The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

Sewell Plays Cricket on a Handkerchief

from Beverley Hendy

This article was originally published in the December 2004 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society

Thomas Sewell (second from the right), a professional cricketer, born 5th May 1806 in Mitcham, Surrey

Ed: Bev is one of our Australian members and we were delighted to see her at our Annual Gathering this year. Bev has this very special handkerchief depicting the Eleven of England selected to play in the Great Cricket Matches of the North in 1847. She writes:

I did enjoy the gathering and it was nice to be able to put a face to some of the names I've been in touch with over the last year or so.

I found the "handkerchief" folded and in a small brown paper bag amongst my father's possessions after he died in 1971. Mum had no knowledge of it and so I had it framed and hanging in our hall until last year, when my brother and I decided to try and find out more about its origin. The fact that there was a Sewell in the team was intriguing.

My grandfather was an avid cricketer in his early years playing for the Weekley Victoria Cricket Club, Weekley, Northants. I have a photo of the team in 1903 when he was vice captain. He must have brought it out to Australia when the family emigrated in 1911.

I wrote to Cricket NSW and their Honorary Research Librarian contacted me with all the information photocopied from the book 'Treasures of Lords'. We took it to the Sydney Cricket Ground for those interested to see it. It was then suggested that we contact the Marylebone Cricket Club to enquire as to its age and whether it was rare.

Marylebone Cricket Club advised us that they had one in their collection, and suggested that I contact Christies for an idea of the value.

In the meantime, I had it removed from the acid board and staples that secured it !!!! It was cleaned and then stitched to a fabric covered acid free board with all tears and loose threads secured. Then it was framed. After some months Christies advised us that many appear to have survived and its current value may be in the region of ₤300-₤500. If we had not had it restored its value would have been more, but as we'd decided to keep it, we felt it should be restored for the future.

We lent the handkerchief to the Sydney Cricket Ground Museum from 23 December 2003 to 31 March 2004 for the cricket season and the match when Steve Waugh played his last Test. The dimensions of the 'handkerchief' are 33" x 26".

FOOTNOTE: Bev has kindly provided copies of the material relating to the handkerchief from which we learn that the main picture is based on a pencil and watercolour drawing entitled ‘The All-England Eleven’. The artist was Felix (Nicholas Wanostrocht) who was one of the players.

One of the team members is Thomas Sewell (second from the right), a professional cricketer, born 5th May 1806 in Mitcham, Surrey, and died 1st November 1888 in Sevenoaks, Kent. He was the father of Thomas Sewell who also played for Surrey and Kent.

Thomas senior is described as a middle order right-hand batsman, under-arm bowler, good field. He played for Surrey (1839-49, 9 matches); Kent (1852, 2 matches); Middlesex (1830, 2 matches). His final first-class match was for a Combined Kent & Sussex XI in 1853. Ed

Return to The Sole Society Home Page