Ringing the Bull


This is an indoor game the aim of which is to swing a metal ring which is dangled from the ceiling on a rope, onto a metal hook on the wall. Originally, the hook was a bull's horn. Quite often the hook is embedded in the nose of the head of a bull on the wall. Other variants exist featuring other animals such as stags and pigs. The game is one of the oldest in the country; legend has it that it was brought back by Crusaders from Jerusalem. The story appears to have come about primarily from the most famous pub featuring the game - the venerable "The Trip to Jerusalem" situated in the cliffs underneath Nottingham castle. This pub is an old crusaders tavern dating from 1189 and so the legend certainly is not without merit.

The game is so simple that many pubs stage it simply as an informal pastime rather than as a competitive game. A person will make a a number of attempts to ring the bull and then pass the ring to somebody else for a turn. The basic throw is simple a swing in a clockwise direction (for a right handed player) straight onto the ring but advanced players can also ring the bull across themselves in an anti-clockwise direction. Old hands are able to throw with either hand in either direction and will then really impress their spectators by facing away from the hook and swinging in the opposite direction such that upon its return the bull is ringed. For extra difficulty, they might do this while standing next to the target instead of at the usual throwing mark. The ultimate throw is one which circles the room completely twice and then lands squarely on the target. Difficult yes, but not impossible!


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Ringing the Bull

The Badachro Inn, North East Scotland

The Trip To Jerusalem, near Nottingham Castle, Nottingham.
The Crown, Warrington.
The Pineapple Inn, Shaw, Greater Manchester
The Fountain, Linton, the Yorkshire Dales
Old White Bear, Crosshills, North Yorkshire (submitted Andy Keeling June 2000)
Sheffield Arms,High Street Burton upon Stather, Near Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire 01724 720269. (submitted Dave Coombe November 2000)
The Merry Monk, Rochdale
The Shoulder of Mutton, Methley Road, Castleford, (submitted Dave Storey, Jan 2001)

The Daneway Inn, near the Sapperton Tunnel, Gloucestershire
The Rock Inn, Chiddingstone Hoath, Penshurst, Kent
The Red Lion, Stambourne, near Halstead (from Essex Countryside magazine, Jan 1991)
The Tower Arms, South Weald, near Brentwood (from Essex Countryside magazine, Jan 1991)
The Crown & Trumpet Inn, Broadway, Worcestershire (submitted Andy Keeling July 2000)

Pig Snout

The Sow and Pigs, Toddington, Bedfordshire.

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