Author Mark Chaloner’s new book Cricket in Barham traces the rise and fall of summer play in the village of Kent over 200 years

Village cricket has long been intertwined with Kentish life, a slice of which features in a new book, Cricket in Barham.

A history of cricket in Barham, near Canterbury, the book traces the rise and decline of cricket in the village over 200 years.

Members of Barham Cricket Club in the 1950s

Cricket’s popularity grew rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Kentish Gazette and other local newspapers then played a key role in raising awareness of the game and stimulating interest in it.

Near Barham itself, Bourne Park and Barham Downs were important early cricket venues. Barham’s first recorded cricket match was in 1813, the same year as the first recorded match at the Goodwin Sands!

A successful village cricket club was established in Victorian times and continued to flourish into the first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, decline followed and despite several valiant attempts to revive the club, stumps were drawn in 2014.

A variety of people were involved in cricket in Barham, ranging from a young man who became an Anglican bishop to an Australian media mogul; and from a lowly farm laborer to a viscountess! Additionally, there were two future Test cricketers who played in matches against Barham.

While the focus is on Barham’s cricket club, the book also explores cricket in wider contexts of both village life and the changing fortunes of the game in east Kent.

The book was written by Mark Chaloner, who was secretary of Barham Cricket Club for 27 years, and is published by the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians (ACS).

Copies can be purchased via the publications section of the ACS website at or by contacting Mark on 07753 117352.

Lola R. McClure