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Thaw Arrives; Cricket Added to Old List of "Evening" English Pastimes

Salience Noteworthy
Game Stoolball

"With a relaxation of attitudes towards sports at the Restoration cricket began to emerge from its position of relative obscurity with the printed word beginning to define it, along with other folk games, as an element of the national culture. Edward Chamberlyne's Anglia Notitia, a handbook on the social and political conditions of England, lists cricket for the first time in the eighteenth edition of 1694. 'The natives will endure long and hard labour; insomuch, that after 12 hours of hard work, they will go in the evening to foot-ball, stool-ball, cricket, prison-base, wrestling, cudgel-playing, and some such vehement exercise, for their recreation.'"

Source: Bateman, Anthony, "More Mighty than the Bat, the Pen . . . ;' Culture, Hegemony, and the Literaturisaton of Cricket," Sport in History, v. 23, 1 (Summer 2003), page 30.

Upon further examination, Protoball notes that Anglia Notitia actually has two ongoing areas of special interest. The first is the text above in part 1, chapter V, which had evolved through earlier editions - the 1676 edition - if not earlier ones - had already mentioned stow-ball [changed to "stoolball" as of 1694 or earlier], according to Hazlitt's Faith and Folklore. Cricket historian Diana Rait Kerr agrees that cricket was first added in the 18th edition of 1694.

Another section of Anglia Notitia catalogued English recreations. Text for this section - part 3, chapter VII - is accessible online for the 1702, 1704, 1707, and later editions. These recreations were listed in three parts: for royalty, for nobles and gentry, and for "Citizens and Peasants." Royal sports included tennis, pell mell and billiards. The gentry's sports included tennis, bowling, and billiards. And then: "The Citizens and Peafants have Hand-ball, Stow-ball, Nine-Pins, Shovel-board [and] Goffe," said the 20th edition [1702]. In the 22nd edition [1707], cricket had been inserted as something that commoners also played. We find no reference to club ball, stick ball, trap ball, or other games suggested as precursors of baseball. The full title of Chamberlayne is Anglia Notitia, or the Present State of England: With Divers Remarks on the Ancient State Thereof. Chamberlayne's first edition apparently appeared in 1669; the 37th was issued in 1748. Another Chamberlayne excerpt is found at entry #1704.2 below.

John Thorn supplied crucial input for this entry. Note: It would be interesting to see whether earlier and later editions of Chamberlayne cite other games of interest.

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