Block:English Baseball 1880s

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English Baseball 1880s (94 entries)

Contents

English Baseball in London on April 14 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, April 14, 1880
Location London
Data

The words "base ball" appeared among the lyrics of a song entitled "Polling" that were published in the London satirical magazine "Fun." The song expressed the complaints of the women of Mayfair at how their men's focus on the current election campaign was interfering with the balls and cotillons that comprised the local social season. The lines of the chorus (of "Mayfair Maids and Matrons") read as follows: "Polling, polling, Keep the base ball rolling, Never mind your sisters, nor your cousins, nor your aunts, So you 'stump' for, 'Split' or 'plump' for Candidates that mock you with their miserable vaunts."

Notes

It is unclear to me why the songwriter chose to invoke the term "base ball" in this context, although it is worth noting that elsewhere, his lyrics mention other sports, including lawn tennis, polo and cricket. The phrase -- "never mind your sisters, nor your cousins, nor your aunts" -- was an homage to a similar line in Gilbert and Sullivan's popular operetta HMS Pinafore, which had completed its initial run of 571 performances only two months prior to the publication of "Polling." The magazine "Fun" was a rival to the better known "Punch," appealing to a lower middle class audience as compared with Punch's upper class readership.

Sources

Fun (London), April, 14, 1880, p. 147

English Baseball in Essex on May 18 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, May 18, 1880
Location Essex
Data

“Baste-ball” was noted as one of the amusements enjoyed by large crowds of people from London's East End celebrating Whitsuntide in the Epping Forest of Essex. The author of a long piece in a London newspaper described how thousands of people deserted the East End to join public celebrations held in both the Epping Forest and Victoria Park, with the greatest number going to the former. There, he wrote, “In rings for kissing, at cricket and baste-ball, at racing and jumping, and here and there in courting, they amused themselves with an energy which spoke volumes for their contentment...”

Sources

The Daily Telegraph, May, 18, 1880, p. 2

English Baseball in Oxfordshire on May 21 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, May 21, 1880
Location Oxfordshire
Data

“Base-ball” was one of the amusements enjoyed by youngsters attending the annual treat of the Congregational Sunday School of Blackthorn, Oxfordshire. A newspaper reported that the children gathered in a field and played various games, after which they adjourned to the chapel for a tea. The, “after tea they returned to the field, where they again joined in the games, including cricket, base-ball, swings, &c., until eight o'clock.”

Sources

Bicester Herald, May 21, 1880, p. 8

English Baseball in Norfolk on June 5 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 5, 1880
Location Norfolk
Data

“Base-ball” was mentioned by a correspondent writing to a Norwich, Norfolk, newspaper in response to another letter published in the same paper which had complained strongly about children playing games in the streets. The second writer said that it was natural and proper for children to play, and citizens of the city should help make more playgrounds available for them. He added: “No one can blame children for wanting to play, even on Sunday, and unless their desires and the means of gratifying them are helped into a more healthy groove we shall still have the tip-cat, base-ball, &c., in the back streets and squares as much as ever.”

Sources

Eastern Daily Press (Norwich), June, 5, 1880, p. 3

English Baseball in London on June 21 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Monday, June 21, 1880
Location London
Data

The subject of “base ball” was raised in a Parliamentary debate over whether the playing of ballgames should be legalized in Hyde Park. One member, a Mr. Hopwood, “asked the First Commissioner of Works whether his attention has been called to the arrest and prosecution of a delinquent aged twelve years for the misdemeanour of playing at 'rounders' or 'base ball' in Hyde Park; and whether he would consider if it would not be for the public advantage that such games should be allowed in some part of the Park appropriated for the purpose?” A Mr. Adams responded to the effect that the boy arrested was 17 and not 12, and moreover he believed that Hyde Park was too heavily used by the public to permit ball play.

Notes

Use of the phrase “'rounders' or 'base ball'” could imply one of two possible intentions. The speaker might have been uncertain which of the sports the boy had been playing; or he mentioned both names because he thought the sport could be identified by either. In either case, it is unlikely he would have had American baseball in mind since it was not known to be played in London by children at such an early date.

Sources

Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Third Series, 43° & 44° Victoriæ, 1880, Vol. CCLIII, London, 1880, Cornelius Buck, PP. 428-429

English Baseball in Suffolk on July 31 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 31, 1880
Location Suffolk
Data

“Baste-ball” was named as one of the games played at the annual outing for young members of the Band of Hope of Framlingham, Suffolk, that was held in a park made available by J. Tetley, Esq. A newspaper reported that “The company having entered the park they formed into a half-circle and game three cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Tetley, in true juvenile fashion; after which they dispersed for games, including swinging, baste-ball, trap-ball, cricket, &c.”

Sources

Framlingham Weekly News, July 31, 1880, P. 4

English Baseball in Berkshire on August 7 1880

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 7, 1880
Location Berkshire
Data

"Base-ball" was played at the annual fete of the Newbury Temperance Society, Newbury, Berkshire: "A variety of games was provided, enjoyment being found in swings, cricket, archery, base-ball, &c."

Sources

Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette, Newbury Herald, and Berks County Paper, Aug. 7, 1880, p. 4

English Baseball in Suffolk on April 23 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, April 23, 1881
Location Suffolk
Data

"Baseball" was among the games enjoyed at an Easter Monday celebration in Southwold, Suffolk: "The common was the centre of attraction where the youth of all ages assembled, and baseball, cricket, football, and other merry games heartily entered into."

Sources

Ipswich Journal, April 23, 1881, p. 8

English Baseball in South Glamorgan on May 7 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, May 7, 1881
Location South Glamorgan
Data

“Baste ball” was played in Cardiff Gaol circa 1820 according to the first of a three-part series on the jail's history that appeared in two Cardiff newspapers. The writer, citing two prison documents made available to him by the current governor, described the relatively comfortable conditions for prisoners, primarily debtors under the administration of the former governor Charles Le Breton (or Lebreton). Beer, wine, and spirits were permitted if passed in from the outside, he wrote, and added: “For amusement during the day they were allowed in fine weather to play at baste ball, rounders, or other outdoor amusements, in the courtyard at the back of the prison. The new governor, Mr. Le Breton, found many irregularities which he endeavored to check, and on some occasions he considered it necessary to 'stop supplies' when the debtors would persist in playing 'baste' against his orders, or in refusing to to give up the ball when he demanded it.”

Notes

As of writing this I have not yet located the two original documents cited by the writer of this article. However, the article has a strong ring of authenticity to it, including an explanation of how he came to be given the documents by the current governor. Charles LeBreton administered Cardiff Gaol between the years 1819 and 1821. If the facts in this article are borne out by the original documents, it would be the earliest mention of baseball in Wales, and also the earliest mention of the word rounders anywhere.

Sources

Cardiff Times, May 7, 1881, p. 5, and South Wales Daily News, May 7, 1881, p. 2

English Baseball in Berkshire on June 2 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, June 2, 1881
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base ball” was named in a newspaper announcement of a bank holiday Whitsuntide event to be held in the village of Thatcham, Berkshire. It read: “BANK HOLIDAY, THATCHAM. On Whit-Monday a Temperance Demonstration will take place at Thatcham, commencing with a Cricket Match (between North Heath and the Thatcham Star Cricket Club), Base Ball, and other Sports on the Marsh.”

Sources

Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, June 2, 1881, p. 4

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on June 16 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, June 16, 1881
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of the amusements played at the annual treat for children of the Church of England Temperance Society, Juvenile Branch, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. According to a newspaper report, after a “sumptuous tea,” the girls went to a garden “where they enjoyed themselves much with bat-and-trap, croquet, and the usual games, while the boys adjourned to a meadow . . . and indulged in cricket, base ball, races, and other rustic sports.”

