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From Lads to Lord's

The History of Cricket: 1601–1700 | The History of Cricket: 1731–1740 | Index

The History of Cricket: 1701–1730

The eighteenth century
1701 | 1702 | 1705 | 1706 | 1707 | 1709 | 1710 | 1712 | 1713 | 1714 | 1715 | 1716 | 1717
1718 | 1719 | 1720 | 1721 | 1722 | 1723 | 1724 | 1725 | 1726 | 1727 | 1728 | 1729 | 1730
William Bedle | Alan Brodrick | Edmund Chapman | Sir William Gage | 1st Duke of Richmond | 2nd Duke of Richmond | Edwin Stead | Thomas Waymark
The Artillery Ground | Croydon and Duppas Hill | Dartford and the Brent | Kennington Common | Lamb's Conduit Field | London Cricket Club | Moulsey Hurst
How cricket came to India

Cricket news and match reports gradually became more common as the newspaper and publishing industries matured through the 18th century. From this point onwards, cricket history can be divorced from general history and so each year has a geopolitical/historical background section called "the history" followed by optional sections that review the year's cricket. I have separated significant, single wicket and other matches as appropriate.

The eighteenth century

Cricket is a feature of modern life and it is fair to say that our modern times began around 1700 following the great advances in science, technology and philosophy that heralded the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Leibniz, one of the great thinkers of the age, influenced the foundation of the Berlin Academy in 1700. Along with Descartes, Spinoza, Pascal, Galileo and Newton, he was a father figure of 18th century rationalism which flowered under such as Voltaire, Goethe, Rousseau and Franklin and was in many ways underwritten by the genius of such as Bach, Burns and Mozart.

Newton published his Optics in 1704 and Newcomen designed his atmospheric steam engine in 1705. A new, modern world of industrial and scientific revolution was beginning and cricket has held its own in that world, always moving with the times from wealthy patrons to county clubs to Test cricket and ultimately to its newest dawn: Twenty20. Along the way, it has survived its own revolutions and crises such as lbw, roundarm, overarm, bodyline, limited overs, boycotts (!) and TV replays to the point where it is still an important and popular component of culture in the 21st century.

Before delving into the match history of the 18th century, it is worth taking a look at the world in which those matches were played. The 18th century was the era of wigs, waistcoats, cravats, breeches and buckles. The large wigs of the 17th century were driven out of fashion by popular cocked hats such as the familiar tricorn. As this hat could not be worn with a huge wig, the smaller "bob" wig with queue (i.e., tail) came into general use. Wearing of wigs by all levels of society lasted until Napoleonic and Regency times when natural hair became fashionable at last. One impact of the French Revolution was that breeches had been replaced by trousers when the 18th century ended, thanks to the influence of the sans-culottes.

Travel was mainly on foot or on horseback. Carriages were virtually unknown except as a status symbol and other wheeled vehicles such as wagons and carts were little used except for local traffic. Packhorses or mules were the usual means of carrying goods. Heavy goods went by barge along the rivers or by sailing ship along the coast. Long distance travellers would often rely on coastal voyages too. There had been a gradual introduction of "stage wagons" designed to carry passengers in stages with horses being changed at staging posts that were usually inns, the innkeeper doubling as a postmaster. It was not until the railways appeared in the 19th century that top-class cricket could break the bounds of its south-eastern heartland and become a truly nationwide game, although there are plenty of references which prove its steady spread across the country during the pre-railway period.

England was still an agricultural economy in those days and the majority of people lived in rural or semi-rural locations. Places like Dartford and Chertsey, whose cricket teams made names for themselves in the 18th century, were rural villages at the time. The only metropolis was London, especially north of the river. With a population of half a million, London was England's major port and its main commercial and cultural centre. London was where you could make your fortune, or more likely your ruin. When cricket came to London, it flourished. It still does.

Autocracy remained the political reality of the times, although in England the mould had been broken: first by Cromwell and then by the Bill of Rights which established constitutional monarchy. But France was ruled by the tyrannical Louis XIV until 1714 and the revolution was still 89 years away. War was the normal state of international relations throughout the 18th century. As the century began, the Baltic was in flames as militant Sweden fought against Russia, Poland and Denmark. The ambition of Louis XIV would shortly begin the carnage known to history as the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 - 1714). Perhaps most ominously of all, bearing in mind the history of war in the 20th century, Prussia had just secured autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire and was about to re-invent itself as the most militaristic state the world has seen since ancient Sparta, so much so that it would be described not as a state with an army but as an army with a state.

But at least England was a largely peaceful place in which to live and play cricket in the 18th century. Apart from the Jacobite rebellions in 1715 and 1745, it was all quiet on the home front and the majority of Great Britain's military and naval actions were performed on foreign fields or faraway seas. Indeed, it was a voyage into those faraway seas, a peaceful one this time, that resulted in Captain Cook's exploration of Australia. It is somehow fitting that a Yorkshireman influenced the foundation and settlement of Australia. The first convicts arrived there in 1788, only one year after MCC played its inaugural match at Lord's.

Whether you think of the 18th century in terms of intrepid Yorkshiremen, transported convicts or the foundation of a gentlemen's club in north London, it was certainly the time when modern cricket began.

The relative tranquillity of England compared with other lands in the 18th century is perhaps best summed up by reference to the century's most famous date: 14 July 1789. In Paris, Camille Desmoulins led the mob towards the Bastille. They stormed and destroyed it to begin the most ferocious revolution in history, the revolution that prefaced Bonaparte and his Napoleonic Wars: earth-shattering events that would change mankind forever. But 14 July 1789 is a date that occurs in the records of English cricket too. On that date, not a million miles from Paris, Hampshire was playing Kent on Windmill Down just outside legendary Hambledon. Kent won by 56 runs. The score in Paris was somewhat different.


the history

Death of James VII and II (1633–1701) in exile. His supporters, the Jacobites, turned to his son James Edward Stuart (1688–1766), later called "The Old Pretender", whom they recognised as James VIII and III.

In England, the Act of Settlement was passed to exclude the Catholic Stuarts. In so doing, it prepared the way for the Hanoverian Succession. William III, who was childless, would be succeeded by Mary II's sister Anne who, by now also childless, would be succeeded by the Electress Sophia of Hanover, or by her son George (who did in fact succeed Anne as George I in 1714). Sophia was the granddaughter of James VI and I. Her parents were the Elector of the Palatinate (Frederick V of Bohemia, the "Winter King") and James' daughter Elizabeth of Bohemia. As it happened, the Stuart line expired in the generation after the Old Pretender when both his sons Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and Henry died childless.

Whereas the Act of Settlement could be viewed as a likely cause of wars to come, Great Britain began the new century by joining one that was up and running: the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). The cause was Louis XIV's acceptance in 1700 of the Spanish crown on behalf of his grandson Philip of Anjou, who became Philip V, first Bourbon king of Spain. In retaliation, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I formed a Grand Alliance with Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Savoy and Prussia. The other side consisted of France, Spain and Bavaria. The main theatres of war were the Spanish Netherlands (i.e., Belgium), Spain and Italy.

the cricket

No reports this year but two future patrons were born. Edwin Stead was christened at Maidstone on Tuesday, 11 March; and Charles Lennox, later the 2nd Duke of Richmond, was born at Goodwood House on Sunday, 18 May.

The cricket ball was likened to a lawyer's client in the dialogue of a comedy play called The Humour of the Age, written by Thomas Baker and performed in 1701 at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London.


the history

William III (1650–1702), King of England since 1689, was killed by a fall from his horse. Under the terms of the 1701 Act of Settlement, he was succeeded by Queen Anne (1665–1714). The daughter of James II and Anne Hyde, she was the younger sister of Mary II. She was the last Stuart monarch but was allowed to succeed because she was a Protestant. She was the mother of 17 children by her husband Prince George of Denmark (1653–1708) but none of them survived childhood and she died without an heir.

Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond

Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond

Charles Lennox, the 1st Duke of Richmond, was born on 29 July 1672 and died, aged 50, on 27 May 1723. He was an illegitimate son of King Charles II and his mistress Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth. Lennox was created Duke of Richmond on 9 August 1675 and was invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1681.

He is the earliest known of cricket's great patrons and his family, particularly his eldest son the 2nd Duke, did much to support and develop the sport through the 18th century.

The East India Company bought control of the New (or English) Company that had been set up as a rival trading organisation in 1698. An Act of Parliament then amalgamated the two as "The United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies". The charter was renewed several times in the 18th century, each time with financial concessions to the Crown.

the cricket

Duke of Richmond's XI v Arundel

Sussex, exact venue unknown

date unknown, 1702

result unknown (TJM)

The source for this game is a receipt sent by one Saul Bradley to the Duke on Monday, 14 December 1702. The receipt was in respect of 1s 6d paid by the Duke "for brandy when your Grace plaid at Cricket with Arundel men".


the history

The "atmospheric" steam engine was designed by the English inventor Thomas Newcomen.

the cricket

West of Kent v Chatham

Malling, Kent

Tuesday, 7 August 1705

result unknown (Bowen)

This was an 11-a-side game advertised in The Post Man dated Tuesday, 24 July 1705. Bowen mentions it in the chronology section of his history. The advert "is to give notice that a match at Cricket will be plaid between eleven gentlemen of the West part of Kent and those of Chatham for 11 guineas a man, the game to take place at Maulden (sic in Kent, on August 7th next". It has been generally agreed by Haygarth and others that "Maulden" is Malling.

Earlier in the year, issues of The Post Man dated Tuesday, 3 April to Thursday, 5 April gave "notice to any person whatsoever, that they do not presume to play at foot-ball, or cricket, or any other sport or pastime whatsoever, on Walworth Common, without lease of the Lords of that Manor, or their Bayliff, Henry Morris, as they will answer the same when they are sued at Law for so doing". This is recorded in WDC and in CTL. Walworth Common was recorded as a venue in the early 1730s.


the history

The spread of cricket relied heavily on ease of transport and communications. In 1706, Parliament established the first turnpike trusts which placed a length of road under the control of trustees drawn from local landowners and traders. The turnpike trusts borrowed capital for road maintenance against the security of tolls. This arrangement became the common method of road maintenance for the next 150 years.

Croydon and Duppas Hill

The original Croydon Cricket Club was one of the oldest in England and was prominent until the 1740s. It had a very strong team in the 1731 season when it defeated London four times. Croydon was interchangeable with Surrey as a county at that time. The club declined in the 1740s and was barely mentioned again after that except in a few minor matches. It looks as if the club disbanded in the latter half of the 18th century and has never been resurrected; the nearest modern equivalent seems to be Addiscombe Cricket Club in the Surrey Championship.

Duppas Hill is a park at Waddon, near Croydon, and has a long history of sport and recreation. It is thought to be named after a family called "Dubber" or "Double". It is said that jousting took place there in medieval times and a story goes that Lord William de Warenne was treacherously slain there during a joust in 1286. It was a major cricket venue in the 18th century and is believed to have been the venue for Croydon's 1707 match against London. It was certainly in use in 1731 when it is mentioned in H T Waghorn's Cricket Scores 1730-1773 and re two subsequent matches between Croydon and London. The last mention of Duppas Hill as a major venue is in 1767 when the nearby Caterham club, managed by Henry Rowett, played against Hambledon.

