HAZEL nuts are so-called, though the name actually refers to a game played with the nuts, much like conkers, though there was more than one version. Halliwell considered the one like conkers was the most recent, but he says the older consisted of pitching at a row of nuts piled up in heaps of four, three at the bottom and one at the top of each heap. All the nuts knocked down became the property of the pitcher, and the nut used for pitching was the one called the Cob. Hunter's description of the other game as it was played in his time (1829) runs "Numerous hazel-nuts are strung like the beads of a rosary. The game is played by two persons, each of whom has one of these strings, and consists in each party striking alternately with one of the nuts on his own string, a nut of his adversary's. The field of combat is usually the crown of a hat. The object of each party is to crush the nuts of his opponent. A nut which has broken many of those of the adversary is a cob-nut. Hence the Cornish Victor-nut and the Devonshire Crack-nut.
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