Sources

Banbury Guardian, June 16, 1881, p. 8

English Baseball in London on June 18 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 18, 1881
Location London
Data

The word “base-ball” was worked into a sermon given by a preacher commemorating the 17th anniversary of the Acton (West London) Baptist Sunday School. A newspaper account of his text included the following excerpt: “God might have filled the land with stinging nettles instead of beautiful flowers, and thus have caused people to say that it was a dreary wilderness, but He never intended people to be miserable, but merry and wise. Cricket, base-ball, and rowing were amusements that they might all enjoy consistent with Christian character.”

Sources

Acton Gazette, June 18, 1881, p. 6

English Baseball in Berkshire on July 21 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, July 21, 1881
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of the activities provided for children attending one of several Wesleyan Society Sunday Schools at an annual treat that was held in a park in the Berkshire village of Donnington. The schools represented societies from four villages surrounding the market town of Newbury: Chievley, Stockcross, Thatcham, and World's-end. A newspaper reported that “the children dispersed about the park, a marked rush being made upon the refreshment tent where ginger beer, ginger ale, lemonade, sweets, buscuits, &c., were dispensed, the more hardy ones however entering at once into cricket, swinging, base ball, and other games which had been provided.”

Sources

Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, July 21, 1881, p. 8

English Baseball in Bedfordshire on July 26 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, July 26, 1881
Location Bedfordshire
Data

“Base-ball” was among the amusements enjoyed at the Sunday school feast held for children and families of the village of Hockliffe, Bedfordshire. After a procession led by a brass band, the children went to the church for a small service, which was followed by an “excellent” tea, and then some game-playing. A newspaper reported that, following some further speeches, “the various games and amusements were then again indulged in, including cricket, swings, base-ball, bat-and-trap, races for prizes, and dancing to the strains of the band that played at intervals throughout the evening.”

Sources

Leighton Buzzard Observerer and Linslade Gazette (Bedfordshire), July 26, 1881, p. 5

English Baseball in Berkshire, Wiltshire on July 28 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, July 28, 1881
Location Berkshire, Wiltshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of the treats awaiting children of the Newbury (Berkshire) Primitive Methodist Sunday School on a special school excursion to Marlborough Forest at Savernake in Wiltshire, Britain's only privately-owned forest. A newspaper reported that, after traveling by train and wagon, “the forest was reached soon after ten; and an hour afterwards each child received a large bun and was supplied with lemon syrup. Cricket, swings, base ball, and other games were provided, and rambles were made to the mansion, the column, the ruins,, the king oak, and various green retreats and sylvan shades, for which the forest is well known.”

Sources

Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, July 28, 1881, p. 5

English Baseball in Berkshire on August 6 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 6, 1881
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base ball” was part of the fun for young members of several Band of Hope groups associated the Newbury Temperance Society at their annual fête held in a meadow at Donnington, Berkshire. A newspaper reported that “arrived at the meadow, various games such as archery, cricket, racing, base ball, &c. were freely indulged in, and at four o'clock the children were regaled with an excellent tea.”

Notes

Sources

Reading Observer, Aug. 6, 1881, p. 8

English Baseball in Suffolk on September 3 1881

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, September 3, 1881
Location Suffolk
Data

“Basteball” was identified as one of the games played at the annual treat of the Band of Hope of Framlingham, Suffolk. A local newspaper reported that “members of the society met and passed a fine afternoon in the park in the usual outdoor games of cricket, swinging, basteball, &c.”

Sources

Framlingham Weekly News, Sept. 3, 1881, p. 4

English Baseball in Dorset on April 28 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, April 28, 1882
Location Dorset
Data

"Baseball" was mentioned in a newspaper article eulogizing a recently deceased vicar of a church in the town of Gillingham, Dorset. The article praised the vicar for putting an end to desecrations of the Sabbath permitted by his predecessor: "Frequently, old people tell us on Sunday afternoons men would come down from other places and play baseball with men of this parish against the church tower. Happily, such scenes as that have passed away."

Sources

Western Gazette (Yeovil, Somerset), April 28, 1882, p. 8

English Baseball in Lincolnshire on July 7 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, July 7, 1882
Location Lincolnshire
Data

"Base-ball" was part of the celebration of the Wesleyan Sunday School anniversary in Winteringham, Lincolnshire: "Football, cricket, base-ball, and other sports of various kinds were kept up to a late hour."

Sources

Hull Packet, July 7, 1882, p. 7

English Baseball in London on August 2 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, August 2, 1882
Location London
Data

Boys playing “base-ball” was one of the complaints raised at a meeting of the Shoreditch Vestry, a neighborhood in the East End of London. According to newspaper coverage, a member representing the Hoxton district of Shoreditch decried the “hideous noises of the 'wretched Ranters and the ill-behaved Blue Ribbon people,' boys in the bye-streets playing at base-ball to the danger of females passing by, &c.”

Notes

The “Ranters” and “Blue Ribbon people” scorned by the complainant were members of evangelical Christian organizations who proselytized aggressively in the streets.

Sources

Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, Aug. 2, 1882, p. 3

English Baseball in Leicestershire on August 12 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 12, 1882
Location Leicestershire
Data

“Brace ball” was named in a newspaper article as one of the pastimes offered at a bank holiday gathering in Leicester: “Shortly after two o'clock in the afternoon a large number of persons assembled in Mr. Spencer's fields on the Burton-road, where games of various kinds were provided, such as cricket, quoits, brace ball (sic), swings, &c.”

Notes

Despite the unusual spelling, there is little doubt that the word “brace ball” is a reference to baseball. The same spelling showed up exactly one week later in the same newspaper, suggesting that a member of the staff was unfamiliar with the term and spelled it as he or she heard it. Given the setting, it seems likely that the game being played was English baseball, although it should be noted that Leicestershire was the only known location in England where clubs formed to play American-style baseball in the aftermath of the 1874 tour.

Sources

Leicester Chronicle, Aug. 12, 1882, p. 7

English Baseball in London/Surrey on August 12 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 12, 1882
Location London/Surrey
Data

“Base ball” was one of the amusements enjoyed by large numbers of bank holiday celebrants from the south London town of Croydon who ventured to rural areas in nearby Surrey. According to a local newspaper: “Picnic parties without number were dotted about these charming resorts, while, wherever suitable places were found, cricket, base ball, quoits, kiss-in-the-ring, and other games found plenty of votaries.”

Sources

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette, Aug. 12, 1882, p. 5

English Baseball in Leicestershire on August 19 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 19, 1882
Location Leicestershire
Data

“Brace ball” was again identified as one of games played at a large outdoor gathering in Leicester, this time at a well-attended Church of England Sunday School Festival: “On arriving at the grounds, games of various kinds were provided for the youngsters, such as cricket, football, swings, Punch and Judy, round-about horses, brace ball (sic), &c.”

Sources

Leicester Chronicle, Aug. 19, 1882, p. 6

English Baseball in Northampton on August 26 1882

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 26, 1882
Location Northampton
Data

A newspaper mentioned that a "base ball" contest had been scheduled as part of a swimming competition in Kettering, Northamptonshire: "It was announced that there would be a base ball competition, but this fell through, and the company appeared to be anxious to leave, as the rain, which had ceased for a time, came on again."

Notes

A rainout. Presumably, this "base ball" would have been played on water.

