The Cricketing Rectors of St Mary’s, Amersham
This article is based on information provided by Roger Cook.
There is long tradition of cricketing members of the Tyrwhitt-Drake family, especially those who were appointed Rectors of the Amersham living controlled by the family. Thomas (1783-1852) appointed his brother John as Rector of Amersham in 1826 and his son Edward became the Rector in 1863. Thomas and Edward were later to become committee members of the first Bucks County Club founded in 1864.
Amersham Cricket Club played at Hand Meadow, Shardeloes from the early 1830’s (maybe earlier) to the 1850’s. They later moved between Barn Meadow and Shardeloes. Early cricket was played on rough, unprepared ground.
In the 1840’s their star batsman was the Rev John Tyrwhitt-Drake and later his nephew, the Rev Edward Tyrwhitt-Drake, who went on to play first class cricket. Edward was later a guest player for several clubs throughout the Home Counties and was described in 1863 as ‘the prince of Buckinghamshire cricketers’ [South Bucks Free Press].
In the 1860s and 1870s, the Tyrwhitt-Drakes had their own Shardeloes Estate cricket matches played against other local Estates using cricketers from their village.
Edward Tyrwhitt-Drake was famous for his under arm lobs that twisted from leg to off, and whose batting was said that he was ‘one of the most slashing that has yet appeared’. He was Rector of St Marys from 1863 to 1904 when he was succeeded by the Rev C E Briggs, another cricketer who had played for Hampshire and Buckinghamshire. He was captain of Amersham as well as many local clubs. When the Rev Briggs left in 1947, there had been over 121 years of cricketing Rectors.
Click here for more detailed information from Roger Cook on the history of the Cricket Club from 1822 to 1856.