Duppas Hill was the site of the Croydon workhouse from 1726 until 1866. A public park was established there in 1865 and this became notable for public celebrations and firework displays. On the eve of the 1926 General Strike, it was the venue of a mass rally of trade unionists and workers. During the Second World War, it hosted a baseball match between American and Canadian soldiers. It remains a recreation area today and cricket is still played there.

the cricket

William Goldwyn (aka Goldwin) published a Latin poem in celebration of a cricket match. Goldwyn (born c.1682; died 1747 at Bristol) was a schoolteacher and vicar. His poem had 95 lines on a rural cricket match and was called In Certamen Pilae ("On a Ball Game"). It was published in his Musae Juveniles in March 1706.

Little is known of Goldwyn himself except that he attended Eton College and then graduated to King's College, Cambridge in 1700. He subsequently became a Master of Bristol Grammar School and was Vicar of St Nicholas' Church in Bristol until his death in 1747.


the history

The United Kingdom was established by the Act of Union.

The death of Aurangzeb precipitated the disintegration of the Mughal Empire in India.

the cricket

H.T. Waghorn's The Dawn of Cricket (DC) begins in earnest with reports of two matches that were advertised in The Post Man from Saturday, 21 to Tuesday, 24 June 1707.

significant matches

London v Mitcham

Lamb's Conduit Field, Holborn

Thursday, 26 June 1707

result unknown (CA)

Croydon v London

Croydon (almost certainly at Duppas Hill)

Tuesday, 1 July 1707

result unknown (DC)

London v Croydon

Lamb's Conduit Field, Holborn

Thursday, 3 July 1707

result unknown (DC)

The first of these three matches is a recent discovery which has been reported to CricketArchive (CA). The latter two were recorded by Waghorn (DC) from a primary source which advertised them as "two great matches at cricket (to be) plaid (sic), between London and Croydon; the first at Croydon on Tuesday, July 1st, and the other to be plaid in Lamb's-Conduit-Fields, near Holborn, on the Tuesday (sic) following, being the 3rd of July".  No match reports could be found so the results and scores are unknown. The dates are uncertain as the report states: "the first game to be played on Tuesday, 1 July 1707 (which is a correct date in the Julian Calendar, then in use) and the other to be played on the Tuesday following, being the 3rd of July". It has been assumed here that the second game was played on 3 July, but that was a Thursday, not a Tuesday; if it was played the following Tuesday then the date was 8 July.

The London v Mitcham game is the earliest known fixture in London (i.e., a definite fixture with both teams named) and the first known match played in the county of Middlesex. It is also the earliest mention of what might have been the famous London Cricket Club. There is record of a "London Club" from 1722 but it is not known when the organisation was founded or if it formed the London teams in the 1707 matches.

lamb's conduit field

Lamb's Conduit Field was near Holborn in Middlesex. It had no connection with White Conduit Fields in Islington, Middlesex, which later became the home venue of the famous White Conduit Club, the forerunner of MCC. It is not until 1731 that Lamb's Conduit Field recurs in the cricket records, when it was used for a minor match which London played against an Enfield team. Subsequently, it was used twice in 1736 for London v Surrey and Middlesex v Surrey, both of these being significant matches. Many now unknown matches must have been played there in the first half of the 18th century and it could have been a major, rather than an occasional, venue. Its existence as a cricket venue probably ended in or before 1739 when Thomas Coram established the original Foundling Hospital on the site. There is today an open space in the vicinity, the hospital having been relocated, and it is called Coram's Fields. By that time, London Cricket Club had adopted the Artillery Ground as its favoured venue. The conduits were pipes carrying spring water into London which at that time was separate from Holborn and Islington.

William Bedle

William Bedle (22 February 1679 (Julian)–3 June 1768) played for Dartford Cricket Club and Kent county teams in the first quarter of the 18th century. He is the sport's earliest known accomplished player. He was born in Bromley but lived most of his life near Dartford, where he was a wealthy farmer and grazier.

Bedle's obituary in Lloyd's Evening Post dated 10 June 1768 states that he was "formerly accounted the most expert cricket player in England" (GB18, p.48). Rowland Bowen comments in his history (Bowen, p.48) that Bedle is the first known cricketer "who achieved great prominence in the game" and was thus "the first in a long line (of the best players in England) that must include Fuller Pilch, W G Grace, Jack Hobbs and Walter Hammond". As Bowen points out, this means that three things can be deduced: Bedle was a great player; the means of judging a player's prowess were then available; and Bedle's reputation lasted at least a generation after his playing career ended.

Given Bedle's date of birth, I tentatively give his career dates as 1697 to 1730. Dartford was "the greatest Kent team of the first half of the eighteenth century" (Underdown, p.43) and was often representative of Kent as a county. The Dartford club's website records that Bedle was "the first great player in cricketing annals" and "the earliest Dartford cricketer whose name has come down to posterity".

Few details of cricket matches in the 17th and early 18th centuries have survived and so what is known about Bedle's career has been pieced together by historical analysis, for the few contemporary newspaper reports rarely mentioned a player by name. The reason for this lack of surviving data is that freedom of the press was not allowed in England until 1696, when Bedle was 16, and the infant newspaper industry gradually introduced coverage of sporting events, though for many years their emphasis was on betting rather than on the matches themselves. During Bedle's career, cricket reports were not only brief but few and far between.

But, even without written record of his exploits, Bedle's reputation was known and shared by a public that was growing increasingly interested in cricket. As Bowen says, it is significant that he was remembered as the best player in England some forty years after his career ended.

It seems that Bedle was a gentleman farmer and therefore I assume he was a gentleman aka amateur cricketer. Perhaps he was the first of cricket's great amateur batsmen in a line that stretches through Beauclerk and Fry to May and Dexter. The bat he wielded was shaped like a modern hockey stick, this being the ideal shape for addressing a ball that was "trundled" along the ground, as in lawn bowls, and given that he was "the most expert player", he was certainly effective in the timing and variety of his strokes. He must have been proficient in the drive, which is the natural stroke to play using such a bat, and perhaps it was not only the timing but the placement of his shots that drew the admiration of his contemporaries. Bowlers in the 18th century used the underarm style exclusively but at varying pace and it is unknown if Bedle was a fast or a slow bowler; or if he bowled at all. The ball was either rolled along the ground or, by a fast bowler, skimmed across the surface; pitching was not introduced until about 1760.

Dartford was one of the two most successful clubs in England, its only rival being the London Cricket Club. Dartford's prowess is borne out by a 1723 journal entry recorded by the prominent Tory politician Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford:

''At Dartford upon the Heath (i.e., Dartford Brent) as we came out of the town, the men of Tonbridge and the Dartford men were warmly engaged at the sport of cricket, which of all the people of England the Kentish folk are the most renowned for, and of all the Kentish men, the men of Dartford lay claim to the greatest excellence.''

Records have survived of five matches involving Dartford or Kent teams against London or Surrey county teams between 1709 and 1724, the period in which Bedle was an active player. The earliest known inter-county match took place in the 1709 season between Kent and Surrey on Dartford Brent. The result is unknown. London hosted Kent at White Conduit Fields in August 1719 and July 1720, Kent winning the first and London the second. There were London v Dartford fixtures in July 1722 and June 1724. The former, played in Islington was the subject of a letter in The Weekly Journal dated 21 July 1722; the latter was the earliest known match at Kennington Common, near where The Oval is now sited. The results of these two matches are unknown.

According to the Dartford club site, Bedle lived near Dartford for most of his life and he was a wealthy farmer and grazier. His name, also spelled Beddel, is recorded on a tablet in Dartford Parish Church listing the bellringers of 1749. He died at his home near Dartford on 3 June 1768, aged 88.


the history

The Battle of Malplaquet was a Pyrrhic victory for Marlborough over the French. More than 20,000 Allied troops were killed.

It was at this time that the large wigs of the 17th century were driven out of fashion by the popular cocked hats such as the familiar tricorn. As this hat could not be worn with a huge wig, the smaller "bob" wig with "queue" (i.e., tail) came into general use. Wearing of wigs by all levels of society lasted until Napoleonic and Regency times when natural hair became fashionable at last.

the cricket

We are only just getting into match references in England and yet already we have one from abroad with mention of the game being played by William Byrd III of Westover on the James River estates in Virginia, then an English colony.

significant matches

Kent v Surrey

Dartford Brent, Dartford, Kent

Wednesday, 29 June 1709

result unknown (PVC)

The earliest known match involving county teams or at any rate teams bearing the names of counties. The match was advertised in The Post Man dated Saturday, 25 June 1709. The stake was £50, a huge amount at the time, and the event was described as "a famous match of Cricket at Dartford Brimpth (sic)".

Was it a county match or was it a match between two village teams which came from different counties? Obviously we do not know but, given the difficulties of travel, it is unlikely that either team represented its whole county. The nucleus of the Kent team was surely Dartford, given the venue, and it is equally likely that their opponents were mostly drawn from a single Surrey parish. It was perhaps not until the 1730s that county teams began to be truly representative of their counties but, given the use of county names, I think that more than one parish was represented by each team.

One player who probably took part in the match was William Bedle (1679–1768), of Dartford, who is the earliest great player to have been recorded. He was reckoned to be "the most expert player in England" and must have been in his prime c.1700 to c.1720.

PVC = Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket by G.B. Buckley.


the history

The Tories won a parliamentary election to replace the Whigs as the party of government.

In North America, British land and naval forces completed the conquest of Acadia (now the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island).

the cricket

The earliest reference has been found to cricket being played at Cambridge University (see Maun, pp.14–15). The source is a letter from a Dr Bentley to the Bishop of Ely and includes a comment about the University Statutes to the effect that "the young lads" are allowed to be absent from Grace without incurring the penalty prescribed by the Statutes, the reasons for absence including the desire "to make a match at Foot-Ball or Cricket". I suppose it is also the first mention of Grace in the same sentence as cricket!


the history

The Industrial Revolution can trace one of its many perceived origins to the construction of the first working steam engine, built by Thomas Newcomen (1664–1729). Newcomen's atmospheric steam engine, so called because it relied on atmospheric pressure to work against a vacuum created in the operating chamber, was designed to pump water out of mines. Designed in 1705 (see above), the first operational one was installed at Conygree coalworks near Dudley in 1712.

the cricket

No reports this year.


the history

The Caribbean island of St Kitts was awarded to Great Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, which helped to end the War of Spanish Succession.

the cricket

No reports this year.


the history

Sunday 1 August. The death of Queen Anne (1665–1714) ended the Stuart dynasty in Great Britain and brought about the Hanoverian Succession. Queen Anne was succeeded by the Elector of Hanover (1660–1727) who became King George I. His right to the throne was by being the eldest Protestant descendant of James VI and I, who was his maternal great-grandfather. The 18th century is often spoken of as "Georgian England" and this was its beginning, although George I spoke very little English and was a deeply unpopular king, as were at least two of his descendants.

Although we were supposed to be a constitutional monarchy by 1714, George I was not without influence for he practically insisted on having a Whig administration because of suspicions that the Tories were in league with the exiled Stuarts. The leading Whigs at the time were the Earl of Shrewsbury (1660–1718), James Stanhope (1673–1721), Charles Townshend (1674–1738) and Robert Walpole (1676–1745). The Tory leaders, who had fallen out with each other (nothing changes!), were Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford (1661–1724) and Viscount Bolingbroke (1678–1751).

1714 was notable for two scientific advances.

