George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea
|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Winchilsea
KG PC FRS
|Lord Lieutenant of Rutland|
12 April 1779 – 2 August 1826
|Preceded by||The Earl of Exeter|
|Succeeded by||The Marquess of Exeter|
George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea KG PC FRS (4 November 1752 – 2 August 1826) was an important figure in the history of cricket. His main contributions to the game were patronage and organisation but Winchilsea, an amateur, was also a very keen player. George Finch served with the 87th Foot at the time of the American Revolutionary War from its formation in 1779 to its disbanding in 1783, with the temporary rank of major and lieutenant-colonel.
Finch was the son of William Finch, who was in turn the second son, by his second marriage, of Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham (1647–1730), and Charlotte Fermor, daughter of Thomas Fermor, 1st Earl of Pomfret. His sister was Sophia Finch. His father died in 1766 and he inherited the Winchilsea title in 1769, from his childless Uncle, Daniel Finch, 8th Earl of Winchilsea and 3rd Earl of Nottingham. In the 1770s Finch was in Florence as appears as one the recognisable people on the right hand side of Johann Zoffany's painting the Tribuna of the Uffizi.
Winchilsea, "who would go anywhere for a game of cricket", is the winner of the title of Most Recorded Player of the 18th century, though he was far from the best. He has 128 recorded first-class appearances from 1785 to 1800, which just beats William Bullen (120) and William Beldham (117). This is remarkable given that Winchilsea was already 33 before he even played in a senior match. Even so, Winchilsea on the field was something of a liability, despite using a bat that weighed 4 lb 2oz.
In about 1784, Winchilsea was one of the prime movers in the foundation of the White Conduit Club (WCC), so–called because it played on White Conduit Fields. WCC was ostensibly an exclusive club that "only gentlemen" might play for, but the club did employ professionals and one of these was the bowler Thomas Lord, a man who was recognised for his business acumen as well as his bowling ability.
It was in 1785 that WCC first appeared in an important match. White Conduit Fields was an open area allowing members of the public, including the rowdier elements, to watch the matches and to voice their opinions on the play and the players. The White Conduit gentlemen were not amused by such interruptions and decided to look for a more private venue of their own.
Winchilsea and Colonel Charles Lennox commissioned Lord to find a new ground and offered him a guarantee against any losses he may suffer in the venture. So Lord took a lease from the Portman Estate on some land at Dorset Fields in Marylebone, where Dorset Square is now sited; the ground was prepared and opened in 1787. The first match was on Monday 21 May 1787 was between the White Conduit Club and Middlesex.
This was Lord's first ground. It was originally called the New Ground but was soon renamed Lord's Cricket Ground and, since it was in Marylebone, the WCC on relocating there decided to call themselves Marylebone Cricket Club. The Earl of Winchilsea was one of its early leading lights.
Lord Winchilsea never married. His illegitimate son George Finch was a politician.
- A key to the people shown, oneonta.edu, retrieved 11 June 2014
- Thomson: Odd Men In, p. 15.
- Buckley, G.B. (FL18): Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket.
- Haygarth, Arthur (SBnnn): Scores & Biographies, Volume 1.
- Mote, Ashley (GDC): The Glory Days of Cricket.
- Mote, Ashley: John Nyren's "The Cricketers of my Time".
- Thomson, Arthur Alexander: Odd Men In: A Gallery of Cricket Eccentrics (The Pavilion Library, 1985).
- Waghorn, H.T. (WDC): The Dawn of Cricket.
- "From Lads to Lord's – profile". Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
The Earl of Exeter
|Lord Lieutenant of Rutland
The Marquess of Exeter
|Peerage of England|
|Earl of Winchilsea
|Earl of Nottingham
|Baronetage of England|
(of Raunston, Buckinghamshire)
(of Eastwell, Kent)