Petersfield at Play

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Arts and crafts and amateur dramatics, beekeeping and ballroom dancing, cricket and cycling. Throughout history, locals have found countless excuses to come together and have a good time.

The event of the year in 1700s Petersfield was the annual ball at the White Hart Inn. Sport on the Heath or the cricket field was a more regular pastime. For those who enjoyed watching cricket, the best club in the country was only ten miles away at Hambledon. 

The word ‘boredom’ didn’t exist until 1852, and sure enough, the Victorians invented new activities to keep themselves entertained. In Petersfield, the Dramatic Club performed at the Corn Exchange while the Petersfield Cycling Club rode penny farthings and tricycles around the town. Today, over 50 local clubs and societies contribute to the area’s rich social and cultural identity.

Did you know?

Was John Small of Petersfield the first sporting superstar? John Nyron described him as a ‘star of the first magnitude’ in 1832. He played cricket for Hambledon and was considered the greatest batsman of the 1700s.

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Hampshire Hogs cricket cap, 1940s

Owned by Harold Gardiner, an English Teacher at Bedales School in Steep.

With their brightly coloured uniform, the Hampshire Hogs were one of the first ‘jazz hat’ cricket clubs. Also known as wandering cricket clubs, they didn’t have a home ground and were hosted by military and school sides. In 1966 they settled in Warnford, where they still play today.


Hampshire Hogs cricket blazer, around 1940s

Owned by HEW ‘Benn’ Bennett, sports master at Bedales School in Steep.

Benn was vice president of the Hampshire Hogs from 1971 until 1991 and one of the founders of the Stoner Cricket Club at Bedales.


Buriton Cricket Club cap, around 1940s

On loan from Buriton Heritage Bank

Cricket was an important part of village life. In 1768, a cricket match between Rogate and Harting’s women’s teams attracted a crowd of almost 3000 people.

Before World War One, Buriton had three cricket teams. Local landowners the Bonham Carters supported and played for the village.


Score card commemorating 1777 cricket match between England and Hambledon, reproduction, 1802

On June 18 1777, Hambledon village cricket team played the England team for 1000 guineas, which is around £175,000 today. Hambledon won by an innings and 168 runs.


Petersfield Cricket Club score card, 1934

Cricket in Petersfield dates to at least 1741, when Mr Pay owned some land called Cricket Field. The cricket ground, near Frenchman’s Road, had to move when the railway was built in the 1850s. John Bonham Carter gave some land on the Heath, which is home to Petersfield Cricket Club to this day. 

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Petersfield Cricket Club fixtures cards, 1949 – 1951 


Petersfield Cricket Club score card, 1972


Curved cricket bat, reproduction, 1700s

On loan from MCC Museum

John Small was the first man to use a straight cricket bat, which he made in his workshop in Petersfield. He was Hambledon’s best batsman, when they were beating the England team at cricket. He was also involved in the decisions to add a middle stump to the wicket and to set a maximum width to the bat.


Hampshire Hogs cricket jumper, around 1940s

Owned by HEW ‘Benn’ Bennett, sports master at Bedales School in Steep.