The schoolboys were at war at Bodmin School in 1548. Bored by their usual activities, they had decided — like generations of children before and after them — to turn the adult world into a game. They separated into two teams: one side would be the “old religion”, the other the “new”. This was Edward VI’s divided England, and the Reformation was not only on the minds of adults, but those of children too.
The schoolboys fought just as fiercely as the adults they emulated, perhaps more so. The fun ended when one boy — rather ingeniously — crafted a makeshift gun out of an old candlestick, some abandoned gunpowder and a pebble, and killed a calf. The schoolmaster intervened and had them all whipped.