The Hambledon Men edited by E.V. Lucas

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The importance of the works that make up this volume cannot be overstated. I am very pleased to be able to offer this copy I have downloaded from Wikisource. When published in 1907 this book was describer as “Being a New Edition of John Nyren’s Young Cricketer’s Tutor, Together With a Collection of Other Matter Drawn From Various Sources, All Bearing Upon the Great Batsmen and Bowlers Before Round-Arm Came”. The volume is a collection of vital texts relating to Hambledon Cricket Club and the history of cricket of that period. This is a good article about the book.

Unfortunately, the pagination on the index on page 9 does not follow that of the original publication. Never mind if you just click on the hyperlinks, that will take you to wherever you want to go.

The book

The books within the book

Ballard of Dead Cricketers, by Andrew Lang

An elegiac poem about cricket of the period.

Introduction by EV. Lucas

The editors sets out his objectives – “to bring together as many authentic praises of the early cricketers first celebrated by Nyren as I could find—together with a few new facts concerning Nyren himself: the whole to form rather a eulogy of the fathers of the noblest of games than a history of its rise or contribution to the literature of its theory. The reader will find few dates, but many traits and virtues; no well-ordered facts, but much enthusiasm.”

The Young Cricketer’s Tutor, by John Nyren

John Nyren (1764 – 1837) was the son of Richard Nyren, the captain of the first great Hambledon team and the landlord of The Hut next to the ground, now known as the Bat and Ball Inn. In old age, Nyren worked with Cowden Clarke to produce a two-part book published in 1833 – the particular contribution of each in now unknowable. This is first and less important part. Nevertheless, it is vastly important text and provides an insight as to how the game was played in the eighteenth century.

The Cricketers of My Time, by John Nyren

In this work, Nyren looks back on the the cricket he saw in his youth and gives an account of the great days of Hambledon. No work in the history of cricket writing has been more quoted than this. As John Arlott writes “Hambledon cricket club and its great players are seen at a range of forty years and through the rosy glass of nostalgia by an old man who has shared their greatness.” This text created a view of cricket that survives to this day and has informed the lives of many, most of whom have never heard of it. It is the great classic of cricket.

John Nyren, by the Editor

Lucas provides a insight into John and Richard Nyren, largely based on the recollections of John Nyren’s daughter, Miss Mary Nyren.

Review of John Nyren’s Book, by the Rev John Mitford

In two articles published in 1833, Mitford draws upon Nyren’s work to summarise the early history of cricket, adding his own observations to bring it up to date. His main contribution concern his writings about the cricketers of the 1830s.

The Hambledon Club and the Old Players, by the Rev James Pycroft

This section consists of part of a a book called The Cricket Field published in 1851 which dealt with the history of cricket to that date. It draws heavily on Nyren. Lucas omits the first two chapters which can be found in the complete edition of the volume here.

Other sections of lesser interest:

  • A letter to the Cricketers, by Old Clarke
  • A Conversation with Lord Bessborough, by the Right Rev H H Montgomery
  • Memories of the Old Players, by Arthur Haygarth
  • Mr Budd and his Friends, by the Editor
  • England Past and Present, by A Cochrane