Vol. 88: Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century

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Author: Timothy J. McCann
Date: 2004
Volume: Volume 88
ISBN: 085445 055 6
No longer in print

The history of cricket in Sussex has been traced back to the 17th century, but the 18th century was a period of enormous importance in the development of the game. It was the period when a disorganised rural pastime, played in country churchyards and rural wastelands evolved into a national game played by regular teams patronised by the aristocracy and county gentry. Sussex was one of the principal centres of this evolution. The history of cricket in particular and sport in general is every bit as valuable as economic, religious or social history, and this volume is the first comprehensive study of all available sources.

It prints in chronological order all known references to 18th century cricket in Sussex or played by Sussex teams, recorded in local and national newspapers, diaries, correspondence and accounts of the period. The principal newspapers used are the Sussex Weekly Advertiser and the Hampshire Chronicle and Portsmouth Gazette for matches played in the western half of the county, and the Kentish Chronicle, Kentish Gazette, Kentish Weekly Post and the Canterbury and Maidstone Journals for the east. London newspapers are useful sources for matches played in London, particularly in the first half of the century.

Books of scores compiled by W. Epps, Samuel Britcher, Henry Bentley and Arthur Haygarth are included. References to cricket have been extracted from the Sussex diaries of John Baker, John Burgess, William Davy, Walter Gale, Sarah Hurst, James Maidlow, Thomas Marchant, John Marsh and Thomas Turner, together with those of John Dawson and Thomas Pattenden of Kent. Manuscript sources have been transcribed from West Sussex Record Office. the Hampshire Record Office, the Kent Heritage Centre and the British Library, as well as a host of other collections.

The Introduction reproduces all known references to cricket in Sussex in the 17th century. It examines the chronological and geographical spread of the game in 18th century Sussex. It also explores such aspects of the game as the grounds on which matches were played, and the teams who played. The place of cricket in the society of the time is discussed: the patrons and sponsors, the crowds, the entertainment and hospitality, and the gambling. Other topics touched on include series of matches, rules and regulations, scores, the weather, curiosities of cricket and women’s cricket.

Timothy J McCann is Assistant County Archivist at West Sussex Record Office, and edited a previous SRS volume The Correspondence of the Dukes of Richmond and Newcastle, 1724-1750 (73 1984). He has published widely on Sussex Recusancy.

Cover illustration `Cricket in Marylebone Fields’ by Francis Heyman c.1743-47 (reproduced by courtesy of Marylebone Cricket Club)