Break the Pope’s Neck

I was working on an 1895 Boston newspaper (Boston Evening  Transcript) where there was an ongoing column used for public questions and answers; “The Message Board of the 1890’s”.

Pope Neck 1890s web page 000

There is a very good history of the column in:
Access The Boston Transcript

One of the questions (queries) concerned the game “Break the Pope’s Neck”.

Pope Neck 1890s web page 001

I went on line to see if there was any other mention of the game and I found the following entry in: Digital History


Pope Neck 1890s web page 003


Irish American Solidarity

“…This high degree of ethnic solidarity reflected both the  discrimination that Irish Catholics faced as well as their belief that their job security and economic well-being depended on  ethnic unity in the face of hostility from the nation’s Protestant majority. From the early nineteenth century onward,  Irish Catholics faced recurrent waves of anti-Catholic sentiment.  The evangelical revivals of the early nineteenth century produced a “No Popery” movement. A popular children’s game was “Break the  Pope’s Neck”. …”

Do you know how the game was played?

Let us know if you do.

Thank You.

Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

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