Sources

Northampton Mercury, Aug. 26, 1882, p. 7

English Baseball in Sussex in 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1883
Location Sussex
Data

“Brace-ball” was identified in a county archeological journal article as one of the traditional games played in Sussex on Easter Monday. The author, describing the folklore and customs associated with every holiday and feast day, wrote the following: “(Easter Monday.) Mr. Rolf tells me that skipping takes place on this day as on Good Friday, and this the second 'Long-Line Day' for the women, whilst the fishermen indulge in 'brace-ball' (base-ball).”

Notes

The author's parenthetical insertion of the word “base-ball” demonstrates that he intended to indicate that “brace-ball” was the traditional spelling of the game in Sussex.

Sources

“Sussex Folk-Lore and Customs Connected with the Seasons,” by Frederick Ernest Sawyer, appearing in “Sussex Archaeological Collections, Relating to the History and Antiquities of the County,” Vol. XXXII, 1883, Lewes, Sussex, p. 242

English Baseball in Yorkshire, London in 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1883
Location Yorkshire, London
Data

“Base-ball” was named in a novel as one of the games practiced by students on a playground adjoining a private school situated in rural Yorkshire in 1825. The author wrote: “The playground . . . was large, . . . it must have comprised a few acres, since though not actually set apart for the purpose, an adjoining field, known as the calf-garth, was in constant use for all special games, such as base-ball, chevy, shinty, or any sport requiring extra space.”

Notes

The author claimed this book was based upon his “personal experience” and that “although written in novel style” is “in the main . . .a relation of facts.” The game of “chevy” is a reference to “chevy chase,” a tag-like pastime that is related to prisoner's base.

Sources

Grumbleby Hall, Vol. I, by E. Lloyd, London, 1883, Remington & Co., p. 252

English Baseball in Northampton on July 7 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 7, 1883
Location Northampton
Data

A "base-ball" game on water was reported at another swimming event in Kettering, Northamptonshire: "There was also an 80 yds. race in clothes, and a base ball competition between members of the Kettering and Uppingham Swimming Clubs." And then: "The entertainment concluded with a base-ball competition, from which much amusement was derived, but as the sides were not clearly distinguishable, it was hard to tell which of the two gained the advantage."

Sources

Northampton Mercury, July 7, 1883, p. 7

English Baseball in Surrey on August 11 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 11, 1883
Location Surrey
Data

“Base ball” was among the entertainments enjoyed at a treat for the students of a private Sunday school called Burningfold Farm, the project of a saintly farming woman and located outside of the tiny village of Dunsfold, Surrey, just north of the Sussex border. A local newspaper reported that “All sorts of amusements were arranged to take place—such as stool-ball, trap-and-bat, base ball, &c.”

Sources

West Surrey Times (Guildford), Aug. 11, 1883, p. 5

English Baseball in Berkshire on August 16 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, August 16, 1883
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base ball” was again one of the activities provided for children attending an annual treat sponsored by several Newbury area schools that was held in a park in the Berkshire village of Donnington. A newspaper reported that arriving in the park “A few hymns were sung, and then the children dispersed to the games, which included cricket, aunt Sally, swings, base ball, &c.”

Sources

Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, Aug. 16, 1883, p. 5

English Baseball in London, Yorkshire on September 7 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, September 7, 1883
Location London, Yorkshire
Data

Londoners in the 17th century played "Base Ball" on Shrove Tuesday according to a newspaper article entitled "Old English Sports and Customs": "The games of 'Football' and 'Base Ball' in this day used to be played in the streets of London in the 17th century. Billet, or tip cat, was also a favourite game for this day, and in some parts of the North of England it is customary for the girls to occupy some part of the festival by the game of battledore and shuttlecock."

Notes

The suggestion of baseball in 17th-century London is an intriguing one, but there is no supporting evidence for the claim. The article was the second of a three-part series that was taken from a speech given by a local alderman to the blind members of the Hull Mutual Improvement Society.

Sources

Hull Packet and East Riding Times, Sept. 7, 1883, p. 6

English Baseball in Derbyshire on October 6 1883

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, October 6, 1883
Location Derbyshire
Data

"Base-ball" was cited in a newspaper discussion of the history of tennis: "Successive Kings, from Henry V down to the bluff Hal Tudor and the "Merry Monarch" made it [tennis] their favourite pastime, the two latter not being at all particular who occupied the opposite court so long as they were adepts. The game is known in France as 'paume' (being formerly played, like base-ball, with the palm of the hand instead of a racquet), and it was probably from our southeastern neighbors that we got our knowledge of it."

Notes

Of significance because it confirms that English baseball was played without a bat.

Sources

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, Oct. 6, 1883, p. 8

English Baseball in Cumbria on February 1 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, February 1, 1884
Location Cumbria
Data

“Base ball” was put forward as one of the pastimes cited in a lecture presented before the Working Men's Institute in Bowness-on-Windermere in England's Lake District (now Cumbria). The topic of the talk, given by Mr. J. W. Ballantyne, RM, of Edinburgh, was school hygiene and overstrain in education. Mr Ballantyne was a powerful advocate for the role of sports and games in education, saying “A school without a playground, a gymnasium or public park near, I look on as a garden without sunshine or a boat with one oar,” according to a newspaper report on his lecture. He disagreed with those educators calling for a return to classic Greek sports such as racing, wrestling, discus, etc., saying “such are very good in their way, but can never equal in excellence the games we have in vogue in our public schools. The training of the muscles, eyesight, will, and all the bodily functions in cricket, football, rackets, base ball, hare and hounds, &c., is unequalled by any stereotyped exercise in racing round a race course, or swinging rhythmically backwards and forwards on a bar for so many hours a day. No, our old games are manifestly superior to any such cut and dried exercise. Let all our old sports and pastimes be encouraged in schools.”

Notes

The lecturer was clearly referring to English baseball as he unlikely would be including American baseball among the “old games” or the “old sports and pastimes.”

Sources

Lakes Chronicle and Reporter, Feb. 1, 1884, p. 3

English Baseball in Hampshire on June 21 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 21, 1884
Location Hampshire
Data

"Base ball" was played at a "temperance fete" of the Little London Temperance Society in a meadow outside Pamber, Hampshire: "In other parts of the ground sports were held, including cricket and base ball."

Sources

Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette, Newbury Herald, and Berks County Paper, June 21, 1884, p. 4

English Baseball in East Sussex on July 5 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 5, 1884
Location East Sussex
Data

"Base-ball" was one of a number of amusements enjoyed at the "scholars' annual treat" of the Robertson Street Congregational Church Sunday School of Hastings, East Sussex, which consisted of a train excursion of hundreds of children to Rye, East Sussex: "The children were soon quite at home, and passed away the time in the manner usual to school treats. Boys indulged in cricket and black-rabbit, shot arrows with bows at distant targets, and kicked a football round the fields. Girls played at lawn tennis, shuttlecock, base-ball, double-tag, and kiss-in-the-ring, and other delightful amusements. Those who did not indulge roamed about the place and watched those who did."

Sources

Hastings and St Leonards Observer, July 5, 1884, p. 5

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on July 19 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 19, 1884
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base-ball” was one of entertainments offered to children attending the Parish Elementary and Sunday Schools of the villages of Burnham, East Burnham and Cippenham in southern Buckinghamshire at their annual treat held at Burnham Beeches, a large natural parkland. A newspaper reported that “the children, about 500 in number, quickly dispersed to the various games of their choice, some preferring a game of cricket, others base-ball, whilst some went for races. The teachers and friends meanwhile took rambles into many pretty spots.”

