Lord Frederick Beauclerk

Lord Frederick Beauclerk

The Lord Frederick Beauclerk (born 8 May 1773 in London; died 22 April 1850 in Westminster) was an outstanding but controversial English first-class cricketer. His career spanned the 1791 to 1825 seasons.


Having begun as a bowler, Beauclerk became better known as a hard-hitting batsman. He scored 170 as a given man playing for Homerton against Montpelier in 1807, a match not widely recognised as first-class, setting a world record in all forms of cricket that lasted until the first double century was scored in 1820 [ [http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/0/313.html CricketArchive scorecard] ] [ [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/138524.html CricInfo report] ] .

Beauclerk was said to have modelled himself on the professional William Beldham, but he may have lacked the latter's flair. John Nyren, in "The Young Cricketers Tutor" of 1833, stated that Beauclerk was "certainly the finest batter of his day" but remained convinced that Beldham was the "finest batsmen ever known up to that point". Reporters of the day noted that Beauclerk's batting was orthodox but he never quite curbed his aggressive instincts and would tend to bat impulsively. He was one of the best single wicket cricketers of his era.

He made eight centuries at Lord's Cricket Ground. Fact|date=May 2008

Beauclerk was one of the most controversial figures in cricket history. Although he was a vicar, he boasted of making up to £600 a year betting on cricket, often from matches in which he was playing. He was described by Benny Green as "an unmitigated scoundrel" [ [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/138155.html CricInfo story] ] . In an early example of gamesmanship, he was known for suspending an expensive watch from the middle stump whilst batting, the inference being that his batting was sound enough, or the bowling bad enough, for it to remain unscathed. How many watches he lost in this manner is, sadly, unrecorded. Fact|date=May 2008

Beauclerk led the calls to ban roundarm bowling in 1822. He was the second president of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1826, playing for the MCC while in the office. Fact|date=May 2008

Personal life

Beauclerk was the fourth son and fifth child of the 5th Duke of St Albans, and thus descended from Charles II and Nell Gwyn. He attended Cambridge University, where he was first noted as an "intelligent slow bowler" in 1791. He became a clergyman, and was vicar of St Albans.

He married Charlotte Dillon, daughter of Charles Dillon, 12th Viscount Dillon, on 3 July 1813. They had four children [ [http://www.thepeerage.com/p1168.htm thepeerage.com] ] :
* Caroline Henrietta Frederica Beauclerk (1815-1878)
* Charles William Beauclerk (1816-1863)
* Captain Aubrey Frederick James Beauclerk (1817-1853)
* Henrietta Mary Beauclerk (1818-1887)

His sons, Charles and Aubrey, also played cricket as did his nephew, William Aubrey de Vere Beauclerk, 9th Duke of St Albans.

Beauclerk is buried at St Mary Winchfield in Hampshire, where there are memorial inscriptions to him and his family.


External sources

* [http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/27/27780/27780.html CricketArchive profile]
* [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/player/10320.html CricInfo profile]

Further reading

* Arthur Haygarth, "Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826)", Lillywhite, 1862
* H S Altham and EW Swanton, "A History of Cricket, Volume 2 (to 1945)", George Allen & Unwin, 1947
* Derek Birley, "A Social History of English Cricket", Aurum, 1999
* Albert E Knight, "The Complete Cricketer", Methuen & Co., 1906
* Simon Wilde, "Number One: The World's Best Batsmen and Bowlers", Trafalgar Square, 1998

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