|Home club||Hambledon Club|
|County club||Hampshire (pre-county club)|
|Last used||1908 (for major cricket)|
Broadhalfpenny Down, situated on a hilltop about a mile from the rural village of Hambledon in Hampshire, was the home venue for first-class cricket matches of the Hambledon Club from 1753 to 1781. It was used for other sports besides cricket, including horse racing.
Bat & Ball Inn
The famous Bat & Ball Inn, erroneously known as the "cradle of cricket", is immediately next to the Down and its landlord for 10 years from 1762 to 1772 was Hambledon captain Richard Nyren. Nyren was succeeded by his Hambledon colleague William Barber, who ran the pub from 1772 to 1784.
As a venue for major cricket, the earliest known use of Broadhalfpenny Down was in August 1753 for a match between a Hambledon team and one from Surrey. It continued in regular use by Hambledon/Hampshire teams until 1781, after which the Hambledon Club moved to Windmill Down, which is closer to the village.
Subsequently, an England XI v Hambledon fixture in 1908 appears in the generally accepted list of first-class fixtures. This was intended as a commemorative match and featured famous players C. B. Fry and Phil Mead.
Hampshire cricketer Edward Whalley-Tooker, who played in the 1908 match, was a descendant of a member of the original Hambledon Club. Following the match in 1908 the Broadhalfpenny Down ground had been reclaimed for farming land. Whalley-Tooker set about the task of securing its use for cricket once again and in 1925 it was restored to host cricket matches. The possession of the land was given to Winchester College, with the college and Hambledon playing the first match there since its restoration. Whalley-Tooker led the Hambledon side to victory.
The name of the ground, "Broadhalfpenny" is properly pronounced "broad ha'penny" a contraction following the usual pronunciation of the word for the halfpenny coin. Places that had obtained a charter from the King to hold markets or establish fairs were issued with Letters Patent that were stamped with "Broad-Halfpenny".
The cricket ground lies on a ridge connecting Broadhalfpenny Down itself to the higher ground to the north at Wether Down and Salt Hill. The ridge and the down to the south are crossed by the Monarch's Way long distance footpath before it descends towards Horndean.
- Underdown, p. 115.
- Ashley-Cooper, p. 163.
- Maun, p.38.
- Ashley-Cooper, p. 28.
- Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1924). Hambledon Cricket Chronicle 1772–1796. Jenkins.
- Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell.
- Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite.
- Maun, Ian (2011). From Commons to Lord's, Volume Two: 1751 to 1770. Martin Wilson. ISBN 978-0-9569066-0-1.
- Mote, Ashley (1997). The Glory Days of Cricket. Robson.
- Nyren, John (1998). Ashley Mote, ed. The Cricketers of my Time. Robson.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press.