Block:English Baseball 1850s

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English Baseball 1850s (45 entries)

Contents

English Baseball in London/Surrey in 1850

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1850
Location London/Surrey
Data

"Base-ball" is mentioned in the three-volume novel The Younger Sister by Catherine Anne Hubback: "...Emma, drawing little Charles towards her, began a confidential conversation with him on the subject of his garden and companions at school, and the comparative merits of base-ball and cricket."

Notes

Mrs. Hubback was born Catherine Austen. She was the niece of Jane Austen, the daughter of Jane's brother Francis. The Younger Sister is based upon Jane Austen's unfinished manuscript The Watsons which Catherine Hubback took upon herself to complete. By mentioning baseball she becomes the third member of the novel-writing Leigh/Austen family to do so. The story is set in an unnamed village in Surrey, possibly Dorking.

Sources

The Younger Sister, Vol. I, by Catherine Anne Hubback, London, 1850, Thomas Cautley Newby, p.166

English Baseball in Kent on May 25 1850

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, May 25, 1850
Location Kent
Data

A newspaper reported that "base-ball" was played at the "Grand Whitsuntide Chartist Holiday" excursion to Gravesend in Kent: "The spacious grounds of the Bat and Ball Tavern being reached, the company separated--some to visit Windmill-hill and admire Rosherville, whilst others engaged at an exhilarating game of cricket, base ball, and other recreations."

Sources

The Northern Star and National Trades Journal (London), May 25, 1850, p. 1

English Baseball in Hampshire on August 3 1850

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 3, 1850
Location Hampshire
Data

It was reported that "base ball" was played at an outing hosted for several hundred school children in Andover, Hampshire, by the local vicar's daughter in celebration of her birthday: "After tea, the boys amused themselves by playing at cricket and other games, and the girls by playing at base ball, &c."

Sources

Reading Mercury, Aug. 3, 1850, p.2

English Baseball in Norfolk on August 2 1851

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 2, 1851
Location Norfolk
Data

A game called "base" (that was clearly baseball) was referenced in an extremely long newspaper article reporting the testimony in a trial in Norwich, Norfolk, to determine whether a deceased man named Bailey Bird had, while alive, been mentally competent to marry. One witness described his boyhood: "He was desirous of playing with us boys, but he was not able, he did not comprehend the game. We used to play base, striking a ball and running to places called homes. Have heard the boys say to him, 'now Bailey, count five,' his reply was, 'don't know'."

Notes

From the context of the article it is apparent that the baseball incident reported by the witness took place in the early 19th century.

Sources

The Norfolk Chronicle and Norwich Gazette, Aug. 2, 1851, p. 4

English Baseball in Suffolk on August 25 1852

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, August 25, 1852
Location Suffolk
Data

“Bass Ball” was played at a picnic in Ickworth Park, near the town of Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk, according to a breathless journal entry written by a 13-year-old girl who would later become a well-known novelist: “...we lighted the fire and then spread the cloth on the grass (and) we had glorious fun for the little spiders got into the tea and all manner of disasters happened—some cows then frightened Grandma and Arnie by coming near us but we frightened them in return with the Cornet and they all took to their heels, after that we had a game of Bass Ball then Rick got on the donkey and I made it gallop and finally we all returned home.”

Notes

Maria Louise Ramé was an English novelist who wrote under the pen name Ouida. She had 40 works published, including the novel Under Two Flags. Several years' worth of her youthful journals were published among the memoirs of Henry G. Huntington, who was a shameless name dropper. Huntington wrote in 1911 that the original journals were the property of W. Campbell Spence of Florence, but their current whereabouts are unknown. Ms. Ramé was born and raised in Bury St. Edmonds. The picnic location she chose is meaningful in that Ickworth Park then and now surrounds Ickworth House, the hereditary estate of the Hervey family and home for many years of Lady Mary Hervey, author of the well-known 1748 letter mentioning baseball.

