Cotswold Olympicks

Have you ever wondered where the expression ‘a stickler for the rules’ comes from?  Its origin is the historic Cotswold Olympicks which may have inspired the modern day Olympic Games.

Most years, on a Friday evening in late spring the Cotswold Olympicks take place on Drover’s Hill near Chipping Campden.  The games were founded over 400 years ago by local Lawyer Robert Dover.  The first games are believed to have taken place in 1612.

Cotswold Olympicks

by Phil Halling

The games include activities more in common with ‘It’s a Knockout’ (Jeux sans frontières), the 1970s TV programme, than the modern day Olympic Games.

Participation and amateur sport are the true spirit of these games.  Among the events there is ‘the King of the Hill’, this includes activities such as the Static Jump, the Hammer Throw and Putting the Shot. There are other activities such as Running Races, Tug O’ War and Shin Kicking.

In the Shin Kicking competition, the ‘Stickler’ is the referee who holds a stick and ensures participants play fair, hence being ‘a Stickler for the Rules’.

Shin Kicking at the Cotswold Olympicks

Shin Kicking at the Cotswold Olympicks by Phil Halling

This year’s games take place on 3rd June.

By  Phil Halling MITG
Cotswold and Gloucestershire Blue Badge Tour Guide