STOOL-BALL, a game formerly very popular in England, and commonly considered as the ancestor of cricket. Joseph Strutt, writing in 1801, says of it: " I have been informed that a pastime called stool-ball is practised to this day in the northern parts of England, which consists simply in setting a stool upon the ground, and one of the players takes his place before it, while his antagonist, standing at a distance, tosses a ball with the intention of striking the stool, and this it is the business of the former to prevent by beating it away with the hand, reckoning one to the game for every stroke of the ball; if, on the contrary, it should be missed by the hand and touch the stool, the players change places; the conqueror at this game is he who strikes the ball most times before it touches the stool. I believe the same also happens if the person who threw the ball can catch and retain it when driven back, before it touches the ground." Some variety of the game, with modifications due to the development of cricket, has probably been played even since these days.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)