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 A private members dining club, revived in 1999, with the purpose to honour the

memory and great achievements of the Hambledon Club 1750-1796.

More than two hundred years ago, during the "Glory Days" of Hambledon cricket, the cricket was funded by an aristocratic dining club. 


In 1998, ninety years after the memorial stone was set on Broadhalfpenny Down, the famous club’s newest historian Ashley Mote approached Dick Orders, then landlord of the Bat & Ball Inn, Hampshire’s historians Neil Jenkinson, Andrew Renshaw, Dave Allen and Stephen Saunders, with a view to reviving the dining club.


At this exploratory meeting, they agreed to hold luncheons at the beginning and end of each season, attracting high-quality guest speakers and flourishing membership. The first modern luncheon was held at the Bat & Ball Inn on Saturday, 10 April 1999 and they have continued without interruption ever since.

This website records the activities of the modern luncheon club and its members, but we have included a brief history of the eighteenth-century side. We acknowledge the growing tendency of some notable cricket historians to identify that great side as Hampshire rather than Hambledon. 


On this site, and in our club, we have retained the name Hambledon partly because the name continues to resonate in popular consciousness; partly because our activities take place high above the village at the Bat & Ball Inn and Broadhalfpenny Down; and partly to distinguish our activities from those of Hampshire Cricket which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the formation of its club in 2013.

Members enjoying our luncheon held at the Bat & Ball, Hambledon, on 29 March 2014_

Speakers Who Have Attended Our Luncheons

Dave Allen (with quiz), Jonathan Agnew, Dennis Amis MBE, Lord MacLaurin OBE, Isabelle Duncan, Vic Marks, John Barclay, Alan Rayment (& Dave Allen, returned), Jo Rice, Stephen Chalke (returned), Tom Rodwell, Mike Griffith, Andrew Renshaw, David Frith, Robin Brodhurst, MJK Smith OBE, Murray Hedgcock, Bob Barber, Roger Knight OBE, Peter Walker, John Stern, Roger Packham, Stephen Green, Nick Bailey, Rod Bransgrove, Keith & Jennifer Booth, Stephen Saunders, Jocelyn Galsworthy, Dave Allen, David Rayvern Allen, Douglas Miller, Lord Alexander, Alastair McLennan, Peter Baxter, Roy Clark, Stephen Chalke, Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

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John Nyren

(1764 - 1837)

Author & Cricketer, son of Richard Nyren

“There was high feasting held on Broad-Halfpenny during the solemnity of one of our grand matches. Oh! it was a heart-stirring sight to witness the multitude forming a complete and dense circle round that noble green. Half the county would be present, and all their hearts with us. Little Hambledon, pitted against all England, was a proud thought for the Hampshire men. Defeat was glory in such a struggle - victory, indeed, made us only ‘a little lower than the angels’.”


From:  The Cricketers of My Time

The miniature bat was presented to Richard Nyren at the Bat and Ball Inn on 4th September 1791.
It was almost certainly made by his old friend,
John Small Senior.


Reproduced by the kind permission of the

Bat & Ball Inn.

About Our Meeting Place

In what year Nyren migrated to Hambledon and began to teach the local cricketers the technique of ‘the London Game’ we do not know. Still, it must have been around about the time of Powlett’s appointment to Itchen Abbas, for in 1782 the former is thanking the public ‘for favours he has received during the last twenty years’. At one time as landlord of the Bat and Ball Inn, which overlooks the ground at Broadhalfpenny, he later rented the George Inn in the village. It was there that the meetings of the club and the annual club dinner took place - convivial occasions we may fairly assume from an entry in the accounts: ‘A wet day, only three gentlemen present, nine bottles of wine’.


“… Today the Bat and Ball Inn, recently enriched without by a splendid cricket inn sign, and within by a collection of cricket prints and scores on permanent loan from the M.C.C, looks out on a substantially simpler setting than that which greeted the Hambledon players at the top of their steady trudge up from the village - or their later reinforcements from Surrey and Sussex, at the end of their ride from much further afield - or which saw the team embark in the ‘machine’, or caravan that carried them to their away matches. True, the larks still soar and sing overhead and the cloud shadows still chase each other over Chidden Down but gone is the ‘lodge’ built by the club’s own wicket-keeper, the refreshment booths that purveyed that famous ‘ale that would flare like turpentine, genuine Bonifact’, and the tent where the ladies could be ‘as much at their ease as if they were in their own Dressing Room’.”


Extracts from: Hambledon Cricket and the Bat & Ball Inn - Diana

Rait Kerr (curator of the MCC Museum from 1945-1968).

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Early Cricket

The history of cricket to 1725 traces the sport's development from its perceived origins to the stage where it had become a major sport in England and had been introduced to other counties.


The earliest definite reference to cricket occurs in 1598 and makes clear that the sport was being played c. 1550, but its true origin is a mystery. All that can be said with a fair degree of certainty is that its beginning was earlier than 1550, somewhere in southeast England within the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. Unlike other games with batsmenbowlers and fielders, such as stoolball and rounders, cricket can only be played on relatively short grass especially as the ball was delivered along the ground until the 1760s. Therefore, forest clearings and land where sheep had grazed would have been suitable places to play.

The sparse information available about cricket's early years suggests that originally it may have been a children's game. Then, at the beginning of the 17th century, it was taken up by working men. During the reign of Charles I, the gentry took an increased interest as patrons and occasionally as players. A big attraction for them was the opportunity that the game offered for gambling and this escalated in the years following the Restoration. By the time of the Hanoverian succession investment in cricket had created the professional player and the first major clubs, thus establishing the sport as a popular social activity in London and the south of England.




Hambledon Cricket Club was formed around 1750, and has been described as ‘the birthplace of cricket’. By 1771 the club had become very successful and played a number of matches against All England and County sides, and attracted thousands of spectators to some of its matches. The original club broke up in 1796, but records indicate that a Hambledon Cricket Club was again in existence by 1808, and cricket was played regularly at Hambledon from the early 1860s. The records in this collection date from 1857-1993. They reflect the growth of the club in the twentieth century when a number of commemorative and bi-centenary matches were held and better facilities were provided, such as a new pavilion.



These notices inform members of changes in club policies and procedures which have occurred in the run-up to the forthcoming meeting, either in Spring or Autumn, and should be noted accordingly.

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