Richmond Green

Richmond Green is a recreation area located near the centre of Richmond, which is a town of about twenty thousand inhabitants situated in south west London. The green is essentially square in shape and its open grassland, framed with broadleaf trees, extends to roughly twelve acres. It is overlooked by a mixture of period townhouses, historic buildings and municipal and commercial establishments.

For over 400 years Richmond Green has been edged by houses and commercial premises - built to provide accommodation for people serving or visiting Richmond Palace. In 1625 Charles I brought his court here to escape the plague in London and by the early 18th century these had become the homes of "minor nobility, diplomats, and court hangers-on". The construction of the railway in the mid 19th century cut the Green off from Old Deer Park, and led to the building of Victorian villas for the more prosperous commuters to London. The A316 road, built in the early 20th century, worsened this separation. Owned by the Crown Estate, it is leased to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Richmond Green is also situated close to the Richmond Lending Library and Richmond Theatre.

Cricket on the green
The Green was a popular venue for cricket matches during the 18th century and before. The earliest reference to cricket on Richmond Green is from an 1666 letter by Sir Robert Paston, a resident of Richmond . The earliest known fixture on the Green was Surrey v Middlesex in June 1730. Surrey won the match, although the runs are not recorded. Perhaps the most infamous game to be played on the Green took place the following year on 23 August when a Mr Chambers organised an eleven a side game against the Duke of Richmond's team from Sussex. It is the earliest match where team scores are known: Duke of Richmond 79, Mr Chambers 119; Duke of Richmond 72, Mr Chambers 23-5 (approx.). The game ended promptly at a pre-agreed time although Mr Chambers with "four or five more to have come in" and needing "about 8 to 10 notches" clearly had the upper hand. The end result caused a fracas among the crowd at Richmond Green who were incensed by the prompt finish because the Duke of Richmond had arrived late and delayed the start of the game. The riot resulted in some of the Sussex players "having the shirts torn off their backs; and it was said a law suit would commence about the play" . Croydon played Chertsey in a drawn game on 5 July 1736: Chertsey 88 & 55; Croydon 58 & 24-9. So Croydon just hung on for the draw . Another notable game was the earliest known tied match on 22 July 1741 when Surrey played London. The scores were not reported but we are told that the tie occasioned the bets to be drawn on both sides. The teams decided to play again at the Artillery Ground the following Monday but the result is not recorded . The first reference to a "Richmond" team playing at Richmond Green is also the last reference to its use as a first class cricket venue. This was on 4 July 1743 when Richmond & Kingston were beaten by London. The famous Robert "Long Robin" Colchin, of Bromley, played for London as a given man . The Green is presently home to two village cricket teams each affiliated with two of Richmond's favourite public houses, the Princes Head and The Cricketers. Midweek matches are contested in the modern limited overs format of Twenty20 usually on a Tuesday or Thursdays, where surrounding village teams compete for the Len Smith Charity Shield.

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