Sir William Gage, 7th Baronet
|Full name||Sir William Gage, 7th Baronet|
Firle, East Sussex, England
|Died||23 April 1744
|Batting style||unknown hand|
|Role||patron and team captain|
|Domestic team information|
|c.1720 to c.1740||Sussex|
|Source: H T Waghorn, 14 July 2009|
The Gage family were Roman Catholic recusants but Sir William chose to conform to the established Church so that he could become an MP in 1722. His seat was the former constituency of Seaford and he retained his membership until his death in 1744.
Sir William was a keen cricketer and patron who led and backed Sussex county cricket teams.[fc 1] One of his teams has been credited with the earliest known innings victory. He was a close friend of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond and it seems they had organised a number of cricket matches before 1725 when their involvement first becomes clear through a surviving letter that Gage wrote to Richmond in humorous terms about cricket:
My Lord Duke,
I received this moment your Grace's letter and am extremely happy your Grace intends us ye honour of making one a Tuesday, and will without fail bring a gentleman with me to play against you, One that has played very seldom for these several years.
I am in great affliction with being shamefully beaten Yesterday, the first match I played this year. However I will muster up all my courage against Tuesday's engagement. I will trouble your Grace with nothing more than that I wish you Success in everything except ye Cricket Match and that I am etc. etc.
Firle July ye 16th 1725
Sir William's name appears in connection with a number of matches over the next few years but perhaps most notably with regard to his game against Edwin Stead's XI on 28 August 1729. It seems that Sir William's team won this game by an innings, the earliest innings victory on record if so, as a contemporary report states that Sussex "got (within three) in one hand, as the former did in two hands, so the Kentish men threw it up". Sir William was greatly assisted by the outstanding play of Thomas Waymark "who turned the scale of victory".
In August 1733, Sir William's team challenged one backed by Frederick, Prince of Wales at Moulsey Hurst for "a wager of 100 guineas". Sir William was officially Lord Gage by then. The result of the match is unknown but it featured "11 of the best players in the county on each side" (i.e., it was Surrey v. Sussex). In September 1734, his Sussex team played a Kent team led by Lord John Philip Sackville in the earliest match recorded at Sevenoaks Vine. This was won by Kent. Apart from one minor fixture a few years later, that is the last record of Sir William in a cricketing context.
Family and personal life
Sir William was born in Firle, East Sussex. The Gage family purchased the baronetcy at Firle Place from King James I and Sir William himself did much to develop Firle Place, including the external cladding of the building in the Georgian style, using Caen Stone.
He was unmarried and died without issue aged 49 on 23 April 1744. He was succeeded to the Baronetcy of Firle Place by his cousin Thomas Gage who, in 1754, was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Viscount Gage.
- Note that surviving match records to 1825 are incomplete and any statistical compilation of a player's career in that period is based on known data. Match scorecards were not always created, or have been lost, and the matches themselves were not always recorded in the press or other media. Scorecard data was not comprehensive: e.g., bowling analyses lacked balls bowled and runs conceded; bowlers were not credited with wickets when the batsman was caught or stumped; in many matches, the means of dismissal were omitted.
- Christopher Howse (20 September 2006). "The gooseberry is always greener". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Marshall, p.41.
- McCann, p.4.
- Waghorn, p.7.
- McCann, pp.13–14.
- McCann, p.14.
- McCann, p.15.
- John Marshall, The Duke who was Cricket, Muller, 1961
- Timothy J McCann, Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century, Sussex Record Society, 2004
- H T Waghorn, The Dawn of Cricket, Electric Press, 1906
|Parliament of Great Britain|
|Member of Parliament for Seaford
With: Sir Philip Yorke 1722–33
William Hay 1734–44
William Hall Gage
|Baronetage of England|
(of Firle Place)