E. H. D. Sewell

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Edward Humphrey Dalrymple Sewell (September 30, 1872 - September 20, 1947) was a first class cricketer, popular cricket and rugby journalist and author, known universally as E. H. D. Sewell.

His grandfather was Sir William Henry Sewell (c1786–1862),who was aide-de-camp to William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, during the Peninsular War, and joined the Duke of Wellington’s army in Portugal in 1808. He was present with Sir John Moore’s army in its retreat from Corunna. Having returned from the Peninsular, he proceeded to India, where he served for 28 years. His father Colonel Henry Fane Haylett Sewell (1838–1910) became a Colonel in the East Indies. He married Violetta Anna Burn in Singapore May 1860, they had seven sons.

Edward H D was the youngest son, born in Lingsugur India where his father served as an Army officer. Sewell was educated at the Rectory in Shropshire and Bedford School in England, returning to India as a civil servant. While playing cricket in India he became the first batsman in the country to score three consecutive hundreds. In 1893 he played in the first ever All-India side. The same year he married Amie Sharpe who was born in Darjeeling. They had a child Douglas born 1895 in Coonsor, India, later educated at Dulwich College.[1]

He was known as a good rugby footballer, playing for Blackheath F.C. and Harlequins,[2] but was most notable as a cricket player. On his return from India he became a professional cricket player for Essex. In 1904 he reached his highest score of 181 under the Captain W.G. Grace, at Crystal Palace against Surrey.[3] Later he was coach to young players at The Oval for Surrey CCC, and played for Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. His final first class match for the MCC Marylebone Cricket Club was in 1922.

He wrote for various newspapers, as well as many books on both cricket and rugby. His first book was published in 1911, and he continued to write up until his death in 1947. Among his many books were ‘From a window at Lords’, ‘The log of a Sportsman’ ‘Who won the Toss?’ and ‘Rugger: The Man’s Game’.

Edward HD died 20th Sep 1947 in Paddington, London. His obituary in The Times newspaper wrote of his achievements as a writer and player, both of cricket and Rugby football.[4] A friend wrote that he had a kindly and gentle disposition; an alert mind was a good man and a good sportsman.[5]

English Flag
Edward Sewell
England (ENG)
Edward Sewell
Batting style Right-handed batsman
Bowling type Right-arm medium
First-class record
Matches 87
Runs scored 3430
Batting average 24.50
100s/50s 5/17
Top score 181
Balls bowled 1499
Wickets 17
Bowling average 47.47
5 wickets in innings -
10 wickets in match -
Best Bowling 3-73
Catches/Stumpings 70/0
First class debut: -, 1900
Last first class game: -, 1922
Source: [1]


While playing cricket in India he became the first batsman in the country to score three consecutive hundreds. In 1893 he played in the first ever All-India side. He went back to England and after a couple of seasons with London County he joined Essex in 1902. He remained with Essex until 1904 but his highest score was made for London County when he made 181 against Surrey at Crystal Palace. A big hitter of the ball, it is said that one of his on-drives measured 140 yards.

Selected Cricket Matches[edit]

  • Lord Hawke's XI tour of Ceylon and India, 1892/93[6]
  • Surrey v London County 1903 playing with W G Grace,[7]
  • London County, Batting and bowling averages 1903[8]
  • E H D Sewell, England Player Profile (1892-1922)[9]
  • Cricket Archive EHD Sewell,[10]

Quotes by E H D Sewell[edit]

on India
‘Chaos would prevail in India if we were ever so foolish to leave the natives to run their own show. Ye gods! What a salad of confusion, of bungle, of mismanagement, and far worse, would be the instant result’.

‘These grand people will go anywhere and do anything if led by us’.

‘Themselves they are still infants as regards governing or statesmanship. And their so-called leaders are the worst of the lot’.
('An Outdoor Wallah', Autobiography, Stanley Paul, 1945 (comments written in 1935)

on Cricket
‘A batsman who cannot make runs on turf after rain and sun and sind is only half a batsman.'