Daniel Fahrenheit (1686–1736), a German physicist working in Holland, constructed the first thermometer employing mercury instead of alcohol. Using this thermometer he devised the temperature scale now known by his name. On this scale, the freezing point of water is 32 degrees, the boiling point 212 degrees, and the temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees.

The British government offered the Longitude Prize of up to £20,000 (a fortune at the time) to anyone who could assist trans-oceanic mariners by the invention of a device that would calculate longitude within a minimal margin of error. A Yorkshire clockmaker called John Harrison (1693–1776) started work on the problem in 1730 and eventually earned the prize by building a chronometer or precision clock which kept the time of the home port on a voyage. By determination of local time calculated from the height of the sun on a given date, the navigator would be able to calculate longitude.

the cricket

It was in 1714 that the Riot Act was enacted and, as we shall see, cricket did not escape its attentions.


the history

Death of the autocratic Louis XIV (1638–1715), King of France since 1643. He was succeeded by his five year old great grandson as Louis XV (1710–1774) of Madame de Pompadour fame. The Duke of Orléans acted as Regent until 1723.

The first Jacobite rising in Scotland ("The Fifteen") was led by the Earl of Mar on behalf of the exiled James Edward Stuart, known as "The Old Pretender". Mar raised his standard at Braemar and was supported by many Highland chiefs including the legendary Rob Roy MacGregor. He soon took Perth. His promising start was wasted by indecision and, following a defeat at Sheriffmuir, the rebellion eventually fizzled out amidst disillusionment among the clans.

Robert Walpole became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Riot Act (1 Geo. 1, c. 5) came into effect after being enacted the previous year. Its full title was:

An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters.

It allowed certain officials: i.e., "a justice or justices of the peace, or by the sheriff of the county, or his under-sheriff, or by the mayor, bailiff or bailiffs, or other head-officer, or justice of the peace of any city or town corporate" to declare any assembly of more than twelve persons to be unlawful and order the assembly to disperse within one hour "on pain of death". This was a period of insurgency in England, much of it due to the unpopularity of the new German king.

To invoke the Act, the following words had to be read by the appointed official:

"Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George the First for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King".

The Riot Act had to be read verbatim and at least one conviction was overturned in a case where the words "God Save the King" had been omitted.

the cricket

Tongue in cheek, did the Riot Act's "more than twelve persons" rule have a bearing on the structure of cricket teams which, as we have seen, consisted of eleven players and one umpire? It may be the other way around because it is known from the report of the great match in 1697 that cricket was already played 11 a side (plus the umpire) so perhaps this number is coincidental. Or, did perhaps the Parliamentary sub-committee agree that the limit allowed shall be the number of a team and its umpire? Sometimes coincidence is just too much of a coincidence!!


the history

The Whig ministry of Stanhope, Townshend and Walpole passed the Septennial Act. Parliamentary elections were required every seven years rather than every three and direct political participation declined. Parliament was made up of 122 county members and 436 borough members. Virtually all counties and boroughs sent two members to Parliament, but each borough, whether a large city or a tiny village, had its own tradition of choosing its members of Parliament. The "electorate" was limited to male aristocrats and landowners only.

the cricket

No reports this year.


the history

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685–1759) was by now working in London and in 1717 he published his famous Water Music. Handel was the contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). Bach spent all his life in Germany and these two great composers never actually met.

The origins of freemasonry with its daft rituals and dodgy handshakes can be traced back to 1717 with the establishment of the first Grand Lodge at a tavern called the Goose and Gridiron (yes, really) in Covent Garden!

the cricket

Thomas Marchant, a farmer from Hurstpierpoint in Sussex, first mentioned cricket in his diary. He made numerous references to the game, particularly concerning his local club, until 1727. His son Will played for "our parish", as he lovingly called the Hurstpierpoint team.


the history

Spanish forces captured Sicily which then formed part of the Duchy of Savoy. A Quadruple Alliance (until 1719) was formed by Austria, Britain, France and the Netherlands against Spain.

the cricket

London v Rochester Punch Club

White Conduit Fields, Islington, Middlesex

Monday, 1 September 1718 and ? July 1719

London won by 21 runs (GB18)

This game was unfinished on Monday, 1 September 1718 because three Rochester players "made an elopement" in an attempt to have the game declared incomplete so that they would retain their stake money. London was clearly winning at the time. The London players sued for their winnings and the game while incomplete was the subject of a famous lawsuit where the terms of the wager were at issue. The court ordered it to be "played out" and this happened in July 1719. Rochester with 4 wickets standing needed 30 (more?) but were out for 9 (more?). The lawsuit may inadvertently have increased the sport's popularity: as the saying goes, all publicity is good publicity!

GB18 = Fresh Light on 18th century Cricket by G B Buckley.


the history

This year saw the publication by Daniel Defoe of The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, based on the experiences of real life castaway Alexander Selkirk, who came from Largo in Fife.

The Principality of Liechtenstein was created within the Holy Roman Empire. It has survived intact to the present time. Its capital is the charming town of Vaduz.

Prussia, the growing power in Europe, conducted the first systematic census.

the cricket

The report of the London v Kent match emphasises the stakes on offer and begins a trend in the media for focusing on the gambling side of cricket rather than the actual play.

significant matches

London v Kent

White Conduit Fields, Islington, Middlesex

Wednesday, 19 August 1719

Kent won (DC)

The report says the teams played for "a considerable sum of money".

How cricket came to India

The story of cricket in India can be said to have begun, as we have already seen, on Wednesday 31 December 1600, the very last day of the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I granted a Royal Charter to the Honourable East India Company, often colloquially referred to as "John Company", and the means by which cricket was introduced into India. The Company had established its first factories, or trading posts, in its first permanent base at Surat by 1612. It is certainly possible that cricket was first played on the sub-continent around that time.

In 1639, the Company effectively founded the city of Madras and in 1661 acquired Portuguese territory on the west coast of India that included Bombay. In 1690, an Anglo-Moghul treaty allowed English merchants to establish a trading settlement on the Hooghly River, which became Calcutta. All of these places became major cricket centres as the popularity of the game grew among the native population.

There are few reports of Indian cricket through the 18th century but the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club is known to have been in existence by 1792 and it was probably founded more than a decade earlier. In 1799, another club was formed at Seringapatam in south India after the successful British siege and the defeat of Tippoo Sultan.

In 1864, a Madras versus Calcutta match was arguably the start of first-class cricket in India. The most important fixture in the 19th century was the Bombay Presidency Match which evolved, first, into the Bombay Triangular and then into the Bombay Quadrangular. The match was first played in 1877 and then intermittently for several seasons until finally being given first-class status in 1892-93 when Europeans met Parsees in two matches at Bombay (match drawn) and Poona (Parsees won by 3 wickets).

The first foreign team to tour India was the English team led by George Vernon in 1889-90 but none of its matches are considered first-class. In 1892-93, Lord Hawke captained an English team that played four first-class matches including a game against "All India" on 26-28 January 1893.

Among the best sources for information about early Indian cricket are:

  • Vasant Raiji, India's Hambledon Men, Tyeby Press, 1986
  • Mihir Bose, A History of Indian Cricket, Andre-Deutsch, 1990
  • Ramachandra Guha, A Corner of a Foreign Field - An Indian History of a British Sport, Picador, 2001


the history

The South Sea Bubble was a major economic crisis caused by a frenzy of investment in the South Sea Company during the preceding years. When the company was found to be insolvent, its crash in 1720 caused massive repercussions throughout the economy and many formerly prosperous investors were ruined.

the cricket

It was from about this time that the term "bat" came into more common use. It had until then been peculiar to the south-east as a term while elsewhere the bat had been called a "staff", "stave" or "stick". See 1622 for more details of early bats.

significant matches

London v Kent

White Conduit Fields, Islington, Middlesex

Saturday, 9 July 1720

London won (DC)

Two London fielders were badly injured by a clash of heads and the contemporary newspaper commented "and 'tis not yet known whether they will recover". This prompted an interesting view by Waghorn on page 6 of Dawn of Cricket where he says that the incident may have "caused the cricket players to be fearful of the game, as being dangerous". He points out that no such view is given in the original source and goes on to speculate that advertising and reporting of cricket matches ceased "as the papers were small, and space limited". He then jumps to 1726 for his next extract and begins it by saying: "For the next match reported was in August 1726". So Waghorn was concerned that, in terms of his research, advertising and reporting of cricket ceased for many years and he wondered if that was due to a perception that the sport is dangerous.

This presents an interesting discussion point because the source information we have now does not support any view of the game being dangerous and neither does it seem that the game was in any way out of favour or that its growth was impeded. It must be remembered that Waghorn did not have access to the broad sweep of contemporary newspapers and other sources that have been available to later researchers so the simple answer to his problem of not finding more data till 1726 could be that there happened to be none in the sources at his disposal.

Having said that, it should be remembered that the South Sea Bubble occurred the previous year and had a marked impact on the economy, especially upon investors and speculators. It is possible that cricket saw a reduction in investment though this would probably be in terms of lower stakes and less gambling than any reduction in matches played as it would seem that the game continued to develop slowly but surely. It was only a few years later that we see the entrance of the first major patrons: Richmond, Stead, Gage and Brodrick. Another consideration is the impact of Stamp Act legislation (i.e., any legislation that requires a tax to be paid on the transfer of certain documents) which was introduced in England in 1694, having formerly been imposed in the Netherlands. The imposition of stamp tax on newspapers increased publication costs and so newspapers were reduced in size as Waghorn implies. Sport in this period was not generally considered newsworthy so its coverage would have been limited.


the history

One impact of the South Sea Bubble was the unofficial creation of the post of Prime Minister; it was not officially called that until 1905. The office at first combined the roles of Leader of the Commons, First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the person of Sir Robert Walpole who held office until 1742. Walpole is not known for any particular cricketing connection but his regime did no harm to the game's development. His son, the writer Horace Walpole, supposedly hated the game!

As noted above, the 1721 Stamp Act was introduced to protect the East India Company's monopoly on the importation of tea by restricting trade in the colonies to tea sold by the Company at auctions in Great Britain. One of the Act's impacts was to increase costs of publication.

the cricket

English sailors of the East India Company were reported to be playing cricket at Cambay, near Baroda, and this is the earliest known reference to cricket being played in the Indian sub-continent.


the history

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote The Well Tempered Clavier (two books of preludes and fugues in all 24 keys).

John Churchill (1650–1722), the famous 1st Duke of Marlborough, died aged 72. He was a direct ancestor of Winston Churchill.

the cricket

The first mention of the original London Cricket Club occurs in 1722.

significant matches

London v Dartford

Islington, Middlesex (White Conduit Fields?)

Wednesday, 18 July 1722

result unknown (The Cricketer magazine)

There was a letter about this game in The Weekly Journal dated Saturday, 21 July 1722 which says: "A Match at Cricket was made between the little Parish of Dartford in Kent, and the Gentlemen known by the name of the London Club". Teams styled "London" were already in existence, but this is the first actual reference to a "London Club" and it is the first clear reference to any kind of cricket club in an organised and permanent sense. Although Dartford is here described as a parish, it is quite conceivable that Dartford Cricket Club was already in existence.

According to some of my e-mail contacts, other claimants for title of "oldest club" are St Albans, Mitcham and Leigh (i.e., in Kent). These claim to have been founded in 1666, 1685 and c.1700 respectively but there is no evidence to support them. Personally, I think it is a tie between Dartford and London, both originating in the early 18th century or perhaps earlier. London is of course a precursor of MCC but it did not have a continuous existence and therefore I vote for Dartford.

London Cricket Club

Given that the earliest definite mention of cricket being played anywhere is at Guildford in the 16th century, there can be little doubt that the game had reached London by that time. Even so, there is no written reference to the game in London until 1680 as recorded by G B Buckley from a newspaper piece about umpires. In 1707, as we have seen, a London team played two matches against Croydon but this may have been just an occasional XI as the foundation date of London Cricket Club is unknown. But it was in existence by 1722 when it was referred to as such re the game against Dartford. London was one of the foremost clubs in English cricket over the next four decades and was closely associated with the Artillery Ground, where it played most of its home matches.

London Cricket Club was founded and organised by members of what is usually termed the ''Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Club'', which had its headquarters at the Star and Garter on Pall Mall. This gentlemen's club was multi-functional, though essentially of a social and sporting nature, but its main purpose was to encourage and facilitate gambling. For example, its members also founded the Jockey Club and were usually involved with organising big prizefighting events. Cricket throughout the 18th century was funded by gambling interests and attracted huge stakes.

Very little is known of London's players during its heyday from the 1720s to the 1760s. The following are the names that have been recorded by the season in which they are first mentioned in the sources:

  • 1726–Perry (took part in the earliest known single wicket match)
  • 1731–"the famous" Tim Coleman
  • 1732–Christopher Jones (Artillery Ground keeper)
  • 1735–Dunn, Ellis (London's "best bowler"), Marshall, Pool, Wakeland, Wheatley
  • 1736–George Oldner
  • 1744–"Little" Bennett, "Tall" Bennett, George Smith (Artillery Ground keeper), Butler, Hodder, Howlett, Norris
  • 1745–William Anderson, Norton
  • 1747–Thomas Jure
  • 1748–George Carter, John Capon
  • 1759–Gascoigne

In the 1720s, the London club seemed to share its time between Kennington Common and White Conduit Fields but it increasingly began to use the Artillery Ground from 1730. The 1730s were the glory days of London and it completely dominated the cricket scene, especially given its royal and aristocratic patronage. One of the earliest good players mentioned is "the famous Tim Coleman" who was referred to as such in 1731 when it was rare to see any player named in the newspapers. London's main opponents in the 1730s were Croydon and Dartford. They played matches against various other parish clubs and sometimes took on county sides, mainly Kent, Surrey and Sussex. There is sometimes confusion in the reports when London is identified with Middlesex and vice-versa but, in general, London means the club and Middlesex was a team of players born in the county who were not necessarily of the London club.

The club's best season may have been 1732 when it was reportedly unbeaten. As a report recounts after the final match: ''This is the thirteenth match the London gamesters have played this year and not lost one match''. As the 1730s progressed, London continued to be generally successful. From time to time, challengers appeared. Chertsey Cricket Club first made its mark in the 1736 season and London also had some tight contests against Chislehurst in the late 1730s.

But the biggest challenge to London's dominance emerged in the 1741 season. This was Slindon Cricket Club which starred the great all-rounder Richard Newland and was backed by the 2nd Duke of Richmond. After Slindon beat Surrey "almost in one innings" at the end of that season, it was inevitable they would come to the Artillery Ground and play London. This happened in 1742 when two matches were played against a background of furious gambling with huge wagers being laid against Newland's expected performance. London prevailed, winning the first match "with great difficulty" and then, having been assisted by the weather, thrashing Slindon by 184 runs in the second. It was London's turn to be thrashed in 1743 when they played another of the "great little clubs": Addington Cricket Club who, on their first appearance at the Artillery Ground, easily won by an innings and 4 runs. Addington did have the great player Robert Colchin as a given man. In 1744, Slindon were back and in June they beat London by 55 runs in a match whose scores have been preserved by the earliest known cricket scorecard. Slindon beat London again in September and proceeded to issue their audacious challenge to play against any parish in England. London did not take up the challenge: only Addington and Colchin's Bromley Cricket Club felt able to respond.

There was a noticeable increase in the popularity of single wicket contests in the late 1740s although the London club often arranged these at the Artillery Ground. In the eleven a side game, county matches or games involving "best elevens" were the norm and, as the 1750s began, London was really playing parish matches only unless it had several given men. As the Seven Years War began, London faded from the reports and the club must have disbanded sometime before the war ended in 1763.

Gambling has always had its unsavoury side and eventually the Artillery Ground became a place of ill-repute. The more gentlemanly members became uneasy about association with a place that was widely known for licentious and, occasionally, riotous behaviour, even though it showcased cricket of the highest class. Then the sport was severely impacted by the Seven Years War from 1756 to 1763 and the number of matches played were greatly reduced. There are signs of the game returning to its rural roots during this period and evidently the aristocrats were happy with that development. Apart from four matches in the 1769 season, there are few mentions of London as a team in the aftermath of the Seven Years War and many of the references suggest that these teams were in fact occasional "London XIs" rather than the representive of an organised club.

In my view, the London Cricket Club ceased to exist during the Seven Years War. Evidence to support this view is the decline of the Artillery Ground itself which began to be used less and less after 1763. A match on 15 September 1778 is the last important one played there. Hambledon was already by then the predominant centre of English cricket and a lot of games were being played at other outlying venues such as Laleham Burway, Bishopsbourne Paddock and Sevenoaks Vine. London for the time being had been abandoned.

With London's demise and the war situation, the "honourable gentlemen" retreated to the countryside and founded or at least augmented the Hambledon Club, which was the main centre of cricket from about 1765 for the next twenty years. In the early 1780s, the gentlemen decided to re-establish themselves in the vicinity of London and founded the White Conduit Club at Islington. But they were not happy about the environment of White Conduit Fields and commissioned Thomas Lord to find a "more private venue". He opened Lord's Old Ground in 1787 at Marylebone. The gentlemen moved their cricketing interests there and reinvented themselves as Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which is thus a direct continuation of the old London Cricket Club.


the history

25 February. Death of Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723), the English architect who designed the present St Paul’s Cathedral and many other London buildings.

the cricket

But for Robert Harley's journal entry as he ended a visit to Dartford, there would be nothing to report.

other matches

Dartford and the Brent

Dartford Cricket Club in Kent is one of the oldest in England with origins dating from the early 18th century, perhaps earlier. It is probably the oldest club with a continuous existence. Dartford players were reckoned by Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, writing in his diary in 1723, to "lay claim to the greatest excellence" among English cricketers. The club played a number of big matches against the London Cricket Club and, in 1756, was involved in a tri-series against the sport's rising power, Hambledon. Dartford produced several famous players in the 18th century including cricket's earliest known great player William Bedle. Later Dartford players included William Hodsoll, John Bell, John Frame and Ned Wenman.

The club had a famous venue on Dartford Brent which was an extensive area of common land on the outskirts of the town. Historically, it was the scene of a confrontation between King Henry VI and Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, in 1452; and in 1555 thousands of spectators assembled there to witness the execution of Christopher Ward, a Dartford linen weaver, who was burned to death at the stake for his Protestant faith. Dartford Brent has a better association as a famous cricket venue. It was in use through the 18th century having almost certainly been used during the 17th century. It was noted for the quality of its turf, which was said to be "as smooth as a bowling green" (see Dartford CC website).

Numerous match references have survived from 1709 to 1795. The earliest definitely known inter-county match took place there on 29 June 1709 when Kent played Surrey. The All-England v Hampshire match played on 27, 28 and 29 August 1795 was the last time Dartford Brent is known to have been used for a major match (Hampshire won by 4 wickets). Games in Dartford after 1795 were played at Bowman’s Lodge on nearby Dartford Heath.

According to the club's website, an unsuccessful campaign was waged against the Brent's enclosure during the 1870s and the townspeople presented a petition to the Court of Common Council. Among other things, the petition held that a portion of the Brent had been used as the town cricket ground throughout the whole period of living memory; while the whole area had been "constantly resorted to for all sorts of past times and has been looked upon as the recreation ground of Dartford". The cricket ground at that time lay near the top of Brent Lane, somewhere across the road which passes alongside Hesketh Park.

Today, Dartford Cricket Club still plays in the Kent League and its present ground at Hesketh Park is almost all that is left of the old Brent.

Dartford v Tonbridge

Dartford Brent, Dartford, Kent

date unknown, 1723

result unknown (Dartford Cricket Club)

Recorded in the journal of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford:

"At Dartford upon the Heath as we came out of the town, the men of Tonbridge and the Dartford men were warmly engaged at the sport of cricket, which of all the people of England the Kentish folk are the most renowned for, and of all the Kentish men, the men of Dartford lay claim to the greatest excellence".

It is more than likely to have been Dartford Brent where this game was taking place. Robert Harley (1661–1724) was a leading Tory politician who was against spending on the armed forces; he had been a particular favourite of Queen Anne and a strong opponent of Sir Robert Walpole.


the history

In India, internal disorders, the growth of British and French power and the consequences of a harsh policy towards native inhabitants caused the decline of the Dutch East India Company. It was unable to pay a dividend after 1724 and survived only by exacting levies from native populations.

The state of Hyderabad achieved independence from the Mughals.

the cricket

Cricket arrives on Kennington Common and the game's most profligate patron makes his bow.

significant matches

Dartford v London

Dartford Brent, Dartford, Kent

Thursday, 11 June 1724

result unknown (CL1)

This match is a recent discovery and so the one at Kennington Common a week later was actually a return game.

London v Dartford

Kennington Common, Kennington, Surrey

Thursday, 18 June 1724

result unknown (GB18)

This is the earliest known match at Kennington Common in south London.

other matches

Penshurst, Tunbridge & Wadhurst v Dartford

Islington, Middlesex (White Conduit Fields?)

Monday, 10 August 1724

result unknown (TJM)

This match was the parishes of Penshurst, Tunbridge and Wadhurst versus Dartford. It is reported in a diary entry by one John Dawson, who may have watched it. No details are known but as Dartford was already recognised as a leading club, it may have been a "great cricket match" as Mr Dawson says.

Chingford v Mr Edwin Stead's XI

venue unknown

date unknown, 1724

result unknown (DC)

This seems to be the earliest reference to cricket being played in Essex (if at Chingford) or by an Essex team. The game echoed the one in 1718 as the Chingford team refused to play to a finish when Mr Stead's team had the advantage. A court case followed and, as in 1718, it was ordered to be played out presumably so that all wagers could be fulfilled. it is known that Lord Chief Justice Pratt presided over the case and that he ordered them to play it out on Dartford Brent, though it is not known if this was the original venue. The game was completed in 1726 (see below).

Kennington Common

Kennington Common was one of the earliest London cricket venues and is known to have been used for major matches from 1724 to 1785. Cricket on Kennington Common provided an alternative spectacle to prizefighting and an even more brutal "entertainment" in the form of public executions. The common was in effect the south London equivalent of Tyburn and there are records of executions all through the time of cricket's tenure. The gallows was where St Mark's Church now stands, not far from Oval tube station.

