St Albans Cricket Club in 1824

Morning Post, 1st September, 1824


While searching the British Newspaper Archives for information of when cricket was first recorded as being played on Bernards Heath, St Albans, I found the following news item, suggesting that a St Albans Cricket Club was established in 1666.



For some time past a Ball to the Ladies of Hertfordshire has been in the contemplation of the Cricket Club, at St. Albans; and the Marquis of Salisbury proposed that it should be a Fete of no ordinary description. ... The day fixed was the 30th of August [1824] ... ...


Marquis of Abercorn

Lady Ashley Cooper

Earl & Countess Cowper

Mr & Miss Duncombe

Earl of Essex

Mr Giles

Sir Charles Grenville

Lord Grimston

Mr Hale

Mr & Mrs Hall

Lord Hamilton

Lady & Miss Hamilton

Captain Hamilton

Mr Jarrin

(Italian confectioner of New Bond Street)

Mr. B. King

Lady Caroline Lamb

Mr George Lamb

Mr. Wickham Martin

Mr & Mrs Montgomery

Mrs Devie Robertson

Captain & Mrs de Roos

Earl of Roseberry

Marchioness of Salisbury

Marquis of Salisbury

Sir John Sebright

Mr Sebright

Misses Sebright

Mr & Mrs Smith

Hon. Mr. Sutton

Earl & Countess of Verulam

Captain & Miss Wood


Morning Post, 1 August, 1824


At first sight the above report is a pretty routine one of a major social event, but includes one very interesting sentence:

At the upper end of the room was a noble transparency, representing the insignia of the club, first established in the year 1666 namely - two bats, crossed, resting against the stumps, and the ball in the air, oak and laurel leaves.

In Simons' book Cricket in Hertfordshire he says that claims that the St Albans Club "began in 1660 are based on very flimsy evidence, and are disregarded by cricket historians" The earliest recorded "Hertfordshire" matches he gives are in 1732 (a combined Hertfordshire and Essex team played London in Epping Forest and 1737 (at Stanstead Abbot and at Ware). The first mentions of a St Albans team has to wait until the 19th century. It took on a Rickmansworth and Uxbridge team in 1805 and by the 1820s was the leading team in the county.

Of course the above press cutting is not firm evidence that St Albans Cricket Club started in 1666 - but it is evidence that in 1824 it was already considered to have old roots. It is unlikely that such a claim would have been made at the fete if the club had only been formed at the time of the 1805 match which is the earliest we now know about.

Maybe more evidence will emerge as more of the British Newspaper Archive becomes more comprehensive. However it raises two questions.

Can we find any 18th century (or even better 17th century) references to cricket in St Albans?

Does an copy of the original insignia remain?

Any ideas anyone?