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The Rattray Silver Ball

The Rattray Silver Ball

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The Rattray Silver Ball

The Game no one knows!

Is it possible that Rattray was the founder of Handball as we know it today?

THE  RATTRAY  SILVER  BALL dates from the early 1600s when it was a trophy to be won in a Handba’ Competition. Made by Thomas Rattray the original is one of the earliest examples of Perth silver in existence just as is the Silver Arrow. There are no details of how the game was played, but small teams of players were involved in throwing a leather ball. The opposing players were obliged to hurl a ball along the ridge of the church roof so that it would cross over and fall to the ground.  The object of the throwers was to land it further than their opponents, whilst the defenders were to prevent the ball from landing. Handba’ competitions were held in a field behind Rattray Parish Church. The competition was not held at any regular schedule but as and when requested.  It attracted players from adjacent parishes and districts, but also from further afield.The Silver Ball was the prize, but, in the event of the winning team coming from outwith the area, it was to be left in Rattray for safekeeping.The last game was thought to have been held in 1805.  The present church was a replacement for an earlier building which was falling down, some said as a result of stottin' a ball along the roof for many years.

The Silver Ball was gifted to the Parish of Rattray at the same time as the other two trophies (the Silver Arrow and the Silver Curling Stone).

The original Silver Ball and a 1751 replacement donated by Alyth victors, because the original had become too battered, along with assorted winners’ shields ranging in date from 1639 to 1766, are in Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

For more information visit:

‘The Silver Ball of Rattray: a unique Scottish sporting trophy’ by Robin H. Rodger published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

This is one of the three Rattray Trophies which can be found here.

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