In 1600, the common was bounded on the south west by Vauxhall Creek. It extended over marshy land to the south west of the Roman road called Stane Street, now Kennington Park Road. There is a 1660 record of a common keeper being paid for grazing and, in 1661, the notorious Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were laid out nearby (note that The Oval still has its Vauxhall End). The first recorded execution took place in 1678 and these continued until 1799: the common was the south London equivalent of Tyburn (i.e., where the Marble Arch now stands). It is likely that cricket was played there by the late 17th century but there are no definite records before the match in 1724. Cricketers on Kennington Common used the Horns tavern as a base. This was first recorded in 1725. Other sports including quoits and bowls were held on the common.

In addition to watching sports and executions, people gathered on the common to listen to public speakers. In 1739, the Methodists John Wesley and George Whitefield preached to an estimated 30,000 people.

As we have seen, the earliest recorded use of the common for cricket was the London v Dartford match in 1724. In August 1726, a combined London and Surrey XI played the Kent XI of leading patron Edwin Stead for a purse of 25 guineas. In 1729, the 7 August edition of the London Evening Post reported: ''On Tuesday was played a great cricket match on Kennington Common between the Londoners and the Dartford men for a considerable sum of money, wager and bets, and the latter beat the former very much''. There was a very close contest on the common in August 1730 when London defeated Surrey by 1 run. The report said that it was ''was thought to be one of the completest matches that ever was played.''

Given that it was a common, an interesting development occurred on 12 July 1731 when the London v Sevenoaks game became the first known to have been played in an enclosed ground. A report said ''the ground will be roped round and all persons are desired to keep without side of the same''. The Surrey v London game on 28 September 1731 was promoted as ''likely to be the best performance of this kind that has been seen for some time''. The ground was again enclosed: ''for the convenience of the gamesters, the ground is to be staked and roped out''. It seems therefore that enclosure quickly became common practice in 1731! In addition, the advertisement refers to ''the whole county of Surrey as London's opponents''. The Prince of Wales (i.e., Frederick Louis) was expected to attend and this was his first recorded involvement in cricket; he became a great fan and one of the major patrons.

Newspaper reports of the time were more concerned with odds than results so players were hardly ever mentioned by name. There was an exception on 7 August 1735 when the General Evening Post announced a single wicket match on the common the following Monday involving seven players of the London Club. The game would be three against four with Mr Wakeland, Mr Dunn and Mr Pool against Mr Marshall, Mr Ellis and two others. Ellis is known to have been ''London's best bowler'' while Dunn was a noted batsman.

In June 1736, a report of a single wicket match names Mr Wakeland, the distiller, and Mr George Oldner playing together against two famous Richmond players who are ''esteemed the best two in England'' (one of them may have been William Sawyer). Unfortunately, the esteemed pair were not named, though one of them suffered serious facial injuries in this game when the ball came off his bat and hit his nose. The report rails against ''human brutes who insisted he should play on despite his injuries''. This is a reflection of gambling's stranglehold on the sport at the time.

When Surrey played Kent on 20 September 1736, three soldiers apprehended a deserter but the crowd turned on them, rescued the deserter and ''after a severe discipline let them go about their business''! Meanwhile, Surrey won the match by 2 wickets and, unusually for the time, the team scores are known: Kent 41 & 53; Surrey 71 & 24-8.

From this time on, the London club increasingly used the Artillery Ground for its home matches and that also became the main venue for the highly popular single wicket contests of the 1740s. The common became one of several home venues used by Surrey: others were Moulsey Hurst and Laleham Burway. Very few major matches were played on the common thereafter. Executions did continue and it is possible that this association eventually drove the cricketing patrons away, especially given their subsequent withdrawal from the Artillery Ground because of its reputation for uncontrolled gambling.

There was one particularly violent execution on 30 July 1746 when nine men of the Manchester Regiment who had joined the Jacobite Rising were hanged, drawn and quartered. There are no reports of cricket on the common that year but a match did take place at the Artillery Ground on the same day.

In all, 22 significant matches were played on the common until the last in May 1785 which was, curiously, not a Surrey game but Middlesex v Essex. Numerous minor matches were also recorded there.

The common continued to stage executions until 1799 while fairs, orators and other popular events continued into the 19th century. Most famously, the Chartists gathered on the common for the biggest of their ''monster rallies'' on 10 April 1848. It was soon after this demonstration that the common was enclosed and, sponsored by the royals, Kennington Park was opened in 1854 on part of the site between Kennington Park Road and St Agnes Place. As London expanded, the common has largely disappeared under buildings.

But cricket still has a strong presence in Kennington. One of its major venues is The Oval, which was opened by the new Surrey County Cricket Club in 1845 on a part of the old common that had become a market garden.


the history

Russia's Tsar Peter the Great died aged 53.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) published his famous work The Four Seasons.

Edwin Stead

Edwin Stead (born 1701 in Maidstone, Kent; died 28 August 1735 in central London) was a famous patron of Kent cricket.

Stead's name is uncertain but the majority of sources seem happy to call him Edwin Stead. He is sometimes called Edward, but I believe that is incorrect having seen a primary source which says Edwin. His surname has been rendered Steed or Stede. He was something of a compulsive gambler and he sought to make money out of cricket by underwriting select XIs usually made up of players from several Kent parish teams. The Dartford Cricket Club, which featured William Bedle, had the best club team in the game at the time and it is almost certain that Stead used several Dartford players. It is not clear if Stead played himself but, given that his rival patrons all did, it is reasonable to assume that he was the captain of his own team as well as its patron. Stead's teams are known to have performed in "Great Matches" for several years from 1724. He personally is definitely recorded as involved in 5 significant matches to 1729. He was very successful in 1728 when the report of a game in August said of his latest victory: "the third time this summer that the Kent men have been too expert for those of Sussex".

But Stead was not always successful and his gambling habit eventually got the better of him. It is known that he died in reduced circumstances while still only 34. His death on 28 August 1735 was reported in the Grub Street Journal (see G B Buckley's Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, p.12) on Thursday 4 September 1735. The report says there were two accounts of his death, one that he died ''near Charing Cross''; the other that he died ''in Scotland Yard''.

the cricket

Here, kindly provided by Ian Maun, is an extract from the Honourable Artillery Company's Minutes of the Court of Assistants at the Armory:

"On the 7th of May, the Clerk [to the Court of Assistants of the Honourable Artillery Company] gave notice to Mr. Robinson, who rented the herbage (having obtained the lease in October 1722, from J. Smith, Jun.) to take up the posts and put a stop to the exercising of horses in the Ground, which was contrary to the lease, besides being dishonourable to this Company". As Mr. Robinson took no notice of this, the 7th of October proceedings were ordered to be taken against him for it, and also for allowing cricket. [Rai]. Viz. October 7th. A note appears in the Court Minutes concerning "the abuse done to the herbage of the ground by the cricket players".

significant matches

Sir William Gage's XI v unknown XI

venue unknown

Thursday, 15 July 1725

Gage "shamefully beaten"! (TJM)

The given result is Sir William Gage's own verdict!

Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

venue unknown

Tuesday, 20 July 1725

result unknown (TJM)

Both matches are known because of Gage's letter to Richmond (see below).

Sir William Gage

Sir William Gage, 7th Baronet (born 1695 in Firle, East Sussex; died 23 April 1744) was the MP for Seaford and he subsequently became Lord Gage with his seat at Firle. His family were Roman Catholic recusants who purchased their baronetcy from King James I. Apart from his patronage of cricket, Sir William is known for the greengage (i.e., the reine claude plum cultivar), which gets its English name from him because he is credited with introducing it to Great Britain from ca.1724-25, when he obtained a supply from France.

Sir William was a noted patron of English, particularly Sussex, cricket during its formative years. He was a close friend of the 2nd Duke of Richmond and it seems they had organised a number of cricket matches before 1725 when their involvement first becomes clear through a surviving letter that Gage wrote to Richmond in humorous terms about cricket:

My Lord Duke,

I received this moment your Grace's letter and am extremely happy your Grace intends us ye honour of making one a Tuesday, and will without fail bring a gentleman with me to play against you, One that has played very seldom for these several years.

I am in great affliction with being shamefully beaten Yesterday, the first match I played this year. However I will muster up all my courage against Tuesday's engagement. I will trouble your Grace with nothing more than that I wish you Success in everything except ye Cricket Match and that I am etc. etc.

W. Gage
Firle July ye 16th 1725

Sir William's name appears in connection with a number of matches over the next few years but perhaps most notably with regard to his game against Edwin Stead's Kent XI on 28 August 1729. It seems that Sir William's team won this game by an innings and, if so, it is the earliest innings victory on record. A contemporary report recorded by Mr Waghorn states that Sussex "got (within three) in one hand, as the former did in two hands, so the Kentish men threw it up". Sir William was greatly assisted by the outstanding play of Thomas Waymark "who turned the scale of victory".

In August 1733, Sir William's team challenged one backed by the Prince of Wales at Moulsey Hurst for "a wager of 100 guineas". Sir William was officially Lord Gage by then. The result of the match is unknown but it featured "11 of the best players in the county on each side" (i.e., it was Surrey v. Sussex). In September 1734, his Sussex team played a Kent team led by Lord John Philip Sackville in the earliest match recorded at Sevenoaks Vine. This was won by Kent. Sir William is definitely recorded in 12 significant matches, the last in August 1735. He died aged 49 in April 1744, just as one of the most momentous seasons of the 18th century was getting underway.

Sir William died without issue and was succeeded to the baronetcy of Firle Place by his cousin Thomas Gage, 1st Viscount Gage who, in 1754, was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Viscount Gage.


the history

Jonathan Swift published Gulliver's Travels.

Uruguay's capital Montevideo was founded.

the cricket

The London Evening Post was founded. It carried a good many cricket notices until it ceased publication in 1797.

single wicket

The London Evening Post dated Saturday, 27 August carried an advertisement for a single wicket match between players called Perry (of London) and Piper (of Hampton, Middlesex). The venue was Moulsey Hurst, near Molesey in Surrey.

This is the earliest match known to have been played under single wicket rules.

significant matches

London & Surrey XI v Mr Edwin Stead's XI

Kennington Common, Kennington, Surrey

Monday, 29 August 1726

result unknown (DC)

This match was "for 25 guineas between the men belonging to Edwin Stead, Esq. of Maidstone and the men of London and Surrey".

edmund chapman

One Surrey player who could well have been involved in the game at Kennington was Edmund Chapman of Chertsey who died on Wednesday, 30 July 1763 aged 68. Chapman was an eminent master bricklayer and ''accounted one of the most dextrous cricket players in England''. There are no earlier references to him than his obituary notice but he must have been active c.1715 to c.1740, presumably playing for Chertsey, or perhaps Croydon, and for Surrey as a county.

other matches

Chingford v Mr Edwin Stead's XI

Dartford Brent, Dartford, Kent

? September 1726

result unknown (DC)

This is the conclusion of the 1724 match which was unfinished at that time and became the subject of a lawsuit. Lord Chief Justice Pratt ordered it to be played out. It is not known if Dartford Brent was the original venue but it seems certain the match was concluded there.

On the subject of legal matters, Mr Buckley recounts a letter written by an Essex resident. The writer complained that a local Justice of the Peace had seen fit to literally "read the Riot Act" to some people who were playing cricket on Saturday 10 September. He had a constable with him who dispersed the players. It seems the JP considered any game or sport as a pretence covering the gathering of disaffected people in order to raise a rebellion! Given the ruling by Lord Chief Justice Pratt, who in effect ordered the game to be played in Dartford, the issue raised was that it was apparently lawful to play cricket in Kent but not in Essex.

Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond

Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, and his wife Sarah

Charles Lennox (born 18 May 1701 at Goodwood, Sussex; died 8 August 1750 at Godalming), the 2nd Duke of Richmond, was perhaps cricket's greatest patron. He is forever associated with Sussex and especially with Slindon Cricket Club. He captained his own XI and his players included some of the earliest known professionals such as Thomas Waymark and Richard Newland. Richmond lived at Goodwood and is buried in Chichester Cathedral.

He married Lady Sarah Cadogan (born 18 September 1706; died 25 August 1751), daughter of William Cadogan, the 1st Earl Cadogan, on 4 December 1719 at The Hague. They had twelve children, several of whom died in infancy. Their marriage was a great success, especially by Georgian standards and, as we shall see, Sarah was intensely supportive of her husband in cricket matters. Their grandson who became the 4th Duke is known to cricket history as the Hon. Col. Charles Lennox, a noted amateur batsman of the late 18th century who was one of Thomas Lord's main guarantors when he established his new ground in Marylebone.

Richmond held many titles including Order of the Garter (KG), Order of the Bath (KCB), Privy Counsellor (PC) and Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). He served as Lord of the Bedchamber to King George II from 1727 and, in 1735, he was appointed Master of the Horse. He followed his father, the 1st Duke, into freemasonry and was an early Grand Master Mason from 1724, shortly after the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge of England. He was one of the founding Governors of London's Foundling Hospital, which received its Royal Charter from George II in 1739 and was a charity dedicated to saving London's abandoned children. Both the Duke and the Duchess took great interest in the project. The Duke attended committee meetings and both took part in the baptism and naming of the first children accepted by the Hospital in March 1741. Richmond was a Lieutenant-General in the British Army and served under the notorious Duke of Cumberland in the Hanoverian campaign against the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

Richmond played cricket from boyhood but his real involvement began after he succeeded to the dukedom in 1723, when he was 22 years old. His earliest recorded match is the one against Sir William Gage's XI on 20 July 1725, which is mentioned in a surviving letter (see above) from Sir William to the Duke. Richmond captained his own XI and his players included some of the earliest known professionals such as his groom Thomas Waymark, and later, when he patronised Slindon Cricket Club, Richmond was associated with the Newland brothers. A feature of Richmond's career was the support he received from his wife Sarah, her interest being evident in surviving letters. Their grandson who became the 4th Duke is known to cricket history as the Hon. Colonel Charles Lennox, a noted amateur batsman of the late 18th century who was one of Thomas Lord's main guarantors when he established Lord's Old Ground at Marylebone in 1787.

There are surviving records of 13 significant matches played by the Duke of Richmond's XI from 1727 to 1731, mostly against teams raised by Sir William Gage or Edwin Stead. In two 1727 matches against Alan Brodrick's XI, Articles of Agreement were drawn beforehand to determine the rules that must apply and these were itemised in sixteen points. This was the first time that rules (or some part of the rules as in this case) are known to have been formally agreed, although rules as such definitely existed, generally subject to oral agreement but with local variations as was the case with early football in the 19th century. The first known codification of the Laws of Cricket was done in 1744.

In 1731, Richmond was involved in one of the most controversial matches recorded in the early history of cricket. On 16 August, his Sussex team played a Middlesex XI backed by a Mr Chambers at a venue in Chichester. Mr Chambers' team won this match, which had a prize of 100 guineas, and a return was arranged to take place at Richmond Green on 23 August for 200 guineas. It is the earliest match of which the team scores are known: Duke of Richmond 79, Mr Chambers 119; Duke of Richmond 72, Mr Chambers 23-5 (approx.). The game ended promptly at a pre-agreed time although Mr Chambers with "four or five more to have come in" and needing "about 8 to 10 notches" clearly had the upper hand. The end result caused a fracas among the crowd at Richmond Green who were incensed by the prompt finish because the Duke of Richmond had arrived late and delayed the start of the game. The riot resulted in some of the Sussex players "having the shirts torn off their backs" and it was said "a law suit would commence about the play". In a note about another match involving Mr Chambers' team in September, GB Buckley recorded that Richmond may have conceded the result to Chambers, perhaps to stop a threat of litigation. After this fracas, Richmond is not mentioned in cricket sources again for ten years. It is possible that he terminated the Duke of Richmond's XI after he broke his leg in 1733 and could no longer play himself. But, in time, he channelled his enthusiasm for cricket through a team from the small village of Slindon, which bordered on his Goodwood estate.

The rise to fame of Slindon Cricket Club was based on the play of Richard Newland and the patronage of Richmond. On Thursday, 9 July 1741, in a letter to her husband, the Duchess of Richmond mentions a conversation with John Newland re a Slindon v East Dean match at Long Down, near Eartham, a week earlier. This is the earliest recorded mention of any of the Newland family. Then, on 28 July, Richmond sent two letters to his friend Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, the future Prime Minister, to tell him about a game that day which had resulted in a brawl with "hearty blows" and "broken heads". The game was at Portslade between Slindon, who won, and unnamed opponents.

On Monday, 7 September 1741, Slindon played Surrey at Merrow Down, near Guildford. Richmond, in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle before the game, spoke of "poor little Slyndon against almost your whole county of Surrey". Next day he wrote again, saying that "wee (''sic'') have beat Surrey almost in one innings". Duchess Sarah wrote to him on Wednesday, 9 September, and said she "wish'd..... that the Sussex mobb (sic) had thrash'd the Surrey mob". She had "a grudge to those fellows ever since they mob'd you" (apparently a reference to the Richmond Green fiasco in August 1731). She then said she wished the Duke "had won more of their moneys".

In 1744, Richmond created what is now the world's oldest known scorecard for the match between London Cricket Club and Slindon at the Artillery Ground on 2 June. Slindon won by 55 runs and the original scorecard is now among Richmond's papers in the possession of the West Sussex Records Office. In August 1745, Richmond backed a Sussex XI against Surrey in a match at Berry Hill, near Arundel. It appears that Surrey won the game in view of a comment made by Lord John Philip Sackville in a letter to Richmond dated Saturday, 14 September: "I wish you had let Ridgeway play instead of your stopper behind it might have turned the match in our favour".

When single wicket became the dominant form of cricket in the late 1740s, Richmond entered a number of teams mostly centred on Stephen Dingate, who was in his employ at the time. For example, a number of matches were played by a "threes" team of Dingate, Joseph Rudd and Pye. Richmond often found himself opposed by his former groom Thomas Waymark, still an outstanding player but now resident in Berkshire.

Richmond's death on 8 August 1750 was followed by an immediate slump in the fortunes of Sussex cricket and it was not until the latter years of the 18th century that it managed a recovery.


the history

George II became King of Great Britain till 1760. Not the most pleasant of men, he had no personal interest in cricket but, importantly, his son Frederick Louis was to develop one when he came to live in London, having spent all his early life in Hanover.

the cricket

In July and August, the Duke of Richmond and Alan Brodrick arranged two matches of historical significance in that they drew up Articles of Agreement between them to determine the rules that must apply. This may be the first time that rules (or some part of the rules as in this case) were formally agreed, although rules as such definitely existed. In early times, the rules would be agreed orally and subject to local variations. This syndrome was also evident in football until the FA was founded, especially re the question of handling the ball. It was not until 1744 that the earliest known version of the Laws of Cricket was published.

Articles of Agreement by and between his Grace the Duke of Richmond & Mr. Brodrick for two Cricket Matches concluded the Eleventh of July 1727.

The Articles were signed "Richmond" and "A. Brodrick".

It is interesting to compare the Articles to the Laws of 1744 which were widely adopted at that time. Twelve a side, though this may include an umpire apiece, could have been difficult for Richmond if his matches against Gage were eleven a side and he fielded the same team in both matches! The pitch length of 23 yards may be an error in the original document because the chain (22 yards) was definitely a used measure in 1727. No run outs were allowed unless the fielder had the ball in his hand when breaking the wicket. Runs were only completed if the batsman touched the umpire's stick (which was probably a bat). Also of interest, perhaps worryingly so, is that there is no mention of batsmen not being allowed to hit the ball twice.

I love the one about those who "shall speak or give of their opinion" and strongly recommend its reinstatement into the modern game.

significant matches

Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

venue unknown

date unknown, 1727

result unknown (TJM)

Listed by McCann without comment from a brief reference in Pre-Victorian Sussex Cricket by H.F. & A.P. Squire (1951). The original source is the Articles of Agreement: "the Duke of Richmond to choose any Gamesters, who have played in either of His Grace's two last Matches with Sir William Gage". Although the Squires were probably correct, it is nevertheless an assumption that the "last two matches" were played earlier in the 1727 season.

Sir William Gage's XI v Duke of Richmond's XI

venue unknown

date unknown, 1727

result unknown (TJM)

As above. On the basis that it was a return match, I'll let Gage's XI be the "home team" in this one (of course, it could have been the other way about!).

Mr Alan Brodrick's XII v Duke of Richmond's XII

possibly Peper Harow, near Guildford, Surrey

? July 1727

result unknown (TJM)

In the Articles of Agreement: "the first Match shall be played some day of this instant July in the county of Surry (sic)". Peper Harow is mentioned in the Articles of Agreement: "Mr. Brodrick to choose any Gamesters within three Miles of Pepperhara (sic), provided they actually lived there last Lady Day". In The Duke That Was Cricket, John Marshall portrayed the contestants in a fanciful version of the match which, he suggested, was staged at Peper Harow, the home of the Brodrick family about four miles from Godalming and about five from Guildford. There is a point-to-point racecourse there now.

Ian Maun's account states that the match took place on 11 July and he later says it was concluded on that date. This is almost certainly incorrect for, in fact, we only know that the game was played "some day of this Instant July" and it was the Articles of Agreement itself that was "concluded the Eleventh of July 1727".

Duke of Richmond's XII v Mr Alan Brodrick's XII

Sussex (venue to be chosen by the Duke of Richmond)

? August 1727

result unknown (TJM)

In the Articles of Agreement: "the second match to be played in August next in the County of Sussex, the Place to be named by the Duke of Richmond".

Moulsey Hurst

The London Evening Post advertisement in 1726 is the earliest reference to cricket being played at Moulsey Hurst, which is located at what is now West Molesey, Surrey, on the south bank of the River Thames above Molesey Lock. Moulsey Hurst was a famous sporting venue, particularly for prizefighting, in Georgian and Regency times. It is known to have been used for major cricket matches since 1733 and the last record of a first class match there is in 1806. There is a well-known engraving by the artist Richard Wilson (1714–1782), entitled Cricket at Moulsey Hurst which is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is on display at Lord's.

Cricket on Moulsey Hurst

Cricket on Moulsey Hurst.

Moulsey Hurst is said to be the site of the first game of golf in England, during the reign of James VI and I, who was a golf enthusiast. It was the site of the now defunct Hurst Park Racecourse. The 1872 Ordnance Survey map shows a race course marked Molesey Hurst in this position. The location of the cricket ground was probably in the centre of the racecourse, which was common practice in the 18th century. The present day cricket pitch is about a quarter of a mile further east.

