John Bowyer
Past Players 6 of 10

6. John Bowyer

John Bowyer lived all his long life, 1790-1880, in Mitcham. He was born there. He married in St Peter and St Paul church. He is recorded in each of the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 Censuses as living in Whitford Lane - now London Road. He was buried in Mitcham, with his bat beside him.

Lord Nelson frequently watched cricket on Mitcham Green, and it is said that he once gave a shilling to John Bowyer, then a boy, to "drink confusion to the French".

Bowyer became a professional cricketer in 1810 and played for Surrey against England at Lords - he batted number 3 and scored 2 runs. This was the first of many appearances at Lords, which included all 5 of the recorded games which Mitcham played against the Marylebone Cricket Club between 1813 and 1823.

We don't know how much he made from this or other games, but he is recorded as having said that players in his time were "well paid". He played regularly with the finest players of the day, including "Silver Billy" Beldham, Lord Frederick Beauclerc and George Osbaldeston.

His views of the modern players in 1871?

very few of them are what I call all-around players

It don't require any magic to go in with pads and gloves on a ground like a lawn....It is all easy enough when it's straight forward work, but if the ground is a little bumpy, or if any new system of bowling comes up, where are they then?

Over his career he made 18 first class appearances, for Surrey, the Bs against England, and the Players against Gentlemen. But he played many other games, travelling around the country as a professional, and games for Mitcham. When he no longer played, he frequently umpired on the Green, and was a hugely popular local man.

By profession he was a calico printer. One of his prints was used by the Lords Taverners to celebrate their ruby anniversary in 1990, and a copy hangs in the Pavilion.