Victorian cricket ground restored

A VILLAGE cricket ground established in the Victorian era has been restored for use by a local team.

A VILLAGE cricket ground established in the Victorian era has been restored for use by a local team.

The ground, on the Thornham Estate, is thought to have been created with the permission of the then Lord Henniker in 1876.

Local research suggests it was commandeered for use in agriculture around the time of the Second World War, first for grazing livestock and then, from the 1980s, for growing crops.

But now, following work by the Mellis Cricket Club (MCC) and support from the district and county councils, it has been restored and is to become the scene once more of regular matches.

You may also want to watch:

Ben Box, the club's chairman and fixture secretary, said the club had been re-formed in the mid 1990s. Matches had formerly been played on Mellis Common but, as the club had been promoted into higher leagues, it had become increasingly difficult to provide the ground conditions required.

“We played at Palgrave for some time but, as the result of a conversation with a member of the Henniker family, the idea came forward to restore the old cricket ground on the estate,” he said.

Most Read

David Williamson, a senior club member who has carried out research into the history of the site, has discovered match reports in copies of the East Anglian Daily Times of the 1880s and 1890s.

“They mention visits from the Suffolk county side and a touring side. After 1900s we are a little bit short of information. I think the ground ceased to be used after the Second World War,” he said.

“We're very proud of what we've done and hope we can continue the tradition from our Victorian past,” he added.

The inaugural matches - involving four local teams - were played at the weekend in the presence of county councillor Charles Michell who used part of his locality budget to help restore the ground.

Also present were Central Suffolk MP Sir Michael Lord, who lives in Mellis, and Diana Kearsley, a local district councillor.

Lesley Henniker-Major, who lives at Thornham Hall, within the estate, said: “Fantastic work was done by committee members to turn set aside land into a playable cricket pitch. The day was idyllic and the site exquisitely beautiful.”

A hornbeam tree was planted by Ms Henniker-Major and her children, Josephine, Harriet and Edward, to commemorate the occasion. “We look forward to another 100 years of cricketing activity at Thornham,” she added.

MCC has 25 playing members registered from several of the villages in the area. Anyone interested in joining should contact Mr Box, tel. 01379 783215.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus