Thursday, 19 December 2013


The  home  of  English  cricket


The spiritual home of cricket is at Halfpenny Down north east of the village of Hambledon in Hampshire.  This is where Hambledon Cricket Club, founded in 1760, gradually developed the laws of the modern game.   A granite monument in a corner of the cricket ground marks the hallowed site.   The old ‘Bat and Ball Inn,’ once used as the clubhouse, stands nearby.

Halfpenny Down




Lord’s cricket ground  is now recognised as the headquarters of cricket.   Thomas Lord was born in Kirkgate in the tiny North Yorkshire town of Thirsk in 1755, the son of a labourer.  When the family moved to Norfolk, young Thomas became a useful cricketer and subsequently found work at the White Conduit Cricket Club in Islington.  Lord was soon given the task of finding a better ground for the club and he eventually obtained the lease of some land which became known as ‘Lord’s’, and the club changed its name to The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC),  This land was subsequently sold for development and after a move to Regents Park, Lord eventually established the club at its present home in St John’s Wood in 1814.

Lord died in 1832.   A commemorative plaque marks the cottage where he was born and now houses Thirsk Museum.


Members of MCC and the two counties watch from the Pavilion. The ground's famous slope shows clearly.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]  © Copyright John Sutton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

I am grateful to John Sutton for the use of his Geograph photograph and text.

Lord's birthplace in Thirsk

Out for a duck
The very pretty agricultural village of Bishop Burton near Beverley in East Yorkshire has a large  village green with lovely old cottages alongside a large duck pond which leads nicely to this story.

The first cricket match to be played in the village took place on 18th July 1857, when the home team beat the neaby Cherry Burton team by two wickets.   At that time the pitch was in the grounds of the High Hall, which is now an Agricultural College.   At one time the team fielded  ten  Ducks! 
A local family of joiners and wheelwrights were called ‘Duck’ and they produced many useful cricketers who played for the village team.
The village schoolmaster was called ‘Swann’.   Other villagers were called  Bird, Cockerill, Sparrow and Drake, and the head gardener at High Hall was called Green.

Bishop Burton
Tottenham Hotspur
Many of our football teams are called such and such City or United etc. A few have curious names such as Borton Wanderer's, a name they adopted in the early days when they didn't have a permanent home ground. Accrington Stanley was named after the local pub - The Stanley Arms, whilst Sheffield Wednesday started life as a cricket club which played their games on Wednesday and later formed a football club. 
Tottenham Hotspur derives its name from the eldest son of the 1st Earl of Northumberland, Sir Henry Percy, who was nicknamed ‘Hotspur’ due to the speed of his attack on Scottish raiders. The seat of the Percy’s was in Northumberland Park in the Tottenham marshes of north London.
 In 1892 the local football club was founded and became The Hotspur Football Club,
later Tottenham Hotspur.
Aerial view Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
Photograph taken from helicopter encircling the ground. Picture shows the rear of the East Stand. Taken facing west with Bruce Castle Park in the far background
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]  © Copyright Alan Swain and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I am grateful to Alan Swann for the use of his Geograph photograph and text.


No comments: