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Stoolball's story

Stoolball has a long and fascinating history. Nobody knows for sure how and when it started. The earliest record in 1450 is to a game being played regularly, and it may already have been around for a long time.

Facebook timeline for Stoolball England

Our Facebook page is a great way to discover stoolball’s story. Scroll down to see an illustrated history going right back to the earliest references to the game.

'Baseball before we knew it' by David Block

David Block’s fascinating book on the story of baseball is well researched, and has a detailed chapter on the history of stoolball. He names our sport as the most important origin of modern baseball.

Stoolball chronology at Project Protoball

The most complete chronology of stoolball history, assembled by Larry McCray at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It’s part of a collaborative project tracing the history of ball games starting from an interest in baseball. You can even join the project and help their research.

'The Glynde Butterflies 1866-1887' by Andrew Lusted

The Glynde Butterflies and their opponents Firle Blues, Chailey Grasshoppers, Selmeston Harvest Bugs, Waldron Bees, Eastbourne Seagulls and Westmeston played in an age where class distinction ruled society. Yet the young women who played for the Butterflies came from all walks of life. The daughters of the vicar and the owner of Glynde Place played alongside those of the gamekeeper, farm labourer and clerk to the local chalk pits.

'Stoolball in Sussex' by M S Russell-Goggs

Sussex County Magazine published a detailed history of stoolball in its July 1928 edition, which sold for 6d. The article is reproduced here in full.

Major W W Grantham

Major W W Grantham breathed new life into stoolball after World War One, even taking the sport to Lord's Cricket Ground. He also took stoolball around the world from Iceland and Finland to Russia and Sri Lanka.

'A Load of Old Balls' by Simon Inglis

Published by English Heritage in 2005, this book by Simon Inglis looks at various sports, including stoolball, starting with some of the old balls used to play them.