Posts Tagged ‘Marylebone Cricket Club’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst 3rd Baronet
6 June 1807 – 29 October 1881


Frederick Hervey-Bathurst

Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst 3rd Baronet was a famous English cricketer. Hervey-Bathurst was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-RM roundarm fast.

Hervey-Bathurst made his first-class debut in 1831 for the Bs against an early England side.
He made his debut for the Marylebone Cricket Club against the Cambridge Town Club. Hervey-Bathurst would represent the MCC in 28 first-class matches up until 1855. In his 28 matches for the club, he scored 306 runs at a batting average of 7.46 and with a high score of 34. With the ball he took 63 wickets at a bowling average of 12.00, with best figures of in an innings of 6/?.

In 1842, he made his debut for pre-county club Hampshire against the Marylebone Cricket Club. Hervey-Bathurst represented Hampshire in 12 first-class matches between 1842 and 1861. In his 12 matches, he scored 203 runs at an average of 9.22 and a high score of 46. With the ball he took 72 wickets at an average of 14.23, with a best return of 7 wickets in an innings, although his exact best figures are unknown.

Hervey-Bathurst was one of three local gentlemen, Thomas Chamberlayne and Sir John Barker-Mill, who financed the development of the Antelope Ground and installed the former Hampshire and Surrey cricketer Daniel Day in the Antelope Hotel.

As well as representing the above major sides, he also represented the Gentlemen in 20 Gentlemen v Players fixtures, where he took 73 wickets at an average of 11.25, with best figures of 7/?. He also represented the Gentlemen of England in 12 first-class matches, where he took 88 wickets at an average of 19.40, with a best return of 6 wickets in an innings. Hervey-Bathurst also represented A to K, England, the Gentlemen of Marylebone Cricket Club, the Gentlemen of the South, the South of England and the West of England.

In his overall first-class career he played 92 matches, scoring 817 runs at an average of 9.92, with a high score of 46. With the ball he took 349 wickets at an average of 13.02, with 32 five wicket hauls, 8 ten wicket hauls in a match and a best return of 7 wickets in an innings, although his exact figures are unknown.

Hervey-Bathurst died at Clarendon Park, Wiltshire on 19 October 1881.

Hervey-Bathurst was the start of a cricketing family. He was the father of Frederick Hervey-Bathurst, 4th Baronet who represented both the MCC and the pre-county club Hampshire team as well as Hampshire County Cricket Club. His other son, Lionel Hervey-Bathurst represented Hampshire in two first-class matches in 1875. His great-grandson Hervey Tudway played one first-class match for Somerset in 1910 and would go on to fight in the First World War where he was to be killed in action in 1914.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Broadhalfpenny Down
1753 –


Broadhalfpenny Down

Broadhalfpenny Down is a historic cricket ground in Hambledon, Hampshire. It is known as the “Cradle of Cricket” because it was the home venue in the 18th century of the Hambledon Club, but cricket predated the club and ground by at least two centuries.

The cricket ground was the home venue for first-class matches organised by the Hambledon Club from 1753 to 1781 which generally involved a Hampshire county team. It was used for other sports including horse racing and hare coursing. Immediately next to the ground is the Bat & Ball Inn, known as the “cradle of cricket”, whose landlord for ten years from 1762 to 1772 was Hambledon captain Richard Nyren. Nyren was succeeded by his Hambledon colleague William Barber, who ran the pub from 1772 to 1784.

The name “Broadhalfpenny” is properly pronounced “broad ha’penny” a contraction following the usual pronunciation of the word for the halfpenny coin. Places that had obtained a charter from the King to hold markets or establish fairs were issued with Letters Patent that were stamped with “Broad-Halfpenny”. Hambledon in the eighteenth century was a large parish of over 9,000 acres containing small hamlets and detached farms in addition to the main village. Much of the agricultural land had been enclosed in small farms but there remained extensive commons, including Broadhalfpenny, on which grazing rights existed.