Sources

“Maria Louise Ramé's Journals,” entry for August 25th, 1852, as excerpted within Memories, Personages, People, Places, by Henry G. Huntington, London, 1911, Constable and Co., Limited, p. 258

English Baseball in London/Hampshire in 1853

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1853
Location London/Hampshire
Data

Reference to a game of "bass-ball" in a naturalist-themed, fictional work for young readers: "The rest of the party strolled about the field, or joined merrily in a game of bass-ball or rounders, or sat in the bower, listening to the song of birds."

Notes

The author's juxtaposition of the words "bass-ball" and "rounders" can be read two ways: he could have been indicating two separate games or providing alternate names for the same game. I tend to favor the former; indeed, baseball and rounders were two distinct games. The author's use of the singular "game" rather than "games" is stylistic, as shown by his use of the singular "song" in the sentence's ending phrase. The story appears to be set in Hampshire.

Sources

A Year of Country Life; or, the Chronicle of the Young Naturalists, anon., London, 1853, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, p. 115

English Baseball in London/Berkshire on June 1 1854

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, June 1, 1854
Location London/Berkshire
Data

"A Game at Baste Ball" is identified as the name of one of the paintings listed in an art magazine's review of the works displayed at the 86th Exhibition of the Royal Academy: "No. 265. 'A Game at Baste Ball,' W. H. KNIGHT. As this seems to be a game of activity as well as address, the point of the picture is action. In execution it is worked up to an enamel surface, and it is rich in colour."

Notes

This painting is sometimes referenced as "Boys at Bass-Ball," but is now more commonly identified as "A Game of Base-Ball." William Henry Knight was a well-known English artist of the mid-19th century. His works often focused on children's play. He was born and raised in Newbury, Berkshire. The painting depicts five or six boys playing ball on a village street. No bat is evident in the scene. The painting's current whereabouts are unknown. (See also article in The Reading Mercury, Nov. 3, 1855, p. 4)

Sources

"The Art-Journal," June, 1, 1854, London, p. 163

English Baseball in Berkshire on July 1 1854

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 1, 1854
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base-ball” was played at an outing of about 100 impoverished school children and their teachers from the Union Workhouse of Newbury, Berkshire. A newspaper reported “they were most hospitably entertained by the respected chairman of the Board of Guardians on the lawn of Shaw House, where piles of plum cake and other good things were speedily demolished, after which various sports were introduced, viz., cricket, trap bat, base-ball, kite flying, racing, &c., till night-fall came, when the national anthem being sung, and vociferous cheers given, the juveniles marched off, gratified for that benevolence which had not overlooked the orphan and destitute.”

Sources

Reading Mercury, July 1, 1854, p. 4

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on July 14 1855

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 14, 1855
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

A newspaper reported "base ball" being played at an outing of children from the National and Infant School of Taplow, Buckinghamshire, to nearby "Burnham Beeches": "The children after enjoying themselves for several hours, the boys with cricket, foot ball, &c., and the girls with base ball, trap bat and swings, returned at 9 o'clock under the care of their much respected master and mistress, singing as they came into the village, "God save the Queen."

Sources

Reading Mercury, July 14, 1855, p. 5

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 18 1855

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 18, 1855
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base ball” was announced as one of the amusements that would be offered at an upcoming rural fete to raise funds for the Slough (Buckinghamshire) Literary and Mechanics Institute, to be held on the grounds of Stoke Park. A newspaper reported that “the grounds would be thrown open at noon, and amusements, consisting of Archery, Cricket, Quoits, Trap and Base Ball, Rural Dancing, &c., will commence at One o'clock.” One week later, a second newspaper reported on the event itself, mentioning that all of the above amusements were part of the day's enjoyment, adding that they “presented an interesting picture of old English sports.”

Notes

This fundraiser for the Slough institute was an annual affair, and newspaper reports describing the event in subsequent years often named baseball as one of the activities.

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, Aug. 18, 1855, p. 1; West Middlesex Herald, Aug. 25, 1855, p. 15

English Baseball in London in 1856

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1856
Location London
Data

"Baseball" was mentioned in a book-length anonymous poem entitled Darby and Joan: "Joan. Oh, slur not our men, Darby, I would not in joke, A runaway Briton's a bottle of smoke; They'll run at the fire, and dash from the keel, They'll spring up the rigging, and struggle with steel; They'll pant with exertion at cricket or fame, They'll hasten to die for a glorious name; They'll dash on the housetop, or down in the flood, Go through fire or water to serve flesh and blood. But runaway ne'er, unless 'tis in fun, When at baseball we play, and after them run."