Notes

In more recent times, a number of popular movies were filmed in Burnham Beeches, including Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves; the Crying Game; First Knight; Goldfinger; the Princess Bride; and two of the Harry Potter films.

Sources

Windsor and Eton Express, July 19, 1884, p. 3

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on July 26 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 26, 1884
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Bass ball” was played along with other games at the annual summer treat for children of the Congregational Band of Hope of the town Buckinghamshire, held on a nearby estate. A newspaper reported that “the weather, though cloudy, was fine and pleasant, and from 2 o'clock till 4-30 various games including cricket, bass ball, captain, French tag, &c., were freely indulged in and thoroughly enjoyed.”

Sources

Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press, July 26, 1884, p. 4

English Baseball in East Sussex on July 26 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 26, 1884
Location East Sussex
Data

"Base-ball" was among the games played at the Silverhill Presbyterian Sunday School treat at a farm outside Silverhill (near Hastings), East Sussex: "Of course the usual games incidental to such affairs were indulged in by most of the little folks. Some were swinging under the trees, others playing base-ball, kiss-in-the-ring, and tag, whilst a few wandered down to the ponds and watched the fish disporting in the waters, or strolled about the farm buildings...The elder boys and many of the male teachers played matches of cricket, and indulged in other manly games."

Sources

Hastings and St Leonards Observer, July 26, 1884, p. 6

English Baseball in Oxfordshire on August 1 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, August 1, 1884
Location Oxfordshire
Data

It was noted that “base ball” was a primary activity for nearly 100 girls and young women who attended the annual treat of the Girls' Friendly Society of Bicester (Oxfordshire) Rural Deanery held in Middleton Park. A letter to the editor of a local newspaper expanded upon the paper's brief notice of the event, and mentioned, among other things, that a storm had temporarily halted activities, adding “the rain having passed over for a time, swings and base ball became the order of the day till about six o'clock.”

Sources

Bicester Herald, Aug. 1, 1884, p. 7

English Baseball in Norfolk on August 2 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 2, 1884
Location Norfolk
Data

“Base ball” was one of the games enjoyed at the annual treat for students of the Church Sunday School of Gorleston-on-Sea, a community on the Norfolk coast near Great Yarmouth. A newspaper reported that “Before and after an ample tea the children indulged to the full in cricket, base ball, swings, &c., until the shades of evening, and before separating hearty cheers were given for all those who had so generously contributed to the happiness of the young folks.”

Sources

Norwich Mercury, Aug. 2, 1884, p. 6

English Baseball in Norfolk on August 2 1884 (2)

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 2, 1884
Location Norfolk
Data

On the same date as above, the same newspaper reported that “baseball” was played at a treat held for Sunday School students of the Poringland parish, Poringland being a small village just south of Norwich. The article stated that “before and after tea they had some capital foot races and also some good donkey races. After doing full justice to the refreshments provided, they again indulged to the full in cricket, baseball, jumping in sacks, flat racing, hurdle racing, throwing the cricket ball, swings, see saw, &c.”

Sources

Norwich Mercury, Aug. 2, 1884, p. 9

English Baseball in Berkshire on August 7 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, August 7, 1884
Location Berkshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of the amusements provided for juveniles associated with one of the local Band of Hope contingents participating in the annual fete of Newbury Temperance Society. A newspaper reported that the 600 persons in attendance first proceeded to the fete grounds, and that “here a variety of sports was provided, including swings for both juveniles and adults, cricket, base ball, cocoa nuts, archery, bran pie, &c.”

Notes

“Cocoa nuts” involved throwing stones or other objects at cocoanuts on sticks, a game similar to Aunt Sally. “Bran pie” was a game involving tubs full of bran in which simple presents or sweets were hidden.

Sources

Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, Aug. 17, 1884, p. 5

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 9 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 9, 1884
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

"Base ball" was played at the annual holiday outing of the Church-workers and teachers of St. Mary's Church of Chesham, Bucks: "The two boats on the lake were utilised most of the time, and there were games such as cricket, base ball, and other out-of-door sports."

Sources

Bucks Herald, Aug. 9, 1884, p. 5

English Baseball in Hampshire/Wiltshire on August 16 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 16, 1884
Location Hampshire/Wiltshire
Data

A newspaper reported that “base-ball” was one of the ways that militiamen of the Second Wilts Volunteers entertained themselves while training with regular army troops at the major military encampment at Aldershot in Hampshire. An article entitled “The Second Wilts Volunteers at Camp” detailed the daily schedule of the visiting soldiers, noting that “in the evening, the men being at liberty, amused themselves with cricket, quoits, base-ball, &c.”

Sources

Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle, Aug.14, 1884, p. 8

English Baseball in Suffolk on August 26 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, August 26, 1884
Location Suffolk
Data

A newspaper column called "Town and Country Gossip" mentioned "base-ball" in the course of listing all of the former playgrounds and ball fields for children that were no longer available for use in the vicinity of Ipswich, Suffolk, and making an argument that the local authorities make new ones available: "As for the Racecourse, that best of all playgrounds, who does not remember the summer evenings when cricket, base-ball, 'hunt-the-hare,' and football, without its 'scrimmages,' 'touch downs,' &c., were favourite games on both sides of the course, and where literally hundreds of children of both sexes were engaged in joyous play unmolested?"

Sources

Ipswich Journal, Aug. 26, 1884, p. 2

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on September 12 1884

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, September 12, 1884
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of several games, including rounders, that were enjoyed by some 460 children of the Buckingham (Buckinghamshire) National Schools at their annual treat and holiday, held in a nearby meadow. After a church service, according to a newspaper report, “the joyous juveniles made their way to the meadows and, in about as little time as it takes to place the fact on record, the children commenced to amuse themselves in a selection of games, including cricket, trap and base ball, rounders, &c., while the merry-go-round of horses and carriages . . . specially engaged for the day, tickled the fancies, and caused the eyes of hundreds of youngsters to sparkle with pleasure.”

Sources

Bicester Herald (Oxfordshire), Sept. 12, 1884

English Baseball in Liverpool on June 16 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, June 16, 1885
Location Liverpool
Data

"Baseball" was played by members of the Liverpool Association of Science and Art at their first meeting of the summer season which was devoted to an outing in the countryside near Birkenhead: "After returning from a ramble along the Dee side a very substantial repast was provided. An adjournment to the lawn followed, where several games of old English sport rapidly and cheerily succeeded each other, the ladies proving the victors in the game of baseball..."

Sources

Liverpool Mercury, June 16, 1885, p. 6

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on June 20 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 20, 1885
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Bass-ball” was among the amusements offered to attendees of the United Temperance Pic-nic, an event organized for the various temperance and Band of Hope societies in the Aylesbury Vale district of Bucks, and that was held in Claydon Park near the town of Winslow. A newspaper reported that “after the refreshments, the company dispersed about the Park. There was no restriction. Some proceeded to the lakes, and with a rod and line baited for fish, others . . . pitched wickets and enjoyed a game at cricket, others played quoits, bass-ball, and other sports, indeed it may be imagined with the large company the amusements were of endless variety.”

Notes

Claydon Park comprised the grounds of Claydon House, a grand country house that was then occupied by the sister of Florence Nightengale, who often stayed there herself.

