|Location||near Chertsey, Surrey|
|Home club||Chertsey Cricket Club|
|Last used||before 1856|
Laleham Burway is a 1.6-square-kilometre (0.62 sq mi) tract of water-meadow and former water-meadow between the River Thames and Abbey River in the far north of Chertsey in Surrey. Its uses are varied. Part is Laleham Golf Club. Part, raised trailer/park homes towards its west, forms residential development; similarly a brief row of houses with private gardens against the Thames. A reservoir and water works is on the island.
From at least the year 1278 its historic bulky northern definition formed part of the dominant estate of Laleham across the river, its manor, to which it was linked by a ferry until the early 20th century. Accordingly, as to this section its owner in period from the mid-19th until the early 20th century was the Earl of Lucan; however when its manor house was sold to become Laleham Abbey, a short-lived nunnery, its tenants had taken it over or it was sold for public works. The southern greater part of the land commonly marked today as the Burway or Laleham Burway was the Abbey Mead, kept since the seventh century among many square miles of land and other institutions such as priories, chantries and churches of Chertsey Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Part of it was a famous cricket venue in the 18th century and the home of Chertsey Cricket Club. Where not considered for former land ownership reasons with Abbey Mead (being together a large mill-race island with a broad corollary of the river beside them), the old definition of Laleham Burway, in 1911, comprised 200 acres (81 ha) which were largely for horse and cow pasture.
History in cricket
Earliest known match, 1736
A notable feature of the 1736 English cricket season was the rise to prominence of Chertsey Cricket Club, playing games against Croydon and London. It is known that two games were played before July that season. One was Croydon v Chertsey at Duppas Hill in Croydon; the other in reverse at the Laleham Burway ground in Chertsey. In each of the two matches, the home team won "by a great number of runs". The match at Laleham Burway is the first important one that we know to have been played at this venue. Numerous important matches were played at Laleham Burway during the 18th century. Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) was the one in which Thomas White's huge bat caused a furore that led to a change in the Laws of Cricket. This was the Chertsey v Hambledon game on Monday, 23 and Tuesday, 24 September 1771.
Last known important match, 1783
The last important game at the ground may have been Chertsey v Coulsdon in June 1784, but there are doubts about its status. The last definitely known top-class match was therefore Chertsey v Berkshire in September 1783.
Closure and re-establishment of club elsewhere
Laleham Burway continued to be used for club cricket into the 19th century records of which have been lost. Its club had "ceased to exist" by 1856 and its revival began at the Recreation Ground in Chertsey, followed by its present ground, Grove Road, after the First World War.
Early ownership, watermill and agricultural purposes
The near-triangular bulk of the ground measured as about 200 acres (81 ha) on the right bank of the Thames in 1911 constitutes its narrow, historical definition to distinguish Laleham Burway's at times separate ownership from Abbey Mead. This north part of the island later thus marked Laleham Burway (also called the Burway) was divided from the Abbey Mead of Chertsey by a seasonal ditch, the Burway Ditch, and by another from the meadow of Mixnams on the north. The triangle was equally Chertsey parish, but belonged to the manor of Laleham. It is mentioned as the Island of Burgh in the original endowment of Chertsey Abbey between 666 and 675, and is described as separated from Mixtenham (or Mixnams) "by water", which formed part of the boundary of the abbey lands, but it is not clear which of the two lay within the bounds of the abbey. Tradition says that the Burway originally belonged to Chertsey, and that in a time of great scarcity and famine the inhabitants of Laleham supplied the abbey with necessaries which those of Chertsey could not, or would not provide, in return for which the abbot granted them the use of this piece of ground. Whatever the truth of this story, it is certain that the Abbey of Westminster when holding Laleham manor held land on the Surrey side of the river, and that in the time of Edward I it held part of the meadow called Mixtenham — in a dispute with the abbey of Chertsey in 1278, Westminster agreed to release their right in this meadow in return for 4 acres of pasture contiguous with that which they already held. In 1370 they still held some pasture in Mixtenham.
The Burway is in a grant of Laleham manor during the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century it is described as paying no tithes or taxes to either parish. In 1911 it belonged to owners of estates within the manor of Laleham, and the pasture was divided into 300 parts called 'farrens,' the tenancies of which was granted variously to feed horses or to support cow and a half at £1 17s. 6d. and £1 5s. annually, respectively. If a farren was sold it was worth about £40. The Burway was not inclosed under the Act of 1773 for inclosing the common fields of Laleham Manor in Chertsey, exempted from the Act of 1808 for inclosing Laleham but inclosed under an Act passed in 1813, when the Earl of Lucan, new lord of the manor, acquired by allotment and purchase about 70 acres (28 ha).
Laleham Burway (including Abbey Mead, its parent and together forming one main island) is the largest island of the non-tidal course of the River Thames in England upstream of the Tideway — if disqualifying the villages of Dorney and Eton, Berkshire enclosed by the 2002-completed Jubilee River.
- Announcement in Read’s Weekly Journal dated Saturday, 3 July, about a deciding game on Richmond Green to be played on Monday, 5 July.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2008-10-20. Minutes of Chertsey Recreation Committee meeting on 4 August 1856
- "Spelthorne Hundred: Laleham", in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1911), pp. 396-401. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol2/pp396-401
- Ashley Mote, The Glory Days of Cricket, Robson, 1997
- David Underdown, Start of Play, Allen Lane, 2000
|Next island upstream||River Thames||Next island downstream|
|Penton Hook Island||Laleham Burway including Abbey Mead||Pharaoh's Island, River Thames|