Southborough Common, Kent is home to one of the prettiest cricket grounds in England. It ticks all the boxes: village green, oak trees, church, view, good beer, oh and the cricket’s pretty good too. It’s also one of the oldest grounds; the earliest recorded cricket match took place in 1794. Apparently it is difficult to establish the exact age of the Club, so the 150th anniversary was celebrated in 1950 with Godfrey Evans, the famous Kent & England wicketkeeper, the principal guest speaker.
Southborough was also world famous for cricket ball making. In the
middle of the 19th century it was a centre for ‘Quiltwinders’ who
made cricket balls. Cricket balls from Southborough were shown at the Great
Exhibition at Crystal Palace.
But times were not always good for Southborough, or more accurately its Lords
of the Manor – check this out for a six!
In Tudor times it was granted to the Duke of Buckingham who lived at Penshurst Place; he was found guilty of high treason & beheaded by King Henry VIII, South Borough and all the Duke’s possessions were forfeited to the crown.
The king gave South Borough to Sir Thomas More, his Chancellor, who in turn suffered the same fate as Buckingham.
South Borough was given to John Dudley Earl of Warwick – who exchanged it for “other premises” prior to his execution.
Queen Elizabeth I gave it to her cousin Henry Carey (just possibly Henry’s illegitimate son), who as Lord Chamberlain, became the first patron of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, William Shakespeare‘s company, in 1594. He died
a natural death.
On Carey’s death, Elizabeth gave South Borough to one of her favourites Richard Sackville of Knole, Sevenoaks who sold it to a ‘Citizen Smith’.
Phew, time for a republic I say!