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The Thames at Moulsey Hurst


Moulsey Hurst is located in what is now West Moleseymarker, Surreymarker on the south bank of the River Thames above Molesey Lockmarker.

The site can be reached from Hamptonmarker across the river by Hampton Ferrymarker when it is running in the summer.

Sporting venue

It is one of England's oldest sporting venues. It is said to be the site of the first game of golf in England, during the reign of James VI and I, who was a golf enthusiast. It was famous in the 18th and 19th centuries for cricket, prizefighting and other sports. It was the site of the now defunct Hurst Parkmarker horse race course. It was at this ground where the now modern-day East Molesey CC began, although the current ground now lies (albeit still on the bank of the River Thames) on Graburn Way, a short walk from Hampton Court Palacemarker. This venue was also what some consider to be one of the birthplaces of cricket, along with other historical cricket greens, such as Mitcham Cricket Greenmarker.

The 1872 Ordnance Survey map shows a race course marked Molesey Hurst in this position. The location of the cricket ground was probably in the centre of the racecourse, which was common practice in the 18th century. The present day cricket pitch is about a quarter of a mile further east. One of cricket's most famous paintings, Cricket at Moulsey Hurst, is owned by MCC and on display at Lord'smarker .

Moulsey Hurst today

In 2004, Hurst Park Residents Association laid out a "heritage marker" close to the river, which contains a number of illustrations of the history and activities of the area .

Chronology of events

  • 887 – Vikings sailed up the Thames here to sack Chertsey Abbey
  • 1726 – the earliest known use of the site for cricket is recorded in the London Evening Post dated Sat 27 August 1726, in the paper's first year of publication; it carried an advertisement for a single wicket match
  • 1733 – earliest known use of the site for a first-class cricket match when Surrey played Middlesex
  • May 1785 – James Sadler made a hot air balloon ascent near here, accompanied by a Member of Parliament, about a year after the success of the Montgolfier Brothers balloon
  • Autumn 1787 – a professional runner named Powell ran a mile in 4 minutes and 3 seconds at Moulsey Hurst in preparation for an attempt on the 4 minute mile
  • August 1795 – in a cricket match at Moulsey Hurst, John Tufton was dismissed leg before wicket (lbw) by John Wells; according to Arthur Haygarth Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862, page 191. Haygarth says: In this match, "leg before wicket" is found scored for the first time. In Britcher's printed score-book, Mr J. Tufton is in this match put down as bowled merely, and the leg before wicket added in a note. At first, when any one was got out in this way, it was marked down as simply bowled, and the leg before wicket omitted it was the first time lbw had ever been recorded in a scorecard
  • 1798 – a Mr Troward, a member of the Toxophilite Society, shot an arrow on a level piece of ground on Moulsey Hurst seventeen score, or 340 yards
  • 1806 – last known use of Moulsey Hurst for major cricket was the Surrey v All-Englandmatch


References

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