Sources

Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press, June 20, 1885, p. 4

English Baseball in Birmingham on July 10 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, July 10, 1885
Location Birmingham
Data

"Base-ball" was mentioned in a novelized account of the life of Birmingham historian William Hutton. Prior to publication, the novel was serialized in several Midlands newspapers. In chapter XXXII, an apprentice in Hutton's book warehouse was trying, unsuccessfully, to convince a co-worker that, despite his low wages, he was in a good situation: "I am better off than other 'prentices in the High Town. If I do work hard, so doth master. I am neither starved nor beaten, and I have good clothes." His friend replied: "And never a shilling to spare for a cock fight, or a dance? Never an hour for a game of base-ball, or bowls, or nines?

Notes

The novel was also serialized in the Birmingham Weekly Post. In the second half of 1885 it was published in two-volumes by F.V. White, London, with the baseball reference appearing in Vol. II, p. 209. Of note is that William Hutton, the real-life subject of this novel, lived and worked in the 18th century, with the scene mentioning baseball likely taking place in the 1750's or 1760's. There is no mention of baseball in William Hutton's actual autobiography.

Sources

In His Own Hand by Mrs. G. Linnaeus Banks (Isabella Varley), as serialized in the Nottinghamshire Guardian, July 10, 1885, p. 11

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 8 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 8, 1885
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Bass-ball” was among the pastimes enjoyed by teachers and students of the Wesleyan Sunday School of the town of Buckinghamshire at their annual treat held in a nearby field. According a newspaper report, “the scholars met at the Schoolroom about half-past 1 o'clock, and marched in procession through the town to the field, where various games, including cricket, bass-ball, races, swings, &c., were indulged in by the children till 4 o'clock, at which time they all sat down to tea.”

Sources

Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press, Aug. 8, 1885, p. 4

English Baseball in Suffolk on August 11 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, August 11, 1885
Location Suffolk
Data

A report that "base-ball" was enjoyed at the annual summer treat of the Band of Hope in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where 100 children played various games and sports before being served tea: "After the tea swinging, cricket, base-ball, and other pastimes were again indulged in till eight p.m."

Sources

Ipswich Journal, Aug. 11, 1885, p. 2

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 22 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 22, 1885
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

"Base-ball" was among the games played at the annual treat given to the Middle, Steeple, and East-cum-Botolph Claydon day and Sunday school scholars in Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire: "The scholars, numbering about 250, met at the lodges and marched to the lawn, where various games including football, cricket, base-ball, swings, races, rowing on the lake, &c., were indulged in till about half-past four o'clock, when the children sat down to tea on the lawn. The repast being finished, the games resumed."

Sources

Bucks Herald, Aug. 22, 1885, p. 5

English Baseball in Monmouthshire on August 28 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, August 28, 1885
Location Monmouthshire
Data

An historic reference to “base ball” appeared in a newspaper report of a field outing by members of the Cambrian Archaeological Association to Monmouth in Wales. Upon visiting St. Thomas church, the vicar pointed out the hagioscope at the side of the chancel arch, “and mentioned that some years since the street front of the building, now showing a beautifully-restored late Norman doorway, consisted of a blank wall, which served as the goal for players of base ball.”

Notes

In January, 1886, a similar reference to the former use of the church wall for baseball appeared in a scholarly article in the Journal of the Cambrian Archæological Association. See below.

Sources

South Wales Daily News (Cardiff), Aug. 28, 1885, p. 4

English Baseball in Suffolk on August 29 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 29, 1885
Location Suffolk
Data

"Baseball" was played at the annual treat for the students of Middleton Church Sunday School in the small village of Middleton, Suffolk: "The scholars and their parents had tea on the lawn, the choir and congregation in the Rectory dining room. After tea cricket, baseball, racing, &c., were indulged in until dusk, when the Rector gave each child a present..."

Sources

Ipswich Journal, Aug. 29, 1885, p. 5

English Baseball in Herts on September 19 1885

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, September 19, 1885
Location Herts
Data

“Base ball” was mentioned in an article entitled “Great Tournaments or The Chivalry of the Olden Times” that appeared in a newspaper for boys, and delved into the history of a medieval castle in Hertfordshire: “Time has worked marvellous (sic) changes in the castle of Berkhamsted. In the courtyard where knights and nobles mounted on horses used to battle, the grammar-school boys play at base ball, and toddling youngsters make daisy chains under the peaceful sunny skies of spring time.”

Sources

The Boy's Leisure Hour, London, Sept. 19, 1885 p. 76

English Baseball in Monmouthshire in 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1886
Location Monmouthshire
Data

Prior to 1830, “base-ball” had been played against one wall of the ancient church of St. Thomas located in the village of Over-Monnow in Monmouthshire, Wales, according to an article in a Welsh archeological journal: “The west door is quite modern, having been first erected in 1830. Old people tell me that they remember the church, with simply a blank west end wall which served for the purposes of the game of base-ball.”

Notes

Baseball played against a wall is unusual.

Sources

“Notes on the History of Monmouthshire,” appearing in “Archæologia Cambrensis, the Journal of the Cambrian Archæological Association,” Jan., 1886, p. 41

English Baseball in Devonshire on February 26 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, February 26, 1886
Location Devonshire
Data

"Base-ball" was listed in a serialized newspaper glossary of local words entitled "Provincial Words and Expressions Current in Devonshire": "Base-ball -- A game at ball, usually played against the wall of a building."

Notes

Like the above entry, this is unusual both in its description of baseball as an against-the-wall game and in its placement of English baseball so far to the west.

Sources

Western Times (Exeter), Feb. 26, 1886

English Baseball in Hampshire on May 8 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, May 8, 1886
Location Hampshire
Data

A "base ball" crime was reported in the Southsea holiday area of Portsmouth, Hampshire: "Base Ball in the Streets -- Thomas Willis, 15, Robert Cole, 17, William Cole, 14, George Blundell, 16, Henry Coughlin, 15, and Richard John Stanfield, 14, were summoned for playing base ball in Gloucester-street, Southsea, on April 24th.--Constable Carpenter proved the case, and said the defendants Cole had previously been complained of, but not the others.--The Coles were each fined 2s. The others were discharged with a caution."

Notes

The likelihood is that this was English baseball, not American.

Sources

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, May 8, 1886, p. 6

English Baseball in Hampshire on May 13 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, May 13, 1886
Location Hampshire
Data

Another crackdown on "base ball" was reported, this time in the Fratton area of Portsmouth, Hampshire: "Games in the Street.--George Lean, William Vesey and John Baker, youths, were summoned for playing base ball in Manor-road, Fratton, on the 6th inst., to the annoyance of the residents and passengers.--There had been many complaints of the bad language and misconduct of the youths at the spot named, and two detectives were told off by the Chief Constable, and had ascertained the truth of the complaints.--The defendants were warned, and as Lean did not appear he was fined 2s.; the other two were each fined 1s."

Notes

A regular crime wave.

Sources

Portsmouth Evening News, May 13, 1886, p. 3

English Baseball in Cornwall on June 17 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, June 17, 1886
Location Cornwall
Data

“Base-ball” was a popular game in Jacobean times according to a Penzance, Cornwall, newspaper article entitled “Whitsuntide Amusements.” The writer began with the claim that “when King James I ascended the throne, he encouraged the people in their Whitsun customs, including the drinking of the celebrated Whitsun ales, of which we have heard so much and know so little.” He then alleged that “outdoor amusements naturally predominated, and we read of gay picnic parties, and rude musical gatherings and games of every kind of sport were freely indulged, one of the most popular being base-ball.”

Notes

While the writer's claim is improbable, it is interesting that of all the games he could have chosen to highlight he picked on baseball. Stool-ball, for example, would have been a more logical choice. Still, there's little doubt that he had English-style baseball in mind as his nominee for a popular, Shakespearian-era sport. However, notwithstanding this and occasional similar claims by others, there is no evidence that baseball was played as early as the 17th century.