As an important match venue, the earliest known use of Broadhalfpenny Down was in August 1753 for a match between a Hambledon team and one from Surrey. Three years later, the Hambledon team was able to challenge Dartford, then one of the strongest teams in England, in a series of three matches. On Wednesday, 18 August, one of these matches was played at Broadhalfpenny Down. The source for this is an advertisement placed in the Reading Mercury newspaper by the Reverend Richard Keats of Chalton for information about his dog, a spaniel called Rover, whom he lost at the match. Reverend Keats was the father of Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats who is renowned for his actions at the Battle of Algeciras Bay in July 1801. Chalton is three and a half miles east of Broadhalfpenny Down, beyond Clanfield.

Match reports were scarce in the 1750s but were becoming more common in the 1760s and it is known that Hampshire defeated Kent at Broadhalfpenny in 1768, their outstanding batsman John Small scoring more than 140 runs in the match. Scores were higher then than in earlier times and matches were tending to go into a second day. In 1770, a Sussex lawyer called John Baker left an account in his diary of a match between Hambledon and the Surrey club Coulsdon which lasted two days. Baker came from Chichester, a journey of twenty miles taking four hours on horseback. He wrote how he went to Petersfield for overnight accommodation. Baker wrote about the very large crowds which gathered at these matches and the good business done by vendors on site.

The 1772 season is notable in English cricket history because it is from then that surviving scorecards are common and three exist of 1772 matches organised by the Hambledon Club which commence a continuous statistical record. Those three matches were all between a Hampshire XI and an England XI, the first played at Broadhalfpenny on 24 and 25 June.

On 13 July 1775, Small scored 136 not out and Nyren 98 for Hampshire against Surrey at Broadhalfpenny and Small’s innings is the earliest known century in first-class cricket. Despite being ordained, a Steward of the Hambledon Club and a member of the Laws of Cricket committee, the Reverend Charles Powlett was not above gambling on the outcome of matches or of betting against his own team. At one point in the match against Surrey, the situation was such that a Surrey victory seemed certain. Powlett and his associate Philip Dehaney, another Hambledon member, decided to bet heavily on Surrey to win. Then Small was joined at the wicket by his captain Nyren and the two put on a massive century partnership which turned the game around, for Surrey collapsed and Hampshire won a famous victory. When Nyren was out, he was confronted by Powlett and Dehaney who complained that he and Small had cost them their money. Nyren, disgusted with them, retorted: “Another time, don’t bet your money against such men as we are”.

Broadhalfpenny Down continued in regular use by Hambledon/Hampshire teams until 1781. At the end of that season, the Hambledon Club moved to Windmill Down, which is closer to the village. According to John Nyren, Windmill was “one of the finest places for playing on I ever saw”. A key difference was that Windmill was under the club’s control as they rented it from a farmer at ten guineas a year, whereas Broadhalfpenny was common land in use as sheep pasture, for fairs and other gatherings. It could be said that Broadhalfpenny belonged to the community and Windmill to the club, whose members may not have been happy about the “raucous, boisterous crowds that gathered (on the Down)”. The move was done at the behest of the Duke of Dorset, chief among club members, and David Underdown saw it as the first step in a process which removed professional cricket from a truly rural setting and ultimately concentrated it in an urban environment, for it was Dorset’s successors George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea and Colonel Charles Lennox who were the key players in the establishment of the White Conduit Club in Islington and subsequently Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s.

The ground fell into disuse through most of the nineteenth century and was converted to agriculture.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Hambledon Club
1765 – 1796


Hambledon Club

The Hambledon Club was a social club that is famous for its organisation of 18th century cricket matches. By the late 1770s it was the foremost cricket club in England.

The origin of the club, based near Hambledon in rural Hampshire, is unclear but it had certainly been founded by 1768.

Its basis was a local parish cricket team that was in existence before 1750 and achieved prominence in 1756 when it played a series of three matches versus Dartford, which had itself been a major club for at least 30 years. At this time, the parish team was sometimes referred to as “Squire Land’s Club”, after Squire Thomas Land who was apparently the main organiser of cricket teams in the village before the foundation of the club proper.

