Methodist’s Intervention

A case of direct intervention was recorded by the west-Briton in 1844 at St Just in Penwith, where wrestling and hurling were popular. For two or three weeks in May a Tournament had been in progress to decide who among the standards should contest the finals. On the day when these were to be held for the customary prize of a gold laced hat, which gave certain protection from unwelcome attentions in these days of the press gangs, the wrestler’s had no sooner gathered then two wesleyan ministers, with several of their friends came on the scene.

The ministers immediately addressed the ring-leaders of the games, kindly offering to pay them the value of the prize to be divided among the standards, and so to stop the practice of wrestling in future. But their proposal being declined they commenced singing and prayer and were soon left by the wrestlers in possession in the ring. A Clear victory for the Methodists or so it appears but it is highly likely that the wrestlers just went to any nearby level field or meadow and continued the hitches.

The crowd at this Tournament was reputed to be nearly as large as that of that at Penzance a dozen or so years before when the sport was at it’s zenith.

On the first day at Penzance wrestling there were five thousand spectators on the second day, twice that number.