An ancient manly game
Popular across Wales, especially in Glamorgan, up until the late nineteenth century, the boisterous game of Bando was the cause of much local rivalry and violence.
Until the late nineteenth century Bando was a popular team game across Wales, especially in the county of Glamorgan. John Elias (1774-1841), the famous Calvinistic Methodist preacher from Pwllheli, Caernarvonshire, and politician David Lloyd George (1863-1945), raised in Llanystumdwy, Caernarvonshire, were both keen players in their youth, while a traveller from Cowbridge to Pyle in 1797 commented on the extreme barrenness of ash and elm on account of their being used to make bando sticks.
Bando resembled an early form of hockey, as it involved striking a ball with a curved club (called a 'bando') across a fixed area of play before attempting to drive it into the opponents' goal. The term 'bando' derives from the French 'bande', meaning 'bent stick', and the clubs used were made of hard local woods while the ball, similar in size to today’s hockey ball, was often carved from holly or box.