The earliest known use of the site for a significant match was in 1733 when Surrey played Middlesex. In August 1795, John Tufton was dismissed leg before wicket (lbw) by John Wells and, according to Arthur Haygarth in Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826):

"In this match, ''leg before wicket'' is found scored for the first time. In Britcher's printed score-book, Mr J. Tufton is in this match put down as bowled merely, and the leg before wicket added in a note. At first, when any one was got out in this way, it was marked down as simply bowled, and the leg before wicket omitted."

In 1806 the last known use of Moulsey Hurst for major cricket was the Surrey v All-England match.

alan brodrick

Alan Brodrick, 2nd Viscount Midleton (born 31 January 1702; died 8 June 1747) succeeded his father, also called Alan Brodrick, as Viscount Midleton on 29 August 1728. He in turn was succeeded by his son George Brodrick. The title relates to Midleton in County Cork and is in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1717 for Brodrick's father, who was the Lord Chancellor of Ireland and a former Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. The title is extant and is today held by another Alan Brodrick (born 1949).

Alan Brodrick was a Commissioner of the Customs and subsequently Joint Comptroller of the army accounts. Before he succeeded his father, he patronised cricket by arranging major matches against his friend Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond. Brodrick is particularly notable for his contribution to the eventual definition of the Laws of Cricket as references to the games between himself and Richmond mention that they drew up Articles of Agreement to determine the rules that must apply in their contests.

A recommended source for Brodrick is John Marshall's The Duke Who Was Cricket, Frederick Miller Ltd, 1961.

other matches

Warehorne v Hawkshurst (12 a side)

Warehorne Green, Warehorne, near Ashford, Kent

Monday, 5 June 1727

result unknown (GB18)

This game was arranged by Thomas Hodges, Esq. and George Baker, Esq. who is described as the General Receiver. It seems to have been a parish match and therefore minor.


the history

31 March. Death of Isaac Newton (1643–1728), pioneering English scientist who formulated the theory of gravity.

the cricket

Swiss traveller César de Saussure noted in his journal the frequency with which he saw cricket being played while he was making his journeys across southern England in June 1728. He referred to county matches "as a commonplace".

If they were a commonplace, they were also keenly contested to the point where winning teams would proclaim their county's superiority (as evidenced by match reports in 1728 and 1729). It is a long time before the actual words "county championship" appear in the sources but it is clear that the concept of a champion county existed in the 1720s if not sooner.

Samuel Johnson, aged nineteen, entered Pembroke College at Oxford University on 31 October. He spent a year there and later recalled watching cricket matches.

It seems likely that a dating error occurred when Waghorn found a match in Islington between the Gentlemen of Middlesex and the Gentlemen of London. He listed it with the date Tuesday, 5 August 1728, but 5 August in 1728 was a Monday. Recent research by Ian Maun has found a similar fixture on Tuesday, 5 August 1729 (see below), but he has complicated things by still listing the 1728 item. In my view, Maun has made an error keeping the 1728 fixture and I believe this match took place in 1729 only on the basis of the day of the week. The entry transcribed by Maun is: "August 5th - Aug 2: On Tuesday next, Aug.5, will be played a great cricket match, between the gentlemen of London, and gentlemen of Middlesex, in the fields behind the Woolpack, in Islington, near Sadlers Wells, for £5 a side." His 1729 entry is similar except that the stake is £50. In a previous version of this page, I followed Waghorn, Wilson, ACS and CricketArchive by having the match in 1728, but I've decided to move it to 1729 only. If more evidence should come to light which proves the game was played in both years, it's a five minute job to restore it in 1728.

Since I wrote the preceding paragraph, Martin Wilson has published the second volume of Ian Maun's researches which has amendments to the first volume in an appendix. This includes confirmation that Waghorn (and Ashley-Cooper) dated the Islington match in the wrong year and it was played on Tuesday, 5 August 1729 with no known equivalent in 1728. So, although Maun recorded the correct match in 1729, he unfortunately forgot to delete the incorrect one in 1728 and so his book contains a duplicate.

significant matches

Mr Edwin Stead's XI v Duke of Richmond's XI

The Heath, near Coxheath, Kent

Tuesday, 25 June 1728

Mr Stead's XI won? (TJM)

The date of the Coxheath match is confirmed by Buckley in his GB18 Appendix B, based on a report in the Kentish Weekly Post on 19 June. Buckley was correcting an oversight in Ashley-Cooper's Kent Cricket Matches. The full reference is given by McCann and confirms the patrons, date and venue; the 18th century rendition of Coxheath was Cock's Heath.

Duke of Richmond's XI v Mr Edwin Stead's XI

Earl of Leicester's Park, Penshurst, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent

? July 1728

Mr Stead's XI won? (TJM)

The only known primary source is a brief mention in the Whitehall Evening Post dated 6 August 1728.

The results of this match and the previous one at Coxheath are surmised from the report of the Stead v.Gage game (see below). Both Buckley and Ashley-Cooper seem to consider Richmond's XI to have been "Sussex" and Stead's XI to have been "Kent", Stead being a resident of Maidstone. Although a handful of people attach high priority to the naming of teams, the absence of formally constituted county clubs in the 18th century meant that nearly all teams had at least an element of thead hoc about them and so might be known by any number of names. Thus, "Richmond's XI" and "Sussex" are equally correct.

Like Peper Harow (see 1727), Penshurst Park is now the location of a point-to-point racecourse. In 1728 it was the seat of John Sydney, 17th Earl of Leicester. There were strong connections between cricket and racing throughout the 18th century with matches being staged on courses such as the one at Nottingham; and the fact that MCC and the Jockey Club were both founded by the "Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Club" which used to meet socially at the Star & Garter on Pall Mall in London. The main connection between the two, and prizefighting, was of course gambling.

Maun has no separate reference to this match and includes the WEP reference in the middle of several references to the Coxheath game, even though it clearly states a different venue.

Mr Edwin Stead's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

Earl of Leicester's Park, Penshurst, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent

late July or early August 1728

Mr Stead's XI won by 7 runs (DC)

Like the two matches above, this could be called Sussex v Kent as the players were reported as "11 of a Side of each County" and, as we have seen, Sir William Gage was a Sussex landowner. Appendix B of GB18 asserts that the date was "sometime between 29 July and 3 August" according to the Whitehall Evening Post on 6 August 1728. Buckley makes an uncharacteristic error by calling the venue Penhurst Park. He accepts the view that Stead's team, which he calls Kent, won by 7 runs although the way the result was reported is a little ambiguous, the same report being published by five contemporary journals: "the latter (i.e., Kent) played out first, and got 52, and the former (i.e., Sussex) wanted 7 to be even with them". Evidently Mr Stead's team also won their games against the Duke of Richmond's XI as their victory over Sir William Gage's XI was "the third time this summer that the Kent men have been too expert for those of Sussex".

This proclamation of Kent's superiority is the first time that the concept of a champion county can be seen in the sources and it is augmented by the "turned the scales" comment made by a reporter after Sussex defeated Kent in 1729. The 1729 report added that the "scale of victory had been on the Kentish side for some years past". In 1730, a newspaper refers to the "Kentish champions". Note, however, that the County Championship was not formally constituted until December 1889 and such claims have no official basis as we would understand it: they should perhaps be viewed as early examples of "bragging rights" but we cannot say for certain that a form of championship was not recognised.

Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

The Downs, near Lewes, Sussex

date unknown, 1728

result unknown (TJM)

All that is known is "a match between elevens" organised by the two patrons.

Thomas Waymark

Thomas Waymark (born 17 June 1705 at Mitcham, Surrey; date of death unknown) was one of the most famous players in the first half of the 18th century and is widely accounted the game's first great all-rounder. It seems that he was right-handed and bowled at a fastish pace so he could be classed as RHB/RFM. His career began in the 1720s with the earliest definite mention of him in 1727 when he was 22. He is last recorded in 1749, playing for All-England in a "fives" match. Along with the likes of Richard Newland and Robert Colchin, he was one of the greatest single wicket players.

Waymark was employed as a groom by his patron the 2nd Duke of Richmond. There was probably no shortage of capable grooms and it is fair to assume that Richmond employed Waymark because of his outstanding ability with bat and ball, Richmond being the foremost investor in cricket at the time. Richmond's teams were representative of Sussex as a county and the few reports in which Waymark is mentioned make clear that he was a star all-rounder, perhaps the first great all-rounder in the game's history. For example, the report of Mr Edwin Stead's XI v Sir William Gage's XI at Penshurst Park on 28 August 1729 states that "a groom of the Duke of Richmond signalised himself by extraordinary agility and dexterity". This was Waymark playing for Gage's XI who won the match by an innings.

In August 1730, a major match between the teams of Richmond and Gage was postponed "on account of Waymark, the Duke’s man, being ill". Assuredly this was not done out of sympathy for Waymark's condition, but because every major match in the 18th century was based on a wager and the betting on Waymark's expected contribution must have been so high that stakes would have to be repaid unless the game could be played with Waymark fully fit.

By the 1740s, Waymark was no longer in the Duke's employ for he was working at Bray Mills in Berkshire where his patron was Mr Darville. Thanks to their efforts, it was at this time that Berkshire first became noted as a centre for cricket. F S Ashley-Cooper recorded that Waymark was a Berkshire resident and playing for the Berkshire XI or the London XI. In the 1744 season, Waymark played in both of the two games of which the earliest known scorecards have survived. On 2 June, he played for London versus Slindon Cricket Club at the Artillery Ground. Slindon, backed by his old employer the Duke of Richmond, won by 55 runs. On 18 June, he played for the All-England team against Kent at the Artillery Ground in the match which commences Arthur Haygarth's Scores & Biographies. Kent won by 1 wicket.

As this history records, the late 1740s were the halcyon days of single wicket and Waymark was a frequent participant in these lucrative and keenly fought contests. Good examples of his prowess are the two doubles matches on 16 & 17 September 1748 when he teamed up with Robert Colchin to play against Tom Faulkner and Joe Harris at the Artillery Ground. At the time, these four were arguably the best players in England. The matches were played for fifty guineas each (big money in those days). Waymark and Colchin won them both, the first by 12 runs and the second by an unrecorded margin.

It must be remembered that Waymark, like William Bedle, Richard Newland, Robert Colchin, etc., played his cricket with a two-stump wicket, a curved bat and a ball that was bowled along the ground. There is no doubt that he was a great all-rounder and the "extraordinary agility and dexterity" comment must include outstanding ability as a fielder. He was certainly one of the game's greatest pioneers in its period of early development before the pitched delivery and the straight bat.

Thomas Waymark seems to have finished playing c.1750. He had a long career and must have been prolific, but the surviving records can only confirm participation in 12 single wicket events and 12 significant matches. Nothing is known of his family or his final years. Details of his date and place of death are unrecorded.


the history

Johann Sebastian Bach completed his famous Brandenburg Concertos.

the cricket

A local game in Gloucester on Monday 22 September is the earliest known reference to cricket in Gloucestershire.

There is a bat in The Oval pavilion which belonged to John Chitty of Knaphill, Surrey. Dated 1729, it is the oldest known bat. It looks more like a hockey stick than a modern cricket bat but its curvature was to enable the batsman to play a ball that was always rolled, as in bowls, or skimmed; but never pitched. Pitching began about 30-35 years later and the straight bats we use nowadays were created in response to the pitched delivery.

significant matches

London v Dartford

Kennington Common, Kennington, Surrey

Tuesday, 5 August 1729

Dartford won "very much" (GB18 & The Cricketer magazine)

The original source was the London Evening Post on Thursday, 7 August which reported: "on Tuesday was played a great cricket match on Kennington Common between the Londoners and the Dartford men for a considerable sum of money, wagers and bets, the latter beat the former very much". Mr Buckley recorded the date as Tuesday, 8 August but it must have been Tuesday, 5 August.