Notes

According to Wikipedia, "Darby and Joan" is a proverbial phrase for a married couple content to live a quiet shared life. The paired names have appeared many times in English and American literature, dating back at least to 1735.

Sources

Darby and Joan, A poem, Part I, by Euphony, London, 1856, Saunders and Otley, p. 29

English Baseball in London on March 28 1856

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, March 28, 1856
Location London
Data

A game called “bat-ball base” was referenced in an angry letter written by a factory owner to the editor of a London newspaper complaining that the police were not cracking down on youngsters playing games on the street in front of his business. “...a considerable army of young gentlemen are, during the whole day, disporting themselves after the manner of our English youth, in flying kites, to the terror of all horses on the road, in playing at bat-ball base, the chief enjoyment of which appears to consist in sending a hard wooden ball into the face of every stray passenger they can hit...”

Notes

It is possible that “bat-ball base” may refer to trap-ball, rather than baseball, because of the mention of a bat and because the ball is described as being hard and made of wood.

Sources

Morning Advertiser (London), Mar. 28, 1856, p. 5

English Baseball in Suffolk on June 4 1856

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, June 4, 1856
Location Suffolk
Data

“Base ball” was one of the game played by teachers and older students of the Wesleyan Sabbath School of coastal town of Lowestoft, Suffolk, on an outing held to celebrate the conclusion of the Crimean War. According to a newspaper account, “After cricket, base ball, &c., and other juvenile games had been carried on for some time with high glee and great spirit, the party proceeded along Whapload way to a yard at the back of Mr. Tuttle's residence. Several pieces of music were then sung and a short and appropriate address on 'The Peace' was delivered by the superintendent.”

Sources

Norwich Mercury, June 4, 1856, p. 3

English Baseball in East Sussex on June 6 1856

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, June 6, 1856
Location East Sussex
Data

A newspaper described that ”ball-bias” (base-ball) was played as part of a huge festival staged in Hastings, East Sussex, celebrating the end of the Crimean War: "There were scrambling for nuts, marbles, &c., and racing amongst the girls as well as boys for toys, footballs were bounding all over the hill, blindman's buff engaged one circle, and drop-handkerchief excited some interest in others, while ball-bias (see note) and other games engaged the attention of the rest."

Sources

Hastings and St Leonards News, June 6, 1856, p. 3

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on July 12 1856

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 12, 1856
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base-ball” was again one of the activities offered to those attending the annual Grand Rural Fete held at Stoke Park in Slough, Buckinghamshire, as a fundraiser for the Literary and Scientific Institute of that city. According to a newspaper report: “On arriving in the grounds the party deployed into sections, each taking the portion of the park allotted, whee some betook themselves to cricket, some to archery, base-ball, and other amusements.” A display advertisement promoting this event, and announcing that baseball would be played at it, appeared in the same newspaper a week earlier.

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, July 12, 1856, p. 3

English Baseball in Surrey on August 16 1856

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 16, 1856
Location Surrey
Data

“Base ball” was one of the recreational offerings at a Fête Champetre consisting of a flower show, fancy fair, archery and other amusements that was held in the town of Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey. The event was well attended, despite a rain shower, and according to a newspaper: “Cricket, base ball, and other games, had their share of admirers.”

Sources

West Middlesex Herald, Aug. 16, 1856, p. 8

English Baseball in London/Hampshire on February 1 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Sunday, February 1, 1857
Location London/Hampshire
Data

The game of "bass ball" was mentioned in the second chapter of a long story entitled "My Three Aunts; or, Lowminster" that was serialized in a monthly church youth publication: "I think the thing which made me most uncomfortable at first, was not being able to play at their games. I could get on with my lessons, but it was very sad to stand out alone and watch them amusing themselves. Bass Ball, Thread my Needle, Ladies' Toilet, and many others, of which I have forgotten the names, were great favourites with the girls, and as soon as I learnt how to play them, I was as fond of them as anybody."

