ball, when kicked out, bounds from any object, without returning inside, it must be put in parallel to the place where it struck that object, provided only it be a living one.

11. The ball, when kicked out without meeting any object, is to be put in parallel to where it stops.

12. In common "bullies," if the ball be raised above the knee of a person, it must be grounded or taken out.

13. The ball, if caught, must be grounded immediately; it may not be carried or fived.

14. On any violation of any such rule the ball must be taken out, and put in again at the place where the violation was committed.

15. No player may touch the ground with either knee; if he refuses to get up, the "bully" may be reformed by the captain of the side; if a player calls for air the "bully" must be stopped.

16. No player may jump on another player, trip him up, or use any part of his arm below the elbow.

17. A player is considered to be sneaking when only the behinds and one of the "bully" are behind him.

18. No player is allowed to pull the ball back behind both his legs, if a person be before it in the "bully" he must instantly go round.

19. If a ball be kicked over the wall, the "bully" must be formed where it went over.

20. No player may kick a ball behind and touch it, unless it be in "calx," and the player in front of the line.

21. The walls and seconds of each side are to take it in turns to go under and over, and on ordinary occasions the ball is to be put in by the thirds.

22. If a ball be kicked against the door, or against the tree (within the white lines), whether from beyond or within the line, a "goal" is gained.

23. A player having kicked the ball within the chalk line may get the ball up for a "shy," without waiting for a "bully" to be formed; if kicked out inside the chalk line a "bully" is to be formed parallel to where the ball stops, and if it is beyond the stone or over the wall a "bully" must be formed under the stone.

24. If a player catches the ball (without a bound on the ground) when kicked by himself or one of his own side, against the garden wall, he may claim and take a "shy."

25. Any player may claim a "shy" when he puts his hand on the ball, if it is against the wall within the chalk line, and supported by himself, or by one of his own side, or any part of the leg below the knee; a "shy" may not be claimed if the ball touches the chalk line: if claimed outside the chalk line the "bully" must not be broken.

26. When a "shy" is claimed, the "bully" must be stopped and formed anew, if the "shy" be disallowed by the umpires.

27. The "shy" must be made from any spot within the chalk line, provided that the thrower has both his feet inside the furrow.

28. If a player catches the ball from a "shy" he must send it to "goals" without moving his place.

29. The ball is dead when it has touched the ground, or a party of the opposite party, after having been shied.

30. Only the person getting or stopping "shies" may stop the "bully." Whether a "shy" be called too late or the ball touch the wall is to be decided by the umpire.

31. The "bully" must be formed where the last "shy" was claimed.

32. Hands must not be used, either to hold back a player or touch the ball, unless the player has a right to a "shy."

33. No player may run round in "calx" before the ball, or outside the furrow.

34. If no objection be raised to a "shy" by the opposite party, and the umpire does not see it, it may be allowed.

35. The person who goes behind in getting "shies" may not touch the ground, and a person on the ground may not aid in getting a "shy."

36. A "shy" may not be called before it is touched.

37. If in running to touch the ball when behind, a dispute arise as to who touched it, and the umpires do not see, a "bully" is to be formed a yard from the line (in calx).

38. A "goal" outweighs any number of "shies," in deciding a game, if each party has an equal number of "goals," that party wins which has the majority of "shies," in addition to the "goals." If no "goal" is got by either party the game is decided by "shies."

39. If a player be not present at the commencement of a match, or be hurt, or be otherwise prevented from going on, no substitute may take his place, but the match must go on without him.


  1. The rules are said to have been revised in 1871, so it is possible that these laws were adopted in that year: see e.g. Wells, Leslie E. (November 1955). "The Wall Game at Eton". Meccano Magazine xl (11): 580–581. 
  2. See also Laws of the Eton Field Game

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.