From the mid-1760s, Hambledon’s stature grew till by the late 1770s it was the foremost cricket club in England. In spite of its relative remoteness, it had developed into a private club of noblemen and country gentry, for whom one of cricket’s attractions was the opportunity it offered for betting. Although some of these occasionally played in matches, professional players were mainly employed. The club produced several famous players including John Small, Thomas Brett, Richard Nyren, David Harris, Tom Taylor, Billy Beldham and Tom Walker. It was also the inspiration for the first significant cricket book: The Cricketers of My Time by John Nyren, the son of Richard Nyren.

The Hambledon Club was essentially social and, as it was multi-functional, not really a cricket club as such. Rather it is seen as an organiser of matches. Arguments have taken place among historians about whether its teams should be termed Hampshire or Hambledon. A study of the sources indicates that the nomenclature changed frequently and both terms were applicable.

The subject is complicated by a reference to the Kent versus Hampshire & Sussex match at Guildford Bason on 26 & 28 August 1772. According to the source, “Hampshire & Sussex” was synonymous with “Hambledon Club”. It is interesting that Sussex cricket was not very prominent during the Hambledon period and this could have been because Hambledon operated a team effectively representing two counties. Certainly there were Sussex connections at Hambledon such as John Bayton, Richard Nyren, William Barber and Noah Mann.

In 1782 the club moved from its original ground at Broadhalfpenny Down to Windmill Down, about half a mile away towards the village of Hambledon. The Bat and Ball Inn had been requisitioned as a munitions dump by the military, and Windmill Down provided as an alternative. However, after a couple of seasons playing on the steep sloping and highly exposed new ground the club agitated for a move to a more suitable location and Ridge Meadow was purchased as a permanent replacement. Ridge Meadow is still the home of Hambledon C.C. today.

Hambledon’s great days ended in the 1780s with a shift in focus from the rural counties of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire to metropolitan London where Lord’s was established as the home of the new Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787.

Membership declined during the 1790s. On 29 August 1796, fifteen people attended a meeting and amongst them, according to the official minutes, was “Mr Thos Pain, Authour of the rights of Man”! It was certainly a joke for Thomas Paine was then under sentence of death for treason and exiled in revolutionary Paris. The last meeting was held on 21 September 1796 where the minutes read only that “No Gentlemen were present”.

The club had a famous round of six toasts:
6. The Queen’s mother
5. Her (His) Majesty the Queen (King)
4. The Hambledon Club
3. Cricket
2. The Immortal Memory of Madge
1. The President.

The enigmatic “Madge” is a “what”, not a “who”. Indeed, it is believed to be a common, but crude, contemporary reference to the a lady’s private parts.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Marylebone Cricket Club


Marylebone Cricket Club

Marylebone Cricket Club-Popular tradition dates the founding of the MCC to 1787 when Thomas Lord opened the ground he bought on the site now occupied by Dorset Square which the club adopted as its home venue. In fact, the 1787-MCC was the reconstitution of a much older club that had its origins in the early 18th century, or possibly earlier. The former club has been referred to by names such as “The Noblemen’s and Gentlemen’s Club” or “The Cricket Club” and it was based for a long time at the Star and Garter on Pall Mall (#44-closed 1905). It was essentially a social and gambling club but had a number of sporting connections including the original London Cricket Club, the Jockey Club, Hambledon Club, the White Conduit Club and various prizefighting promotions.

When the members formed the White Conduit Club for cricket in the early 1780s they played at White Conduit Fields in Islington but they soon became dissatisfied with the surroundings and complained that the site was “too public”. The members asked Thomas Lord, a professional bowler at the White Conduit, to secure a more private venue within easy distance of London; they guaranteed him against any financial losses. When Lord opened his new ground, the gentlemen’s club moved there and initially renamed themselves as “the Mary-le-bone Club”.

MCC revised the Laws of Cricket in 1788 and continues to reissue them (from time to time), and remains the copyright holder.

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