Notes

The person speaking this dialog was describing events that happened "a great many years ago." The story appears to be set in Hampshire, near Upham.

Sources

"My Three Aunts; or, Lowminster," Chapter II, appearing in "The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Younger Members of the English Church," London, Feb. 1, 1857, p. 168

English Baseball in West Sussex on April 18 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, April 18, 1857
Location West Sussex
Data

“Base ball” was played at a large gathering of “the teetotallers” held in and near the village of Washington in West Sussex. According to a newspaper report, after attending church they proceeded to the nearby Highden Clump, “where nearly 200 met and enjoyed a dance on the green sward; others amused themselves at cricket and base ball.”

Sources

Sussex Agricultural Express, April 18, 1857, p. 5

English Baseball in Bedfordshire on July 11 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 11, 1857
Location Bedfordshire
Data

"Base ball" was one of several games mentioned in a newspaper account of an outing by members and friends of the Luton (Bedfordshire) Harmonic Society: "About one hundred of the members and their friends in holiday trim engaged in various pic-nic recreations. Quoits and cricket in one part of the field, and base ball, thread-the-needle and the like in another for a time divided the attention of the company."

Sources

Luton Times and Advertiser, July 11, 1857, p. 5

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on July 11 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 11, 1857
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base-ball” was, once again, among the amusements made available for the crowds of people in Stoke Park attending the annual rural fete benefitting the Literary and Scientific Institute of Slough, Buckinghamshire. A newspaper reported that “the sports, in addition to the music and dancing, included cricket, archery, quoits, trap-ball, base-ball, together with, for a miscellaneous company, that rather questionable amusement—kiss in the ring.”

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, July 11, 1857, p. 3

English Baseball in Hampshire on July 11 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 11, 1857
Location Hampshire
Data

“Base ball” was among the amusements enjoyed by attendees at the annual Rural Fête of the Mechanics' Institution of Basingstoke, Hampshire, held at Malshanger Park in the nearby village of Oakley. According to a newspaper, a large contingent of people traveled by train and road to the festival site. “On their arrival the party soon spread themselves far and wide in wandering through and admiring the beautiful and picturesque grounds and gardens, which were unreservedly thrown open to them, while many engaged in various rational amusements, such as cricket, foot-ball, base ball, trap-ball, bowls, quoits, &c. &c. much to the gratification of both players and spectators.”

Sources

Hampshire Chronicle, July 11, 1857, p. 4

English Baseball in Berkshire on July 25 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 25, 1857
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base ball” was mentioned in a letter written to the editor of the local newspaper in Windsor, Berkshire, by a member of the Windsor and Eton Mechanics' Institution wondering why that organization couldn't stage a fundraising fete similar to the annual fete held to benefit a similar institution in the neighboring city of Slough. Within the body of his long letter, the correspondent noted that “there need be no lack of amusements. For music we have at least equal facilities with neighbouring places. Dancing (not however to the exclusion of other amusements and other music), recitations, songs, even a speech or two (if not dry), trap and base ball, and dozens of ways of passing a pleasant afternoon will suggest themselves to every one.”

Notes

Apparently this letter was very persuasive, because the suggested fete was organized and held within a month's time (see entry below).

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, July 25, 1857, p. 4

English Baseball in Berkshire on August 22 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 22, 1857
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base-ball” was, indeed, played at the first “Fête Champêtre” held by members and friends of the Windsor and Eton Literary, Scientific and Mechanics Institution on the grounds of St. Leonard's. The local newspaper reported that “in addition to cricket, a variety of other amusements had been provided by the committee, with the view of meeting the various tastes of the assemblage. Scattered in groups over the ground might be seen numerous devotees of other pastimes. Among which may be enumerated archery, quoits, trap-bat, base-ball, &c.”

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, Aug. 22, 1857, p. 4

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 29 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 29, 1857
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

A newspaper reported that "bass ball" was played at an afternoon outing of more than 100 citizens and tradesmen of the town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire: "Cricketing commenced at about one o'clock, and from that time to the close of the day continued with little intermission. There were also several games, such as bat-and-trap, and bass ball, which occupied the attention of the majority of the ladies during the afternoon."