Sources

The Cornishman (Penzance), June 17, 1886, p. 7

English Baseball in Suffolk on August 7 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 7, 1886
Location Suffolk
Data

“Baste-ball” was among the games enjoyed by 150 students and teachers of the Free Methodist Sunday School of Framlingham, Suffolk, at their annual treat. After assembling at the school, the party marched to a meadow and barn made available by Mr. Calvin Smith. A newspaper reported that “after singing a hymn on his lawn, the company repaired to the meadow, where cricket, trap-ball, baste-ball, and other games were soon entered into with juvenile zest.”

Sources

Framlingham Weekly News, Aug. 7, 1886, p. 4

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 7 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 7, 1886
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

A newspaper reported that “base-ball” was one of the games played at the annual treat for students of the Wesleyan Sunday in the town of Buckingham, Buckinghamshire. After singing hymns at the school the students proceeded to a field adjoining a nearby stately home. According the paper, “on reaching the field the procession broke up, and games were at once entered into, including cricket, base-ball, French tag, and many others too numerous to mention.”

Sources

Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press, Aug. 7, 1886, p. 6

English Baseball in Cambridgeshire on August 10 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, August 10, 1886
Location Cambridgeshire
Data

"Base-ball" play was reported at an open-air fete of the Conservative Party-associated Primrose League in Bottisham, East Cambridgeshire: "During the afternoon selections of music were played by the Sawston brass band, and numerous sports, such as quoits, base-ball, &c., were indulged in. Tea was also provided. A cricket match between "married and single" elevens of the Bottisham and Swaffham people was played in the afternoon and resulted in favour of the "single" eleven."

Sources

Bury and Norwich Post, Aug. 10, 1886, p. 8

English Baseball in Suffolk on August 14 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 14, 1886
Location Suffolk
Data

“Baste-ball” was among several game enjoyed by young members of the Band of Hope of Framlingham, Suffolk, who were joined by a contingent of fellow members from Earl Soham, also of Suffolk, for an outing celebrating the abstinence organization's anniversary. After gathering at the Free Church they marched to a nearby park. A newspaper reported that “Here fine spreading oaks formed splendid standards for a number of swings; and the spacious pasture a capital ground for cricket, baste-ball, trap-ball, etc.”

Notes

Despite their similarities and proximity of dates, this outing was not the same as the one of Aug. 7th by the Free Methodist Sunday School. Every year, both the Band of Hope and Free Methodist Church in Framlingham held their treats within a week of each other, and seemed to have some overlap in membership and organization.

Sources

Framlingham Weekly News, Aug. 14, 1886, p. 4

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 21 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 21, 1886
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base-ball” was again enjoyed at a children's outing in the town of Buckingham, Bucks, this time as one of the games played at the Juvenile Templars' treat held on a nearby field. According to a newspaper report, “on arriving at the field the children soon began to make the best use of their time, and to thoroughly enjoy themselves in various games, including cricket, base-ball, kiss-in-the-ring.”

Sources

Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press, Aug. 21, 1886, p. 4

English Baseball in Devonshire on October 16 1886

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, October 16, 1886
Location Devonshire
Data

The term "base-ball" was briefly mentioned in a young adult novel that was serialized in a weekly newspaper for boys. The story was set in a fictitious village in Devonshire, where at one point a boy was trying to explain an earlier deception: “The other day, sir, as I was playing base-ball with some of the fellows, I struck the ball out of bounds, and Carstone, seeing me do it, said he would tell you of it. I begged him not to, and at last he consented, on a condition that I should fag for him during the following week. I joyfully consented, for I had lost a ball out of bounds before, and I didn't know what Doctor Wright would do with me.”

Notes

The boy's fearful response to striking a ball out of bounds possibly meant that the ball was deposited in a body of water or some other inaccessible location.

Sources

“Ralph Trevor's Schooldays,” as serialized in The Boy's Champion Paper, London, Oct. 16, 1886, p.69

English Baseball in London on March 28 1887

Block Game English Baseball
Date Monday, March 28, 1887
Location London
Data

"Base ball" was mentioned in a letter to the editor of the Daily News of London in which the writer complained that new rules imposed by the local governing authority on Wandsworth Common, a large park in south London, would severely limit children's access to this traditional ball playing venue: "Rounders, base ball, bat and trap, games as old as cricket, will be forbidden under irksome regulations and rules by which thousands of children will be deprived of that pure innocent pleasure which these games afford."

Notes

This reference is notable for linking baseball and rounders together as "games as old as cricket." Wandsworth Common today remains a major site for ball playing.

Sources

Daily News (London), Mar. 28, 1887, p. 3

English Baseball in London in 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1888
Location London
Data

An English history book mentioned "baseball" in a section discussing some of the games and pastimes that were popular during the 14th century: "The present games of schoolboys and children had also their prototypes in those days. Thus the game of hoodman-blind is the medieval form of blindman's buff, baseball and stool-ball, etc. are perpetuated in hockey, trap-ball and similar games, and even cricket was not unrepresented."

Notes

The author's suggestion that baseball was played in 14th-century England is a fanciful one. Nonetheless, he must have had English baseball in mind.

Sources

The Illustrated History of England from the Earliest Times to 1887, by Henry William Dulcken, London, 1888, Ward, Lock & Co., p. 386

English Baseball in Waterford (Ireland) on March 28 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, March 28, 1888
Location Waterford (Ireland)
Data

“Bass ball” was played historically in Ireland if we are to believe the unusual claim made in a speech by the chairman of the YMCA in the city of Waterford, Ireland, to the annual reunion of the Essay and Debating Department of the Y in that city. As reported by a local newspaper, the speaker emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for athletic sports in order to deter youths from “being allured into places where no Christian young man ought to be seen.” He continued, “We must remember that we are a Young Men's Association, and while our forefathers were satisfied with a game of bass-ball, we must suit ourselves to the times by establishing those innocent amusements and keeping them in our own hands which are in many of our homes, such as tennis-court, gymnasium, etc.”

Notes

There is no evidence that baseball was played in 19th century Ireland or earlier, as this speaker suggested. It's also not clear what he was saying about baseball, possibly implying it was a children's game and not up to the athletic standards of healthy young men.

Sources

Waterford Standard, March 28, 1888, p. 3

English Baseball in Hampshire on June 30 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 30, 1888
Location Hampshire
Data

"Base-ball" was played at the midway point of a late afternoon and evening bike ride by the Y.M.C.A. Cycling Club of Portsmouth, Hampshire: "The party left Portsmouth at 3 p.m., and arrived at Bursledon Bridge at 5:15 p.m., where a halt was made for tea. Afterwards the members adjourned to a neighbouring field, where they indulged in a game of base-ball. At 7:30 p.m. the order was given to mount, and a smart run was made for home."

Notes

Sources

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, June 30, 1888, p. 2

English Baseball in Suffolk on July 11 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, July 11, 1888
Location Suffolk
Data

A game of "baseball" was mentioned in a newspaper article about the annual treat for students of the St. Margaret's Sunday Schools of Ipswich, Suffolk, who, 400 in number, boated on the River Orwell to Felixstowe where they enjoyed sailing and playing games: "Donkey riding, round games, bathing, boating, and the like were all patronised and thoroughly enjoyed...The indulgence in such a round of pleasures was greatly favoured by the weather, which was neither too cold for a bathe or a sail, nor too warm for a good frolic at baseball or some other game."

