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First Class Cricketers Buried In Hambledon

In the fourth of his six-part series, esteemed crickety historian Stephen Saunders tells tales of the famous cricketers who are buried near the cradle of cricket.

Edward Aburrow's father was reputed to be a smuggler by the name of “Cuddy”, who played cricket for Slindon and All England. Edward, junior, was born in Slindon on 24 March 1747. By trade, he was a shoemaker and linen draper in Hambledon. He was a right-hand bat and useful change bowler who played 44 first-class matches for Hampshire between 1772 and 1782. He is sometimes referred to on scorecards by his nickname “Cuddy” Aburrow. He died on 6 October 1835 and was buried in Hambledon with his wife, Elizabeth, who predeceased him in 1831, and their son who died aged six in 1788. Their headstone is the only one of the famous 18th century players to survive and can be located in section F row 383.

George Leer was born in Hambledon in 1748. He played 44 first-class matches for Hampshire in the same period as Aburrow and was known as an excellent long stop behind the wicket-keeper. He was a fine singer and often entertained in the post-match get-togethers. He moved to Petersfield where he was a brewer. He died on 1 February 1812 and his wish was carried out “to be taken” to Hambledon.

Peter Stewart was born in Hambledon in 1730 and was given the nickname of “Buck” as he was such a natty dresser. He worked as a carpenter, shoemaker and finally as the landlord of the Green Man in Hambledon (now a private home listed Grade II). He was known as a humourist, forever cracking jokes. He played 16 first-class matches for Hampshire between 1772 and 1779. He died in 1796 and was buried in the churchyard.

Peter Stewart had three nephews:

Henry Stewart was born in Hambledon in 1763 and played three first-class matches for Hampshire. He died in 1837 and the headstone to him and his wife is in the same section F and row R as Aburrow.

John Stewart, his brother was also born in Hambledon in 1768. He played two matches for Hampshire. He was also buried in the churchyard, but no headstone remains.

John Goldsmith was born in Hambledon in 1766 and lived at West End, Hambledon where William Cobbett visited and mentioned in his “Rural Rides”. He played one first-class match at Windmill Down in 1792; however, he played for Surrey, against Hampshire, batting at number eleven, probably because they were a man short. He died in 1845 and his headstone together with his wife can be found in section D.

Thomas Sueter was born in Hambledon in April 1750 and was an architect and surveyor. He was a left-handed batsman and a reliable wicket-keeper playing 54 first-class matches for Hampshire between 1772 and 1786. He then played six matches for Surrey in 1788/9. In 1786 on Windmill Down he had the distinction of being the first player given out “hit ball twice”.

In 1788 there was a catastrophic fire at the parish church with the loss of much of the medieval structure and upper stages of the tower. Sueter was involved in the rebuilding and there was a plaque over the door saying: “Thomas Sueter and Richard Flood, Builders, AD 1788”. Sueter was in the church choir and left a sovereign so that an anthem could be sung over his coffin and this was done. He died in Emsworth in February 1827, but is buried in Hambledon. His headstone read: “Sacred to the memory of THOMAS SUETER, who departed this life on the 17th day of February 1828, aged 77”. Its current whereabouts is unknown.

The Hambledon Club minute book records that on May 4 1773, Mr Tooker was elected a member of the Club and on July 6 1779, Mr Whalley was elected. Both these families lived in Hambledon and one of the few Armigerous Memorial in the church is to members of the Tooker family.

Their descendant Edward Whalley-Tooker became the lifeblood of the Hambledon Club and Broadhalfpenny Down at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. He played his first first-class match for Hampshire against Sussex in 1883 and then against the same opposition two years later, in 1885. Together with C B Fry he was the instigator of the Memorial Stone and captained Hambledon against England in the match played at the unveiling in September 1908. This was his third and last first-class match.

Edward Whalley-Tooker was captain of Hambledon from 1896 to 1936 and then President from 1937 till his death in 1940. He was succeeded by his wife, Dorothy, as President, until her death in 1962. Their grave and headstone is located in Section F, Row Y.

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