Sources

Bucks Herald, Aug. 29, 1857, p. 6

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 29 1857 (2)

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 29, 1857
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base” was among the pastimes played alongside cricket at the autumnal festival of the Chalvey and Slough Temperance Society held at Chalvey in Buckinghamshire. The main feature of the festival was a cricket match between 11 members of the society and 11 members of the Slough Mechanics' Institution Cricket Club. According to a newspaper, “during the progress of the match, the company were variously engaged at trap, base and foot-ball, &c., the larger number, however, preferring to be spectators of the match.”

Notes

Chalvey was within Buckinghamshire in 1857, but was transferred to Berkshire in 1974.

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, Aug. 29, 1857, p. 3

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on September 5 1857

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, September 5, 1857
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Bass-ball” was one of the sports enjoyed by a group of 150 adult music lovers at a picnic in Chesham, a Chiltern Hills market town in Buckinghamshire. The unusual event first offered a round of sports and games for the attendees. This was followed by a tea and then by several choruses of Handel's Messiah. A newspaper noted that “In addition to the usual sports upon such occasions, such as cricket, bass-ball, &c., vocal and instrumental music was in requisition.”

Sources

Bucks Chronicle and Bucks Gazetter, Sept. 5, 1857, p. 2

English Baseball in Kent on May 4 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, May 4, 1858
Location Kent
Data

“Baste ball” was one of the amusements to be offered at the upcoming “grand picnic party” for members of the New Brompton and Gillingham (Kent) Reading and Lecture Room Society, according to a newspaper announcement. The article mentioned that the event was to be held on the spacious grounds of an inn in the nearby town of Sittingbourne, adding that “cricket, baste ball, a concert, and dancing on the green, with other sports of a rustic character will form part of the day's amusements.”

Sources

Kentish Gazette (Canterbury), May 4, 1858, p. 6

English Baseball in Norfolk on June 19 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 19, 1858
Location Norfolk
Data

“Base” was included among a list of “olden time” games in a Norwich, Norfolk, newspaper commentary that appears to belittle the current sports played by boys when compared to sports of old. The writer's precise meaning is a little obscure due to his use of the term “æsthenic.” He wrote: “A little go of sports had been got up by the little boys of the present day, in a meadow near the Ferry, which, as far as they went, showed a certain amount of agility and strength. Such play has been honoured by the fine name of 'æsthenic,' but is as far from the athletic sports of olden time as base, cricket, bandy, and camp, and the jumping, where broken shins, and sometimes broken heads and arms were got, and where determined energy of character, and vigorous activity of muscle, were brought into play unfettered, as the amusements of an age of hardihood can differ from an age of words. 'Æsthenics' were not then invented, but nature found the strength and the power, and boyhood the energy and the spirit, which has continued to maintain the glory of England in India, and in the Crimea, and on the broad blue ocean, under a less sounding title than æsthenic.”

Notes

There is a possibility that “base” in this instance could be prisoner's base, but that game had faded in popularity by the 1850s whereas baseball, by comparison, had become well established in East Anglia. I also note that the author referred to the game of camp-ball by the single word “camp.” The author's use of “æsthenic” is a bit confusing. It is not in the dictionary. The word “asthenic” means “weak” but it seems what the writer probably had in mind was the word “sthenic” which means “tending to produce vital energy.”

Sources

Norwich Mercury, June 19, 1858, p. 6

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on June 26 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 26, 1858
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

"Base-ball" was again listed as one of the offered activities at the annual Grand Rural Fete of the Slough (Buckinghamshire) Mechanics', Literary, & Scientific Institution, to be held at Stoke Park. The newspaper announcement specified that: "Amusements, consisting of Archery, Cricket, Quoits, Trap and Base Ball, Dancing, &c., will commence at Twelve and terminate at Half-past Seven o'clock." A subsequent article reporting on the fête two weeks later, on July 10, 1858, confirmed that the game had been played. It read: “On arriving in the grounds, the visitors deployed into various sections, some betaking themselves to cricket, some to archery, quoits, base ball, kiss in the ring, swings, or other amusements.”