Sources

Daily Journal, and Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire Advertiser (formerly Ipswich Journal), July 11, 1888, p. 2

English Baseball in Northampton on July 14 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 14, 1888
Location Northampton
Data

A newspaper reported that "base-ball" was one of the amusements offered to almost 400 students of the Unitarian Sunday School of Northampton who traveled to Blisworth Gardens for their annual treat: "Dancing, bowls, cricket, tennis, base-ball, &c. were...indulged in."

Sources

Northampton Mercury, July 14, 1888, p. 6

English Baseball in Yorkshire on July 28 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 28, 1888
Location Yorkshire
Data

“Base-ball” was the subject of a grouchy columnist's complaint which appeared in an issue of the Barnsley (Yorkshire) Independent within a column entitled “Fitful Flashes.” “There are a good many nuisances to put up with in this world,” he wrote, “and one of them is the continual playing of base-ball in the public streets, or, rather, bye-streets. Ancient fathers, middle-aged aunts and uncles, and the patriarchs of the whole group (including paterfamilias) look on and wonder. The marvel in which they are all really interested is as to the particular window the energetic propellers are going to break. Sometimes there is a fracture of glass, and then a regular stampede takes place—not of the glass but of the evil-doers. Nobody can ever catch one, and it is not likely he can do when the parents join in the exceedingly interesting pasttime (sic). Really sometimes a case might be made out for obstructing the pavement. The nuisance, I am told, in some of the side-streets, is something abominable.

Notes

This may well be a complaint against American-style baseball, given the violence of the game and its location in Barnsley, a place well distant from English baseball's traditional territory. Yet because its date comes months before the arrival of the Spalding tour, consideration must be given to the possibility that these violators were playing English baseball.

Sources

Barnsley Independent, July 28, 1888. p. 5

English Baseball in Hampshire on August 4 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 4, 1888
Location Hampshire
Data

Entitled "A Picnic for Lunatics," a newspaper article reported that "base-ball" was played when members of the Southsea Rowing Club, Portsmouth, Hampshire, took male patients from the Borough Asylum at Milton for an unusual outing to Portchester: "Once there, wickets were soon pitched for cricket on the green under the shadow of the ancient Castle, and the contest 'Southsea Rowing Club v. Lunatic Patients' was commenced amid a good deal of interest...The party had then another stroll around the green, and while many of the ladies and gentlemen resumed the game of base-ball, the patients were greatly amused with shying at cocoa nuts.""

Sources

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Aug. 4, 1888, p. 6

English Baseball in London on August 10 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, August 10, 1888
Location London
Data

A reference to “base-ball” appeared in a brief and mildly amusing observation about kissing in the “Society” column of a London magazine. “Men have an idea that their kisses are appreciated. They are most immensely mistaken. The average man gives a kiss just as he throws a base-ball—with too much force. It needs to be as delicate as a rose-leaf. Almost a memory in a second. It need not suggest a postage-stamp or a porous plaster.”

Notes

Mentions of baseball in this type of context and appearing in London publications are normally allusions to the American game, but considering that the writer of this example was obviously a woman, and that her complaint of too much force implies the presence of soaking, I suggest that this, more likely than not, was a reference to the original English game.

Sources

Bow Bells Weekly: a Magazine of General Literature and Art for Family Reading, (London), Aug. 10,1888, p. 86

English Baseball in Kent on September 8 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, September 8, 1888
Location Kent
Data

A newspaper reported that a man playing “base ball” in the historic Dane John Gardens in Canterbury, Kent, had a mishap: “On Friday afternoon, some visitors to Canterbury were playing base ball on the Dane John, when one of the gentlemen accidentally fell and broke his ankle. He was conveyed to Mr. Sadler's surgery, where his injury was attended to.”

Sources

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Sept. 8, 1888, p. 4

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on October 20 1888

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, October 20, 1888
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

A "base ball" bank was reported to have been on display at a sale held by the Congregational Church of Winslow, Buckinghamshire: "There were in addition various devices for making money. Master Wilfrid French had two ingenious toys, known as a mule bank and a base ball bank: Mr. W. Turnham, a cross-bow competition; Mr. Arthur Clear, an electrifying machine; and Mr. A.J. Clear, a powerful magic lantern in the lower room..."

Notes

A racist caricature baseball bank called "Home Town Darkies" was manufactured in the United States at about this time, but it seems unlikely that one of those would have found its way to a small, Buckinghamshire market town.

Sources

Supplement to the Bucks Herald, Oct. 20, 1888, p. 1

English Baseball in Lincolnshire in 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date 1889
Location Lincolnshire
Data

"Base ball" was advertised as one of the attractions of the seaside holiday town of Sutton in Lincolnshire: "The sea-shore at Sutton, as we have stated elsewhere, is a capital place for cricket, tennis, base ball, and other games, and in the season there is plenty of this kind of amusement for visitors."

Sources

Ruscoe's Illustrated Guide to Mablethorpe, Sutton, Louth, Alford, &C., Louth (Lincolnshire), 1889, E.H. Ruscoe, p. 77

English Baseball in Hampshire on March 30 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, March 30, 1889
Location Hampshire
Data

"Baseball" was cited in a newspaper article about "Summer Sport and Amusements, in and around Portsmouth." It read: "With the disappearance of the frosts and the advent of summer days there are preparations in every direction in and about Portsmouth for resorting to the games which are suitable for summer weather, at the head of which still stands the national pastime of cricket, though baseball may come to the front more than it has in past years. Among ladies last year it found many supporters, and with the stimulus which has been given to it by the recent visit of Americans and Canadian colonists to this country there is little doubt that the pastime will be more than ever indulged in."

Notes

The immediate impression one gets from reading this is that it is a reference to American-style baseball, given its direct nod to the 1889 tour. However, English baseball, especially among women, had a long history in Hampshire, so it is not altogether improbable that the author did not discern the difference between the two versions of the game.

Sources

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, March 30, 1889, p. 2

English Baseball in Bedfordshire on April 27 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, April 27, 1889
Location Bedfordshire
Data

A game of “baseball” was played by some of the guests attending a garden party celebrating the season opening of the Lansdowne Tennis Club of Harlington, Bedfordshire. A newspaper covering the event reported that “Early in the forenoon the game was in full swing on the two courts, whilst in the afternoon members and friends turned up in the number of 40, and those who were not able to wield the racquet could participate in a game of baseball, which took place at the farthest end of the ground, or bowls on the lawn.”

Notes

Seems likely to be English baseball since it was played by “those who were not able to wield the racquet.”

Sources

Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette. April 27, 1889, p. 7

English Baseball in Norfolk on June 4 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, June 4, 1889
Location Norfolk
Data

“Baseball” was mentioned in an angry newspaper article that complained about how hundreds of children had overrun a park in the coastal Norfolk city of Yarmouth. The author of the piece reported that St. George's Park had been carefully maintained, and that users previously had remained on the paths except for permitted play of lawn tennis. But complaints that children were being denied access to a suitable playing ground “resulted in the free use of the park by hundreds of children, who for the past week or two have taken possession of the place, and done more damage than good . . . , and have undone in large measure what has taken years to do at considerable expense. The tennis-courts have been made use of for football, baseball, and other juvenile games, the nets enclosing one of the courts has been torn to pieces, and damage has also been done to the flowers and trees.” Several remedies were discussed by local ratepayers, according to the article's author.

Sources

Eastern Daily Press (Norwich), June, 4, 1889, p. 3

English Baseball in Norfolk on June 29 1889 (2)

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 29, 1889
Location Norfolk
Data

“Base” was among the pastimes enjoyed by those attending the annual summer party of the Sun Lane Sunday School of Norwich, Norfolk. The local newspaper reported that “Various games, including cricket, base, trapball, football, &c., were indulged by the teachers and scholars.”

Notes

Baseball was often referred to as “base” in Norfolk.

Sources

Norfolk News, June 29, 1889, p. 7

English Baseball in Norfolk on June 29 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, June 29, 1889
Location Norfolk
Data

“Base ball” was played at an outing of students and teachers of the Sayer's Street Sunday School of Norwich, Norfolk, to a park in nearby Whitlingham. According to a newspaper report, after taking a short river boat cruise on the Jenny Lind, “the grounds being reached, cricket, base ball, and other games were engaged in until five o'clock, when the ample tea provided was found both refreshing and appetising.”

Sources

Eastern Daily Press (Norwich), June 29, 1889, p. 5

English Baseball in Norfolk on July 9 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, July 9, 1889
Location Norfolk
Data

“Baseball” was one of the amusements offered to members of the Norwich Seventh Ward Liberal Association at their annual outing to the large park in nearby Whitlingham. Accompanied by their wives and sweethearts, the party totaled more than 500, according to a local newspaper's coverage, which added, “On arriving at their destination the company found ample amusement provided for them in the form of sports, quoits, swings, baseball, &c.”

Sources

Eastern Daily Press (Norwich), July 9, 1889, p. 3

English Baseball in Cambridgeshire on July 13 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 13, 1889
Location Cambridgeshire
Data

“Base ball” was featured at the Sunday School Festival of Gamlingay, a village in southwestern Cambridgeshire near the Bedfordshire border. A newspaper reported that “The children ran races for articles of wearing apparel, and the elder ones indulged in various popular games, such as base ball, round tag, &c.”

Sources

Bedford Record, July 13, 1889, p. 8

English Baseball in Surrey, London on July 13 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 13, 1889
Location Surrey, London
Data

“Base-ball” was one of the pastimes provided for a party of nearly 400 students and teachers of the Mallinson Road Sunday School of Battersea in southwest London as they took their annual excursion to St. George's Hill in Weybridge, Surrey. A newspaper reported that, after reaching their destination, “in the morning a cricket match was played, teachers v. scholars. The children being provided with swings, skipping ropes, base-ball, &c., there were ample means for enjoyment.”

Sources

South London Press, July 13, 1889, p. 7

English Baseball in Hampshire on July 13 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, July 13, 1889
Location Hampshire
Data

It was reported that "base ball" was played at an outing of some 150 members and friends of the Portsmouth (Hampshire) Ladies' Liberal Association to the grounds of Blackwood Grove: "Arrangements had been made to provide the visitors with tea under the shadow of the trees, and a delightful al fresco repast preceded the robuster joys of base-ball, cricket, archery, and so on."

Sources

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, July 13, 1889, p. 6

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on August 3 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 3, 1889
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of the amusements offered at a church treat given to students of the Day and Sunday Schools of St. Mary's, Princes Risborough, to the junior members of the choir, and to those in attendance at the Longwick National Schools, all situated in Buckinghamshire: “After tea, cricket, base ball, rounders, races, jumping, scrambles, &c., were held, affording considerable amusement, not only to the children but to the large number of neighbouring residents and parents of the scholars who were now present.”

Notes

References to English baseball appeared often in this area of Buckinghamshire, but this is the only documented example where it was played side by side with rounders.

Sources

Bucks Herald, Aug. 3, 1889, p. 7

English Baseball in Berwickshire on August 6 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Tuesday, August 6, 1889
Location Berwickshire
Data

A newspaper reported that “baseball” was one of the amusements enjoyed by teachers and children connected with the Free Church Sabbath School of the Scottish Borders town of Greenlaw, Berwickshire, at their annual picnic held on a grassy field six miles outside of town: “The green sward was soon enlivened by gay and happy groups engaged in racing, leaping, football, baseball, rope-skipping, swinging, &c.”

Sources

Berwickshire News, Aug. 6, 1889, p. 2

English Baseball in Durham on August 30 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Friday, August 30, 1889
Location Durham
Data

“Base ball” was one of the games played at the annual treat of the Rockhope School, a small rural village in County Durham: “On Friday, the annual gathering of Vicar, wardens, teachers, scholars, parents,and the young men of the village took place in the Vicarage field, where a substantial tea was enjoyed. The customary games of cricket, base-ball, wrestling, races of all sorts, long ropes, and the high jump were indulged in.”

Notes

The location of this reference is much farther to the north than would be expected for English baseball. Notwithstanding this, and despite its appearance shortly following the 1889 tour, it most certainly is not referring to American baseball. The latter would never have been called a "customary game;" nor would it have been found in such a small, remote village.

Sources

Northern Echo (Darlington), Aug. 30, 1889, p. 3

English Baseball in Hampshire on August 31 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, August 31, 1889
Location Hampshire
Data

“Base ball” was among the pastimes enjoyed at a large outing arranged for the citizens of Winchester, Hampshire, and held at Longwood House, the estate of the Earl of Northesk (a Scottish peer). A newspaper reported that some of the party played cricket, and, additionally, “various games were indulged in, those not engaged in cricket participating in a game of lawn tennis, quoits, base ball, bowls, etc.”

Sources

Hampshire Chronicle (Winchester), Aug. 31, 1889, p. 3

English Baseball in Buckinghamshire on September 4 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Wednesday, September 4, 1889
Location Buckinghamshire
Data

“Base ball” was one of the games played by a group of 80 young members of the Buckingham Band of Hope at a rescheduling of their annual sports day which had previously been cancelled because of poor weather. A regional newspaper reported that “Some entered into the game of cricket, base ball, &c. The boys and girls ran for prizes, including gloves, belts, handkerchiefs, neckties, &c., purchased by the generosity of a number of friends interested in the promotion of temperance among the younger members of the congregation.

Sources

Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire Telegraph, Sept. 4, 1889, p. 4

English Baseball in Surrey on September 21 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, September 21, 1889
Location Surrey
Data

“Base ball” was among the amusements enjoyed by children attending the annual treat of the St. Martin's Parish Church Sunday School of Dorking, Surrey. A newspaper reported that after sitting down to an “excellent tea,” the children “were amused by various games, including cricket, base ball, scrambling sweets, and pony riding; swing boats were also erected on the grounds.”

Sources

Surrey Mirror, Sept. 21, 1889, p. 6

English Baseball in Essex on October 5 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Saturday, October 5, 1889
Location Essex
Data

“Base ball” was played at a treat provided for the boys' choirs of the St. Nicolas and All Saints' Churches in the town of Witham in Essex: “A cricket match was played between the choirs...The St. Nicolas choir won by a few runs. Base ball was also indulged in. After these sports the youngsters partook of a capital tea in the Chipping Hill Schools.”

Sources

Essex Newsman (Chelmsford), Oct. 5, 1889, p. 4

English Baseball in Hampshire on December 5 1889

Block Game English Baseball
Date Thursday, December 5, 1889
Location Hampshire
Data

“Base balling” was mentioned in a heated letter to the editor of a newspaper on the Isle of Wight defending the town of Ryde and its pier when compared to the facilities in the town of Cowes. In the midst of the correspondent's argument, he wrote: “We are urging our point when we contend that the Y.M.C.A. should come out of their shell and formulate athletics, foot and base balling, rackets and cricketing.”

Notes

It is not at all clear that the writer had English baseball in mind, but the game had a history on the island the American game had no documented history there at such an early date.

Sources

Isle of Wight Times, Dec. 5, 1889, p. 4