England’s first female sports stars
The first recorded stoolball match between teams of named women representing villages took place between the Glynde Butterflies and Firle Blues in 1866.
This book recounts the exploits of the Glynde Butterflies and their opponents Firle Blues, Chailey Grasshoppers, Selmeston Harvest Bugs, Waldron Bees, Eastbourne Seagulls and Westmeston. In an age where class distinction ruled society the young women who played for the Butterflies came from all walks of life. The daughters of the vicar and the owner of Glynde Place played alongside those of the gamekeeper, farm labourer and clerk to the local chalk pits.
The Revd William de St Croix, vicar of Glynde, compiled the first rules of stoolball in 1867 and published them in the East Sussex News in November of that year.
The first captain of the Butterflies was Gertrude, daughter of Henry Brand, the owner of Glynde Place. In 1868 she scored the first century at stoolball, making 110 against the Chailey Grasshoppers. This match was played in Glynde Park and, as there were no boundaries, Gertrude ran all 110 runs, a total of one mile, plus all the runs scored by the woman batting at the other end. All this in full conventional dress and wearing the compulsory hat that fashion dictated.
Based on research from the East Sussex archives
Much of the information in the book is taken from records held at East Sussex Record Office which include the early scorebooks of the Butterflies. Many contemporary portrait photographs of the players are included as well as two team photographs of the Butterflies.
It also features:
- a painting by Gertrude Brand of her younger sister, Maud, ‘dressed for stoolball’ c1868 (a detail is shown here)
- the earliest known action photograph of a mixed game of stoolball taken at the Jireh Chapel Sunday School treat in the Dripping Pan, Lewes, c1868
- a photo of Mary-Ann Hilton’s stoolball bat, used in the 1870s and still surviving today
- the earliest known record of a ladies cricket team, the Southdown Ladies Cricket Club, in 1884.
How to buy it
The book is available by post from Andrew Lusted, Welsted, Glynde, Lewes BN8 6SU and costs £7 plus £1.20 postage. Cheques payable to A Lusted who can be contacted on lusted.challen@….