Notes

Slough, too, was formerly part of Buckinghamshire, but is now part of Berkshire.

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, June 26, 1858, p. 4

English Baseball in Hampshire on July 3 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 3, 1858
Location Hampshire
Data

“Base-ball” was played at the annual rural fete of the Mechanics' Institute of Basingstoke, Hampshire, held on the grounds of Oakley Hall, a manor house in the nearby countryside. A newspaper described how “the grounds were gaily decked with flags of all colours and nations, which had a very striking and cheering effect. The party were soon seen dispersing themselves among the inviting and beautiful walks with which the park abounds, and which excited universal admiration. Cricket, bowls, quoits, base-ball, and other rational amusements were included in the programme of the day's proceedings, and were heartily engaged in and enjoyed by a large portion of those present.”

Notes

Oakley Hall, the site of this event, was built in 1795 by the Branston family. Jane Austen became close friends with the Branstons and visited them often when she was living with her parents at the rectory in Steventon, only three miles away

Sources

Hampshire Chronicle, July 3, 1858, p. 5

English Baseball in Kent on July 27 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, July 27, 1858
Location Kent
Data

“Base ball” was among the games enjoyed by children attending the National School Fĕte of the village of Minster-in-Thanet located in the northeast corner of Kent. A newspaper reported that the children, joined by their teachers, were first treated to a tea. “After tea the company repaired to the abbey green and grounds, and the children engaged in cricket, base ball, trap ball, scrambling for fruit, &c. The villagers, in their holiday garb, took part in the amusements, and nothing occurred to mar the pleasures of the gathering.”

Sources

South Eastern Gazette (Maidstone), July 27, 1858, p. 5

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 7 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 7, 1858
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

A newspaper announced that "base ball" would be one of the amusements planned for "The Annual Fete Champetre" of the Windsor and Eton Literary, Scientific, and Mechanics' Institution to be held August 17th on private land near the village of St. Leonard's in Buckinghamshire, all in celebration of the birthday of Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent. The announcement stated that the event would offer many different forms of music and entertainment, and added: "The amusements will consist of Dancing, Archery, Cricket, Quoits, Foot, Trap, and Base Ball, &c."

Notes

This was to be a major event requiring a paid admission plus additional charges for refreshments and transportation from Windsor. A number of newspapers covered the actual event, and all of those reports mentioned base-ball.

Sources

Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette, Newbury Herald, and Berks County Paper, Aug. 7, 1858, p.6

English Baseball in Surrey on August 21 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 21, 1858
Location Surrey
Data

“Base ball” was one of the games offered to youngsters attending the Annual Festival held in connection with the day and Sunday schools of the district of St. Paul's, Addlestone, in Surrey, along with schools in the neighboring town of Chertsey. A newspaper reported that “on arriving at the rendezvous a profusion of attractive amusements were presented, such as foot ball, trap and base ball, cricket, racing for prizes, etc.”

Sources

West Middlesex Herald, Aug. 21, 1858, p. 8

English Baseball in Berkshire on September 11 1858

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, September 11, 1858
Location Berkshire
Data

A newspaper reported that “base-ball” was one of several amusements enjoyed at the Bray-wick Rural Fete, an annual gathering in the Berkshire village of Bray-wick, just outside of Maidenhead, that provided “entertainment to the children of the Holyport Boys' School, the Bray-wick Girls' National School, the children and old people connected with the Cookham Union, as well as the inmates of the Asylum at Bray.” While a cricket match was going on in one field, “other portions of the assemblage were scattered over various parts of the ground, engaged with games such as base-ball, trap-ball, foot-ball, swings, kiss-in-the-ring, &c., &c.”

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, Sept. 11, 1858, p. 3

English Baseball in London in 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1859
Location London
Data

A passing mention to "bass-ball" appears in a three-volume Victorian novel that depicted itself as the "autobiography" of a young woman. Characterizing herself as a child as having been very attuned to the thoughts and feelings of all around her, the subject of the novel explained: "...I was then, and had long been, more qualified to 'pick up' precise information from an unguarded look, or a broken sentence, than many a girl of seventeen, who had spent her time in jumping over daisy chains and playing at bass-ball with others."

