Number of Haxey Hood pubs could be halved as former winner faces demolition
The number of pubs taking part in the historic Haxey Hood could be reduced to just two next year after plans were announced to demolish one of the game's former winners.
The Duke William in Haxey - the pub closest to the site of where the ancient game is played - is earmarked for closure and demolition after plans were unveiled to build new homes on the Church Street site.
And the fate of the pub - which last won the famed game in 2012 - could mean the number of venues taking part in the traditional post-Christmas rugby-style scrum could see the event reduced to just two following the shutdown of the 2017 winner, the King's Arms, also in Haxey, shortly after that year's contest.
This year's event - which took place on January 6 - saw drinkers from the Duke, The Loco and eventual winners The Carpenters' Arms at Westwoodside compete for the prized Hood, which has been held in the North Lincolnshire village since 1359.
If the plans go-ahead, it could mean the 2019 Hood is contested between just the Carpenters and the Loco.
North Lincolnshire Council has received an application to demolish the pub and develop nine dwellings on the site.
The Duke William has won the Hood three times since 2000, claiming victory in 2001, 2003 and 2012.
Thousands of people regularly turn out for the annual mudbath which sees drinkers attempt to slowly sway the Hood - a cylindrical tube of leather - towards their favoured watering hole.
The game dates from the 14th century, when Lady de Mowbray, wife of an Isle landowner, John De Mowbray, was out riding towards Westwoodside on the hill that separates it from Haxey.
As she went over the hill her silk riding hood was blown away by the wind.
Thirteen farm workers in the field rushed to help and chased the hood all over the field. It was finally caught by one of the farm workers, but being too shy to hand it back to the lady, he gave it to one of the others to hand back to her.
She thanked the farm worker who had returned the hood and said that he had acted like a Lord, whereas the worker who had actually caught the hood was a Fool.
So amused was she by this act of chivalry and the resulting chase, that she donated 13 acres of land on condition that the chase for the hood would be re-enacted each year.