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"Unconfirmed" Report of a Stoolball Reference by Iscanus

Salience Noteworthy
Game Stoolball

There is "an unconfirmed report which was published in the beginning of the Century quoting one Joseph Iscanus, of Exeter, as having referred to stoolball in 1189, but no satisfactory evidence that this quotation was genuine." National Stoolball Association, "A Brief History of Stoolball," page 2. This mimeo, available in NSA files, has no date or author, but has one internal reference to an 1989 source, so it must be fairly recent. It contains no hint on the source of the 1189 claim or how it has been assessed. Note: Is it now possible to further pursue this claim using online resources? The 1189 claim appears nowhere else in available writings about stoolball.

However, some cite a Joseph Iscanus couplet: "The youth at cricks did play/Throughout the livelong [or "merry"] day/" as an indicator of early cricket. However, the online source of this rhyme does not give a source. Very murky, no? [The rhyme is quoted as early as the 1860 edition of The Cricketer’s Manual, and ten years earlier in Bell’s Life in a letter from “Alexis” on the subject “When Was Cricket Invented?” ] Query: what do leading cricket historians say of this alleged reference?

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