Sources

The Lees of Blendon Hall, an Autobiography, by the author of "Alice Wentworth" (Noelle Radecliffe), London, 1859, Hurst and Blackett, Vol. I, p. 131

English Baseball in London on January 22 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, January 22, 1859
Location London
Data

A casual reference to “base-ball” appeared in a brief article in a sporting journal about a horse named “Poodle.” In describing the horse's qualities and justifying the high price paid for it, the writer stated that “this horse's own brother Pelion, is one of the finest animals in the kingdom; he has enormous limbs, a back broad enough to play at base-ball upon, and was a capital runner.”

Notes

Given the early date, it is almost certain that the game referred to was English baseball.

Sources

The Review, the Country Gentleman's Journal, London, Jan. 22, 1859, p. 475

English Baseball in Hampshire on April 30 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, April 30, 1859
Location Hampshire
Data

A newspaper reported that “base ball” was among the amusements enjoyed during the Easter holidays by merrymakers who had ventured to the town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight: “Good Friday was beautifully fine, and the Recreation Field was well thronged by lads and lasses at their favorite amusement--'trap' which includes cricket, base ball, kiss-in-the-ring, &c., &c. These sports during the three days at Easter cause both high and low, rich and poor, to congregate and enjoy the Old English pastimes.”

Notes

It is not at all clear what the writer meant by stating that “trap” (presumably trap-ball) includes cricket, baseball and kiss-in-the-ring. Given that he put the word in quotes, it may have been his attempt at a pun, perhaps implying that the visitors were trapped by the fun of playing these games. Or not. In any case, he exhibited some democratic enthusiasm by stating that these “old English pastimes” were enjoyed by all levels of society.

Sources

Isle of Wight Observer, April 30, 1859, p. 3

English Baseball in Norfolk on July 2 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 2, 1859
Location Norfolk
Data

It was reported that "base" was among the games played at an annual treat of workers from a Norwich textile factory that was sponsored by their employer and held in the small village of Whitlingham, Norfolk: "…there, joined by members of the firm and their friends, the sports began in good earnest with rowing and running matches, jumping, quoits, base, trap and ball, and other out-door amusements, which in conjunction with fresh air and the delightful scenery of the neighbourhood, fully prepared them to do ample justice to a most splendid dinner..."

Notes

It is highly likely that "base" here refers to baseball, as prisoners base by this date was nearly always referred to by its full name, and because there was an established history of baseball being played in East Anglia.

Sources

Norfolk Chronicle, July 2, 1859, p. 5

English Baseball in Bedfordshire on July 9 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 9, 1859
Location Bedfordshire
Data

“Base ball” was among the sports enjoyed at the annual treat for children attending the Sabbath Schools of the Edward Street Tabernacle of Dunstable, Bedfordshire. According to a newspaper report, after traveling to the countryside to a spot in Dunstable Downs known as “The Beech Trees,” the students sat down for a tea. Following this, the teachers and other friends took tea themselves, “while the youngsters in the meantime were enjoying themselves at base ball, trap and bat, cricket, &c.”

Sources

Dunstable Chronicle and Advertiser for Beds, Bucks, and Herts, July 9, 1859, p. 4

English Baseball in Norfolk on July 13 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, July 13, 1859
Location Norfolk
Data

“Base” was again a featured game at an annual treat for workers from Norwich at an annual treat held in Whitlingham, Norfolk. This time the celebrants were employees of “Messrs. Clark and Hunter,” a company of upholsterers and carpet layers. According to a news report, “after dinner the men enjoyed themselves for a time at cricket, base &c.”

Sources

Norwich Mercury, July 13, 1859, p. 3

English Baseball in Hampshire on July 16 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 16, 1859
Location Hampshire
Data

A newspaper reported that “base-ball” was one of many games enjoyed at the rural fete of the Basingstoke (Hampshire) Mechanics' Institute held at nearby Hackwood Park. According to the paper, “during the afternoon various amusements were introduced, consisting of cricket, archery, bowls, lawn billiards, foot-ball, quoits, base-ball, and other innocent recreations, which were carried out with right good humour and unflagging spirit by old and young, who all appeared determined to devote the few hours provided for them to real enjoyment, free from the cares and toils of every-day life, and a most gratifying spectacle it was to see so many hundred happy faces and merry hearts, of both sexes and all ages, thus brought together to participate in the cheering and exhilarating pleasures which such social meetings, when properly conducted, are sure to afford, and which never could be experienced in greater variety or purity than on this occasion.”