Gentlemen of Middlesex v Gentlemen of London

Islington, Middlesex (White Conduit Fields?)

Tuesday, 5 August 1729

result unknown (DC)

The venue of this game was very precisely reported as "in the fields behind the Woolpack, in Islington, near Sadlers Wells, for £50 a side". A dating error occurred when Waghorn originally researched it and the match has previously been listed by several sources on Tuesday, 5 August 1728. But, 5 August was a Monday in 1728. Ian Maun found three primary sources, including an item in the Daily Journal dated 1 August 1729, which confirm the real date.

The match is the earliest known to involve a team called Middlesex.

Mr Edwin Stead's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

Penshurst Park, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Thursday, 28 August 1729

Gage's XI won–by an innings? (DC)

Also titled Kent (Stead) v Surrey, Sussex & Hampshire (Gage). It was 11 a side and played for 100 guineas with some thousands watching. It seems to have been the first known innings victory as Gage "got (within three) in one hand, as the former did in two hands, so the Kentish men (i.e., Stead's team) threw it up". It is said that "a groom of the Duke of Richmond signalised himself by extraordinary agility and dexterity". This was almost certainly the all-rounder Thomas Waymark.

The report then states that "(Waymark) turned the scale of victory, which for some years past has been generally on the Kentish side". This proves that inter-county matches had been played for many years previously and that there was keen rivalry with each team seeking ascendancy: i.e., as champions. Given the 1728 reference (see above) to the superiority of Kent, it is clear that the idea of a champion county, or at least of "bragging rights", had taken hold in the 1720s and possibly sooner.

This is the first time that either Sussex or Hampshire is used in a team name, though not individually.

Sussex, Surrey & Hampshire v Kent

The Downs, near Lewes, Sussex

? September 1729

result unknown (DC)

A report dated Saturday 13 September says that "the great match played at Penshurst will be played again in Sussex".


the history

The Maratha government became pre-eminent in India until 1735.

A major series of volcanic eruptions which continued till 1736 changed much of the landscape of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

the cricket

Tuesday, 3 February 1729 (Julian). The Daily Advertiser began publication and carried a great many cricket notices until it ceased publication in 1798.

The Kentish Weekly Post dated 25 April reported that the Dukes of Devonshire and Richmond were among a group who "diverted themselves at Cricket in Hyde Park" a few days earlier; and "next week they are to play a match for 100 guineas". (PVC) There is no further report of the 100 guinea match.

On Monday 17 August, a twelve a side game was played at Tonbridge and was "backed by a great many of the noblemen and gentry of that place". It seems to have been a tight contest which was unfinished on the day, so another date was chosen for the conclusion, but nothing further is known (see GB18).

October. A match on Datchet Heath (aka Datchet Common), outside the village of Datchet which is near Windsor, is the first reference to cricket in Buckinghamshire (CS). Note that Datchet is nowadays in Berkshire but was historically part of Bucks.

single wicket

Thursday, 28 May. Four men of Kent played four of Brentford for £50 at Westerham in Kent, "articles being drawn to play or pay".

Thursday, 4 June. The return match of the above was scheduled at Kew Green.

Monday, 29 June. There was a "two threes" contest for £50 at Mickleham Downs in Surrey between three men of Surrey and three men of Sussex. The report in the London Evening Post says they were "esteemed the best players in the respective Counties" but unfortunately does not name them. The Sussex three won.

Wednesday, 26 August. Mr Edwin Stead and three colleagues played a four-a-side game on Walworth Common against four Brentford men "for a considerable wager". The Brentford men won. This may have been a repeat of the games on 28 May and 4 June.

significant matches

Surrey v Middlesex

Richmond Green, Richmond, Surrey

? June 1730

Surrey won (CS)

CS = Cricket Scores 1730–1773 by H T Waghorn.

Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

Bury (aka Berry) Hill, near Arundel, Sussex

Friday, 12 June 1730

result unknown (TJM)

The source for this is a letter written by one Henry Foster two days earlier.

London v Kent

Grays Inn, London

Thursday, 2 July 1730

Kent won (KCM)

KCM = Kent Cricket Matches by F S Ashley-Cooper.

This match is also mentioned in Waghorn's Cricket Scores.

The Artillery Ground

The famous Artillery Ground is in Finsbury and situated just off the City Road immediately north of the City of London. It was historically stated to lie ''between Chiswell Street and Bunhill Fields'', the latter being a cemetery. Since 1638, it has belonged to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) which has used it for its own displays, parades, training, etc. but was often willing to allow its use by outside parties wishing to stage other events. From the time of its earliest known major cricket match in 1730, it was for over thirty years the main centre of cricket in London. Having been an almost rural location for much of its history, it is nowadays surrounded by the Company's headquarters and numerous office buildings.

It is best known as a historic cricket venue and especially as the home of the original London Cricket Club. For many years before the creation of the Hambledon Club in the 1760s, the Artillery Ground was the feature venue for not only London but all English cricket. It eventually fell into disrepute because of uncontrolled gambling and several crowd disturbances. It ceased to be used for major cricket in the aftermath of the Seven Years War, the last known match taking place in 1778 some years after the London Club had already disbanded.

In the 18th century, the venue was referred to in contemporary reports as the ''old'' Artillery Ground, but this may be because it was used frequently for other forms of sport or entertainment. Its earliest definite use for a cricket match was on 31 August 1730 when London played Surrey. London won but no other details are known. The ground quickly became London's first choice home venue with five matches recorded there in 1731: three against Dartford and two against Croydon. By the 1740s, the Artillery Ground had become the sport's feature venue and for about twenty years it had a social status that only Lord's Cricket Ground has subsequently equalled. Single wicket was especially popular in the 1740s and huge crowds gambling huge sums of money were attracted to the ground whenever these contests took place.

The history of the ground is coloured by references to its keepers, or lessees. The first known reference is in The Craftsman dated Saturday 26 February 1732 (Julian date) re Mr Christopher Jones, Master of the Artillery Ground, at the Pyed Horse public house in Chiswell Street. The keepers were responsible for maintaining order at the ground. For example, Jones posted a notice in the newspapers that advertised a London v Kent match on 5 July 1733 as ''for one guinea each man with wickets to be pitched at one o'clock and the spectators to keep outside the line round the ground. If any persons get on the Walls'' (sic), ''they will be prosecuted as the Law directs; and the Company are desired to come through the Py'd Horse Yard, Chiswell Street''. Obviously, by coming through the pub, many customers might well stop to buy a drink and Jones, as the landlord, would have no objection to that!

The most charismatic keeper was George Smith who had frequent disputes with the HAC during his tenure in the 1740s. He also had money problems and there are surviving reports of his attempts to pay off his debts by raising the ground admission and then being forced to reduce it again.

On 15 September 1784, Vincent Lunardi flew a balloon from the Artillery Ground, the first such flight in England.

It is perhaps appropriate that the earliest known photograph of a cricket match in progress should have been taken at the Artillery Ground. The photograph is A Cricket Match Played the 25th July 1857 by Roger Fenton. It pictures action from a match between the Royal Artillery and the Hunsdonbury Cricket Club. It is interesting to compare the rural tranquility of Fenton's image with the urban surroundings of the ground today.

The Artillery Ground is now used for rugby and football in the winter and cricket in the summer. It is also, as a source of revenue for the HAC, rented out for parties and events. As part of its charitable commitment, the HAC permits local schools to use the Ground for sporting activity, and the grounds remain at the disposal of the HAC Regiment for training purposes. The Artillery Garden is ringed by a variety of trees planted in 1996 and again in 2000 to celebrate the Millennium. The 7 magnolia grandiflora in front of Armoury House were donated by members of the Royal Family.

Mr Andrews' XI v Duke of Richmond's XI

Merrow Down, Guildford, Surrey

Thursday, 9 July 1730

Mr Andrews' XI won (CS)

This match is also mentioned in GB18 with the additional information that Mr Andrews was a resident of Sunbury. Mr Andrews may therefore have been involved on Thursday, 23 July when Sunbury played Epsom on Epsom Downs.

Greenwich v London

The Heath, Blackheath, Kent

Friday, 31 July 1730

result unknown (GB18)

This match was played for 20 guineas.

Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI

Dripping Pan, Lewes, Sussex

Wednesday, 5 August 1730

result unknown (CS/TJM)

It is not clear if this match was eventually played as the announcement states it "was put off on account of Waymark, the Duke's man, being ill". Assuredly that was not done due to sympathy with Thomas Waymark for his condition but because of the stakes laid on his expected performance. Unless the fixture could be postponed and eventually played with his involvement, all bets would have been "off" and that would have been a calamity indeed. Happily, Waymark did get better and he continued to play into the 1740s.

The "Dripping Pan" is a grassy banked natural ampitheatre off Mountfield Road in Lewes and is today the home of Lewes AFC.

Kent v London

The Heath, Blackheath, Kent

Wednesday, 5 August 1730

drawn? (GB18)

The St James Evening Post on Saturday, 8 August reported: "'Twas thought that the Kentish champions would have lost their honours by being beat at one innings if time had permitted". This is the first time that a team is called the "champions" and it confirms that the idea of a champion county was well established among cricket's followers.

The match was apparently drawn and that is the earliest known instance of this result. The report added that a repeat was scheduled for Wednesday, 12 August at Islington (see below).

Putney v Fulham

Putney Heath, south London

? August 1730

Putney won (CS)

The stakes in this "great cricket-match", won by Putney, were 50 guineas per side.

London v Kent

Frog Lane, Islington (Wednesday, 12 Aug); Kennington Common (Tuesday, 18 Aug)

Wednesday, 12 & Tuesday, 18 August 1730

result unknown (CS)

This match was played at Frog Lane in Islington, Middlesex on Wednesday, 12 August "but being obliged by their Articles to leave off at seven o'clock, they could not finish it". London had a lead of 30 when play ended on Wednesday, 12 August but no details were reported of the resumption at Kennington Common on Tuesday, 18 August.

Surrey v London

Kennington Common, Kennington, Surrey

c. Wednesday, 26 August 1730

London by 1 run (CS)

This match was "thought to be one of the completest matches that ever was played".

London v Surrey

Artillery Ground, Bunhill Fields, Finsbury, London

Monday, 31 August 1730

London won by 6 runs (CS/GB18)

The stake was 20 guineas.

This is the earliest definite match at the Artillery Ground (see 1725) which was referred to in contemporary reports as the "old" Artillery Ground, but that may be because it was used frequently for other forms of sport or entertainment. It was generally used for matches involving the original London Club and also became the featured venue of all London cricket until about 1765, after which the focus shifted to Hambledon. Matches are recorded at the Artillery Ground until as late as 1778 but by then the original London Club had disbanded, although its members continued their social and organisational existences and maintained their influence over the game as a whole.

London v Surrey

Artillery Ground, Bunhill Fields, Finsbury, London

Friday, 4 September 1730

result unknown (CS)

This match was the third in a tri-series but it was reported beforehand only.

The History of Cricket: 1601–1700 | The History of Cricket: 1731–1740 | Index

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