This brook is the boundary between the two Shrovetide teams. People born or connected with the Ashbourne side of the Henmore Brook are Up'ards; those born or connected with the Compton side are Down'ards.
This boundary goes back to long before William the Conqueror and 1066. The name is Scandinavian in origin and must date to when this part of England was ruled by the Danes, c. 876-918. The brook was a boundary between two Danish Wapentakes (administrative districts of the Danelaw, called hundreds in southern England). Also the name Compton (Campdene) may go back to this period. The name might mean ‘the valley where a fight occurred’.
This civil boundary was used for over 1000 years and on into the nineteenth century. Today it defines the boundary between the two teams who play each other on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday at Royal Shrovetide Football. Those who are born or connected with the Ashbourne side are Updards; those born or connected with the Compton side are Downards.
In the 1270's Ashbourne traders complied with The Assize of Bread and Ale, but had their prices undercut by Compton traders.
Probably the best known of the 15 remaining Festival Football games played in Britain, the game at Ashbourne is takes place throughout the streets each year on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The boundary between the two teams, Upards and Downards, is the Scolebrook/Henmore Brook.