Notes

Evidently, the writer of these words was so moved by what he/she witnessed that nothing less than this incredibly long sentence could convey his/her enthusiasm.

Sources

Hampshire Chronicle, July 16, 1859, p. 3

English Baseball in Berkshire on July 23 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 23, 1859
Location Berkshire
Data

"Base-ball" was among the pastimes enjoyed by Sunday school students, teachers and friends of the Independent Chapel of Maidenhead, Berkshire, at their anniversary outing. A newspaper reported that tea and cake were served to the children who then "went to their amusements. The teachers and friends then sat down to a similar repast," and "having been done to their refreshments, they repaired to different parts of the field to join the children in their innocent pastimes, consisting of trap bat, cricket, foot-ball, base-ball, &c."

Sources

Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette, Newbury Herald, and Berks County Paper, July 23, 1859, p. 5

English Baseball in West Sussex on August 2 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, August 2, 1859
Location West Sussex
Data

“Base-ball” was mentioned within a young man's diary entry describing a romantic outing with his future wife. The diarist was an 18-year-old medical student named John Henry Salter, then a resident of Arundel, West Sussex. He wrote: “Aug. 2. A boating party with myself as Captain. After dinner, archery, and cricket, then separation and a stroll. Laura and I found a beautiful sequested (sic) spot, and never did time pass more quickly and delightfully. She vowed she loved me—God knows I do her. She gave me a ring to wear for her sake when absent, and I will wear it too so long as I have a finger. After tea base-ball and bat-and-trap. After a bit the damp came on and it was time to pack up and be off.”

Notes

Though born and raised in West Sussex, Dr. Salter spent the last 70 of his 92 years in Essex. He was described as a “medical man, freemason, sportsman, sporting-dog breeder, and horticulturist.” He began keeping diaries at the age of eight and continued doing so without significant interruption until his final days. It is fortunate that they were transcribed and published in 1933, because his original, hand-written manuscripts were destroyed in a World War II bombing raid. Though being an avid cricketer, this entry indicates he was happy to engage in a social game of baseball when in mixed company.

Sources

Dr. Salter of Tolleshunt D'Arcy in the County of Essex, entry for Aug. 2, 1859, compiled by J. O. Thompson, London, 1933, John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd., p. 19

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire on August 13 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 13, 1859
Location Buckinghamshire, Berkshire
Data

"Base ball" was again to be played at a grand birthday celebration for the Duchess of Kent, this time her 73rd. A newspaper announced that the party would be held on the grounds of the Ankerwycke estate in Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire, near the spot where the Magna Carta was signed: "The Amusements will consist of Dancing, Archery, Cricket, Quoits, Trap-Bat and Ball, Foot and Base Ball, Swings, &c., 4-oared and Sculling Matches, and an entertainment under the direction of Mr. Nelson Lee, the caterer for the nobility's and Crystal Palace fetes."

Notes

Wraysbury was transferred to Berkshire in 1974.

Sources

Reading Mercury, Aug. 13, 1859, p. 5

English Baseball in Berkshire on December 31 1859

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, December 31, 1859
Location Berkshire
Data

The word “base-ball” appeared in a corny joke contained within a newspaper announcement of a recent ball that was held by the Windsor and Eton Mechanics' Institute in Berkshire. It began as follows: “A MECHANICS' BALL was announced to be held on Tuesday last as the Institute. As the wording of the announcement was somewhat unusual, some were doubting what kind of ball it was likely to be—whether a cricket-ball, or base-ball, or fives—mechanics have been so fond of strikes. It proved to be a foot ball, and right merrily was it set going, under the able conductorship of Mr. R. Creswell...”

Notes

Given the early date and the location, it was almost certainly English baseball that the jokester had in mind.

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, Dec. 31, 1859, p. 3