“if I am destined to see Donnelly Martin Donnelly (cricketer) scoring almost at will for Middlesex in 1947 I shall drink in the savour with as keen a relish as anybody”. He was not destined to see Donnelly, who did not play for Middlesex in 1947, but he did live to see the classic and glorious season of Compton and Edrich. He expired – presumably a happy man - on the 20th of September, three days after seeing Middlesex, as Champion County, defeat a Rest XI by an innings, with a century from John Edrich and a double from Denis Compton.[11] ('Well Hit! Sir', Stanley Paul, London, 1946)

on Rugby
‘I have not a doubt that if President Roosevelt ordained that henceforth Yale and Harvard and the rest, played our Rugby game,...and exorcised from American sport all the evils...on the open obstruction of opponents, and with it all the unnecessary armour...and banished the regiment of officials...and company of music hall performers...if all these things took place overnight in the States, this ersatz game would be forgotten in a night.’ (‘Rugger: The man’s Game’ Hollis and Carter Ltd, London 1944)

‘Of their fine physique there was no doubt. They went on to the field, a thoroughly fit body of athletes, like so many pieces of cork on the surface of water, full of that light elasticity that betrays the capable athlete at a glance.’ (commenting on 'Sport, manhood and empire: British responses to the New Zealand rugby tour of 1905' in the National Review (London) February 1906)

‘Rugby football, to my mind, above all games is one which develops the qualities which go to make good fighting men. It teaches unselfishness, esprit de corps, quickness of decision, and keeps fit those engaged in it.' (quoting a letter of Lord Jellicoe, Admiral and First Sea Lord in 1915, in his book 'The log of a sportsman' T F Unwin, London, 1923, p. 164.)

on Soccer
'...that soccer would 'remain the exercise of the munitions workers who suffer so much from varicose veins, weak knees, cod-eyed toes, fowl’s livers and a general dislike for a man’s duty.' (writing about the sport in an article in the 'Sheffield Star' Sports Special, 16 Oct. 1915.)

Books by E H D Sewell[edit]

  • The past Rugby Football season, extracts from the Fortnightly Review, 1908
  • The Revival in Rugby Football, extracts from the Fortnightly Review, 1910
  • The Book Of Football, J M Dent & Sons Ltd., 1911
  • Cricket points: for the county, 'varsity, public school, and club cricketer, Sporting Life, London, 1911
  • Triangular Cricket: Being a Record of the Greatest Contest in the History of the Game, J. M. Dent & Co., London, 1912
  • Rugby Football Internationals Roll of Honour, T.C. & E.C. Jack, London & Edinburgh, 1919 (A tribute to all the rugby internationals who died during the Great War 1914 – 1919),
  • Rugby Football Up To Date, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1921
  • Log of a Sportsman, T Fisher Unwin Ltd., Adelphi Terrace, London 1923 (Cricket, Rugger and Hunting in India)
  • Cricket Up To Date, John Murray, 1931
  • Rugby Football To-Day, John Murray, 1931
  • First Principles of Cricket, Boy's Own Paper, GB, 1935
  • From a Window at Lord’s, (Essays on cricket) Methuen, 1937, (includes an account of the 1936-37 M.C.C. tour of Australia)
  • Who's Won the Toss? Stanley Paul, 1940 (Foreword by C B Fry)
  • Cricket Under Fire, Stanley Paul & Co, London, 1941 (includes chapters 'The Fade-Out of Jardine and Larwood' and 'The Game in India')
  • Rugger: The Man's Game, First edition 1944, (revised by O. L. Owen; with a preface by Captain C.B.Fry) Hollis and Carter Ltd, London, 1950
  • An Outdoor Wallah, Stanley Paul, 1945 (Autobiography) (with chapters on W.G. Grace, Ranjitsinhji, and the 1933-34 M.C.C. tour of India)
  • Well Hit! Sir, Stanley Paul, London, 1946 (includes an account of the 1946 Indian tour of England)
  • Overthrows, Stanley Paul, London, 1946

Contribution - extended reminiscences:
'The Memorial Biography of Dr. W. G. Grace', issued under the Auspices of The Committee of the MCC, Constable & Company Ltd., London 1919


  • BM&D and census records


  • May 2006 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society. A British Family History Society, founded All Souls Day, 2 November 1991 http://www.sole.org.uk/
  • BMD records, census,


  • See E.H.D. Sewell E. H. D. Sewell these pages need to be combined.
  • See 'A Social History of English Rugby Union', Tony Collins, Routledge, Oxon. 2009, ISBN O-415-47660-7 (many references to EHD Sewell)[2]